Student Resources

Research, Experience, Learn.

Welcome! If you haven't already done so, please register as a CoSM UREL student.


DUREL-Logo2.jpg

We have organized a variety of resources to help you at the beginning, middle, and end of your Undergraduate Research and Experiential Learning (UREL) journey. The tabs below are loosely organized in the order that you should utilize them. 

Dr. Jason Deibel, Director of Undergraduate Research and Experiential Learning and Associate Professor in the Department of Physics, recent presention titled "Summer Internships for STEM Majors" is available to read by clicking here

If there are any resources that are missing or there is some help that you need that you can't find here, please contact the CoSM Director of Undergraduate Research & Experiential Learning at cosm-undergradresearch@wright.edu 

If you have a student group or organization or an academic department that would like a visit & training seminar from the CoSM Director of Undergraduate Research & Experiential Learning, please contact the DUREL at cosm-undergradresearch@wright.edu


Before you start...

Before you begin searching for a research position or internship, there are a few questions to ask yourself: 

  • When is a good time to become involved in research during your undergraduate career?
  • Can you afford to take time away from your coursework while conducting research?
  • What areas of research interest you? What subjects or classes have excited you?
  • Is undergraduate research relevant to your long-term goals?
  • Do you plan to continue to graduate or professional school?
  • Do you want to be more competitive in the job market?

Adapted from http://www.our.ucf.edu/gettingstarted/step1.php

I want to find an undergraduate research position on campus. Where do I start?

First of all, accept that this is like any other type of job search process. It will require you to do some preparation work and it will require time.

Okay, does all of this seem intimidating? Are you still not sure how to start? There is an easier way to start this and that is by asking for help? Who can you ask for help?

  1. Each CoSM department has a designated Undergraduate Research & Experiential Learning (UREL) Point of Contact that is faculty or staff member that will be more than happy to meet with you to discuss your research interests and answer your questions about how to proceed with your search for an undergraduate research position. They will be able to tell you major-specific information in regard to questions like
    1. How soon can I start undergraduate research?
    2. Are there certain courses that I should take first?
    3. Which faculty in the department have historically mentored undergraduate research projects?
  2. Click here to find out the UREL Point of Contact for your department. If there is not a UREL Point of Contact listed for your dept., please contact the DUREL.
  3. Contact your department's UREL Point of Contact. They are expecting students to contact them. They want to help you find an undergraduate research experience!
  4. If you have an academic advisor for your major assigned to you, you can ask him or her.
  5. All departments have a Chair and you can contact them as well. Click here to find out who is the chair of your department.
  6. You can also contact the CoSM Director of Undergraduate Research & Experiential Learning (DUREL) and ask for help getting started.

If you want to just start the search on your own, no problem, here's some advice on how to proceed...

  1. What are your research interests? Are there any professors at WSU that you would like to work with? How do you find out? Go to the CoSM Department webpages and look at the faculty research profiles. You can also look faculty up on Google Scholar and look at their recent publications. Remember, you can do research with faculty from departments that aren't your major as well!
  2. If there is a particular faculty member that you are interested in, you can directly contact them? What do you say...?
    Dear Professor X,
    Hello, my name is Marie Darwin. I am a #-year student in the random science program. I have been learning about a lot of the research that goes on at Wright State and found your research on random topics very interesting. I was wondering if you might have some time available to meet with me to discuss your research and if there were any possibilities that I might join your group as an undergraduate student. On most weeks, I am available to meet on these days and times. Thank you for your time and help.
    Kind regards,
    Marie Darwin
  3. Okay, the email doesn't have to be exactly like this (and I will leave it up to you to figure out what parts of this you would need to edit before you can send it to a real professor :) ). The important part here though is that all you need to do is send a simple, but professional, email to the professor.
  4. It might be worth your while to contact more than one professor.
  5. If you hit any roadblocks, contact the people listed above.

I want to find an off-campus internship or research position . Where do I start?

Career Services at Wright State University is the primary source for learning about posted/current/available internship opportunties

Students who have a paid co-op or internship, who register for an internship course through their major, minor, or certificate program, may be eligible for a scholarship if employed by a JobsOhio employer. Scholarships are funded through Ohio Means Internships and Co-ops (OMIC) II. Click here to learn more!

