Undergraduate research often requires graduate students take on the roles of mentors. This provides research experience for undergrads and some much needed help for graduate students. Research grants for undergraduate assistants are also available through BGSA. If you are seeking undergraduate students to assist with your research, contact your IT representative to advertise the position on the URAP homepage.
Why should you participate as a mentor in URAP?
Mentoring an undergraduate can be a mutually beneficial relationship where undergraduates gain practical research skills, learn the scientific method first hand, obtain a source for letters of recommendation, and potentially earn honors for a written description of their work.
As a mentor, learn how to manage research assistants, get more research done, and potentially publish papers with undergraduates (something that is attractive to future employers).
How do you find undergraduate research assistants?
The best way to find a competent undergraduate that you work well with is to ask students in courses that you TA. Laboratory courses are great settings for you to gauge how well a student can follow directions, and if they are really interested in biology.
To advertise for an undergraduate research assistant, write a brief (100-200 word) description of the work you need help with, and what you require of the student. Give this to the graduate student on the IT committee, along with a title for the position and your contact information, so that it can be posted on the URAP homepage. Flyers in can also be posted in Bartram-Carr hall.
You can also advertise a position through the center for undergraduate research.
What are the responsibilities of the undergraduate as a research assistant?
Undergraduate students have the option of volunteering on an informal basis, or earning research credit hours (see here). After two semesters of earning research credit, students have the option of earning honors by presenting their research as a thesis. In addition, students may present the results of their research at a research symposium that is held in the spring semester. Students must submit an abstract prior to the symposium and have the option of either presenting a poster or a 15 minute talk.
What are your responsibilities as a mentor?
At the minimum, you should make sure that you have all the resources needed for the undergraduate to complete the URAP project (space, equipment, funding, etc…). Initially, undergraduates may need close attention while they learn the techniques and skills needed for the project. The amount of time that you spend with them will, of course, depend on the project, and how quickly the undergraduate learns. With some luck, the time you spend training a student will repay itself several-fold in the amount of work accomplished.