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Starting Block for Undergrad Researchers

October 21, 2010 | by Wendy Leopold
EVANSTON, Ill. --- Whether it’s studying high-mass star formation with a Northwestern astronomy professor on the Evanston campus or traveling to South Asia to learn about human trafficking, research increasingly has become part of the Northwestern undergraduate experience. Now a comprehensive new website provides information about undergraduate research opportunities.

“Funding for undergraduate research at Northwestern has grown exponentially in the last decade,” says Peter Civetta, assistant to the provost for undergraduate education. “We hope the new site transforms how students get into and stay involved in research.” Developed by the Office of the Provost and NUAMPS, the site is at undergradresearch.northwestern.edu.

“Research no longer is something that first happens at the graduate school level,” Civetta adds. “Our undergraduates today engage in research on campus, across the country and in distant parts of the globe.” 

The new website features videos of students from a wide range of academic disciplines who discuss the value of their research experiences. Three sections of the site -- natural sciences and engineering, social sciences and journalism, and arts, humanities and performance -- explain what research can look like in different disciplines.

The site links to undergraduate research funding opportunities across campus. These not only include the Office of the Provost’s university-wide Undergraduate Research Grants Program, which last year provided more than $350,000 to more than 150 undergraduates from every school at Northwestern. It also provides links to funding opportunities offered through different schools and colleges, individual academic programs and the Office of Fellowships.

A section titled “resources” provides information on everything from how to find a research topic and advisor to “how to” guidance on application preparation and research proposal writing.

Another section is devoted to what students can do with their research once they complete it. It contains information on conference and publication opportunities, Northwestern’s annual Undergraduate Research Symposium and links to graduate schools.

A continually updated calendar provides information about relevant events and important application and grant deadlines. A section for faculty members explains how faculty can help students engage in meaningful research and the benefits they can enjoy as a student mentor.

“The opportunity to get involved in research while still an undergraduate is one of the main reasons students choose a school like Northwestern,” says Civetta. “Everyone should give it a try. The new site is the perfect way to launch a journey that could change your life.”

Topics: University News, Campus Life