  1. Each CoSM department has a designated Undergraduate Research & Experiential Learning (UREL) Point of Contact that is faculty or staff member that will be more than happy to meet with you to discuss internships and answer your questions about how to proceed with your search for a position. They will be able to tell you major-specific information in regard to questions like
    1. When should I apply for internships?
    2. Are there certain courses that I should take first?
    3. Is there academic course credit for internships in my department?
  2. Click here to find out the UREL Point of Contact for your department. If there is not a UREL Point of Contact listed for your dept., please contact the DUREL.
  3. Contact your department's UREL Point of Contact. They are expecting students to contact them. They want to help you!
  4. If you have an academic advisor for your major assigned to you, you can ask him or her.
  5. All departments have a Chair and you can contact them as well. Click here to find out who is the chair of your department.
  6. You can also contact the CoSM Director of Undergraduate Research & Experiential Learning (DUREL) and ask for help getting started.

Find out about internships (local and non-local) here. Click on either the "Air Force Research Laboratory Related Opportunities" or "Other Internship and On & Off-Campus Research Opportunities" tabs. 
The department tabs might also have some posted internship opportunities.

Funding for your experience...

All undergraduate research positions within CoSM can be described using one or a combination of the following descriptors:

  1. Volunteer : Volunteering is a great way to begin your involvement in research. Volunteering is best if you are just starting research.
  2. Course Credit: Many departments offer academic credit as a result of work completed with a faculty mentor. Check with your advisor or the UREL Point of Contact for your department
  3. Paid: Many students on campus receive financial compensation for research, but these positions often require a large time commitment (10-20 hours/week, more in the summer). These positions are most often funded via grants awarded to faculty from external organizations such as the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes for Health, the Department of Defense, etc. 

Note #1: Options for internships are similar in that they can either be volunteer, for course credit, paid, or both paid and for credit.

Note #2: The College of Science and Mathematics is working on developing more flexbile and accessible options for research and internship course credits. We hope to make an announcement about this in the spring of 2015.

The CoSM Director of Undergraduate Research & Experiential Learning is working with partners from the other WSU colleges to re-establish a mini-grant program, which would provide small amounts of funding to support faculty-student research projects, and the WSU Summer Undergraduate Research Program. Stay tuned for news about both of these programs in early spring 2015.

Working in research ...lab groups, professionalism, ethics, intellectual property...

Research Groups and Professionalism

Research Ethics & Integrity

The Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) is a serious matter & WSU is legally bound to make sure that all faculty, staff, and students are educated and trained in matters related to RCR. Failure to comply with Federal and university RCR policies can result in the loss of research funding and can negatively permanently affect one's career. RCR is the appropriate and ethical practice of research, scholarship or creative activity. It is not as simple as "don’t lie, cheat or steal." Most federally funded research programs require students working on said projects to be properly trained in RCR policies and best practices. It is a very strong possibility that your research faculty mentor will require you to complete several training modules in various RCR topics.

Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer

Research Safety

If you are working in any type of laboratory setting, it is mandatory that you receive the proper safety training. While WSU is bound to do this by the law, the more important reason is that we want to keep everyone safe and unharmed. Immediately after starting your undergraduate research experience, ask your faculty mentor which training/safety modules that you will need to complete. These are provided by Wright State University Environmental Health and Safety (EHS). The number and type of training modules that you will have to take will vary with the scientific discipline and the very nature of the work that you are doing. If you are emarking on an off-campus experience, ask your mentor/supervisor there about what safety training is required.

To start the safety training process with EHS at WSU, click on the link below. There you can complete a registration process and also link to the various specialized training modules. Some of these modules can be completed online while others are provided in the form of a class. It is critical that you start the training process immediately upon starting a research experience.

http://www.wright.edu/business-and-finance/facilities-management-and-services/environmental-health-and-safety/training

The webGURU Guide for Undergraduate Research has an excellent discussion of lab and research safety issues HERE.

What should you expect from your mentor? What your mentor expects of you?

What is a mentor? A mentor is a guide along your academic journey that works with you to help get you most of your UREL experience and to get your prepared for the next stage in your career.

What should you expect from your mentor? Your mentor (research advisor or supervisor) should...

  • Be available to meet with you on a regular basis.
  • Should respond to communications from you (emails, phone messages, etc.,) in a prompt amount of time.
  • Listen to and respond to your questions and concerns.
  • Clearly outline your project(s) goals and your responsibilities.
  • Provide you with a worthwhile experience that advances your scientific training and career.
  • Coordinate with you as to what ethics, procedure, and safety training that you should complete.
  • Provide training either by the mentor or another staff person or another student that prepares you to work on your project.
  • Provide constructive feedback on your progress.
  • Assist you with your career progress... i.e. help you with your job search or application process for graduate or professional school.
  • Provide you with opportunities to share your work in the form of presentations and publications and help you develop presentation skills.
  • Be patient with you. 
  • Be cognizant of your time and need to do well in your coursework.
  • Not abuse their authority by asking you to work ridiculous hours or do personal work (lawn care, babysitting, dog walking, etc.)
  • Be a mentor, not a friend.

