Science Research Workshop (SRW)
Designed to help answer the call for increased, authentic undergraduate involvement in research, the Science Research Workshop Program (SRW) is a joint initiative of the Program in Biological Sciences, the Department of Chemistry, the McCormick School of Engineering, and the Searle Center for Teaching Excellence. Initially funded by the National Science Foundation in 2007, the program gives students in their first two years of study an opportunity to join actual science research communities at Northwestern and enables them to play an active role in that research.
Students who participate:
- Develop their own research proposals
- Engage in cutting-edge scientific research
- Receive scientific training and experience
- Cultivate relationships with faculty, post-docs, and graduate students
- Enhance their research portfolios for a future career
The SRW program comprises two broad activities: "science cafés" and peer-led workshops.
Science Cafés are weekly discussions in which faculty members share stories of how they got interested in science research and address a theme for the week, such as "How to approach research labs" or "How to navigate the proposal process."
Workshops train participants on components of the research process, including
- Appropriately contacting and interviewing with Northwestern science laboratories
- Developing a valid research project
- Discovering strategies for funding research ideas
- Identifying and applying key techniques in scientific writing
- Integrating feedback from experts and peers
"I got better at emailing professors and introducing myself to them. The program helps you figure out what you actually want. I ended up in the right lab in terms of my future interests but I couldn't have known that before…. I always knew I wanted to go into research and the summer lab will confirm that for me…but the workshop led me to the lab." --Biology participant
"[The program] got us to talk about having lab experiences and gave us more confidence in the research process, that you learn and make mistakes. The facilitator prompted me to ask more questions and not wait for help but to go out and do it." --Chemistry participant
"[The program taught me] how to clearly state my research question, cite references, how to use Endnote, go through example CVs." --Chemistry participant
"We learned how to think through a proposal, which is necessary for any scientist. To do a lit review, to apply for big-time funded research, and to understand how these skills are applied to move into the world of science." --Biology participant
"This program gave me lots of direction. I was better prepared for opportunities. I might have felt before that research is inaccessible to me, big-time labs were out of my league, but that's underestimating your potential. You can learn to focus your knowledge and do something with that and do successful research. You can start early even if as a freshman you don't know everything in the field yet." --Biology participant