What does your mentor expect of you? Your mentor (research advisor or supervisor) expects you to...

  • Meet with you on a regular basis.
  • Respond to emails and phone calls in a prompt amount of time. 
  • Be on time for scheduled meetings.
  • Be professional while at work or any meetings related to your UREL experience.
  • Complete tasks and assignments per the schedule that you and your mentor agreed upon.
  • Ask him or her lots of questions.
  • Be forthcoming about difficulties you are having with the research experience or internship or with things that could affect your performance such as your coursework.
  • Take the work seriously.
  • Realize that this experience is a great opportunity for you and that you should completely utilize it. In most cases, you were selected for this opportunity from a group of many interested students. You should fully utilize this experience to advance your scientific training and career.
  • Be a member of the team.
  • Learn to respond well to constructive feedback.
  • Make progress.

If you are having any problems or issues during your research experience or internship that you feel that you can't discuss with your mentor, please contact your department chair, point-of-contact, or the CoSM Director of Undergraduate Research and Experiential Learning (DUREL).

The webGURU Guide for Undergraduate Research has a collection of posts about mentoring issues here.

Beyond googling...how to search academic literature amongst the sea of millions of journals and articles...

A vital and critical component of any research activity is searching through academic, research, and technical published literature for past and current work done by others in your research field of interest. Whether you are looking for journal articles, conference presentations, books, or patents, you will need to develop the ability to conduct a comprehensive and thorough literature search. A crucial part of this is the ability to discern what are reliable and quality sources. Your research mentors will help you learn what the reliable source materials are in your research field. Guess what? In most cases, Google.com is not the best way to do an academic/research literature search. As you might one day get the opportunity to present or publish your work, it will also help you to review the literature to learn best practices when sharing your research ideas and results.

The Wright State University Library has a great way to get you prepared and set for doing these kind of literature searches. The University Libraries have designed 8 new workshops to improve student research skills! They are part of the Research Toolkit Series.  Workshops are free to Wright State students.

Here's an important note. In most cases, you should never ever have to pay out of your own pocket to access an academic journal article as the university has already paid for it! To take advantage of this, always start your search here (http://www.libraries.wright.edu/). If you are on campus, you should be able to access any journals that WSU subscribes too. Guess what? You don't even have to be on-campus for this to work. If you are off-campus, start your search at the same place. Eventually, you will be asked to enter your name and your UID and you will have no problem getting journal access!

The webGURU Guide for Undergraduate Research has a nice site on "Reading the Primary Literature" and another on "Searching the Technical Literature."

"Reading a scientific paper" from the NIH (Webinar & Downloadable Slides & Transcript)

The joy of keeping a proper laboratory/research notebook...did I say 'joy?' How about 'necessity?'

In most cases, in any on-campus or off-campus research position, your mentors/advisors/supervisors will require you to keep a proper labortatory notebook the chronciles your work efforts. webGURU explains it best..."A lab notebook is a real time record of what was done at what specific point in time on a project for the individuals and/or organizations that may have funded the research, for your advisor and you to facilitate your efforts in publishing and/or patenting your work. A good record gives confidence in the reproducibility of your work, aids others in building on your research."

The directions of your mentor/advisor and the actual research that you are doing will largely delineate what needs to be recorded on a regular basis in your notebook. In the meantime, here are some great resources that will help you learn how to keep a good lab notebook!

Data analysis and other needed skills

Your research work will require you do a lot more than just write in a lab notebook and do literature searches. Here are some other resources related to research specific skills that you might find useful...

Tell the world about it...presenting your research results and experience

One of the most crucial aspects of research work is that in order to advance science, one must present and share their research findings (whether they are good or bad) with the scientific community and the rest of the world. This can take many forms including: presentations at local/regional/national meetings, reports to sponsors, publications in scientfic literature, and outreach events such as speaking at a local school or museum. A well-designed and well-mentored undergraduate research project should include the opportunity for you to develop your writing and presentation skills and give you the opportunity to present or publish your results.

Opportunties to present your work at Wright State University

There are also lots of regular opportunities for you to present your research results at non-WSU events. A lot of scientific research disciplines have regional meetings that encourage undergraduate student researchers to participate. Make sure to ask your faculty mentor/advisor about these meetings. Here are some national and regional meetings dedicated to undergraduate research presentations.

Communicating scientific results is not just about giving oral and poster presentations. In some cases, you may have the opportunity to be a co-author on a scientific publication that is submitted to a discipline-specific journal. There are also a wide variety of undergraduate research journals available for you to publish your work in!

To help you get your presentation and/or publication prepared, here are some great resources for you to explore...

Is there life after a UREL experience part 2...resumes and CV's (what is a CV?)