Benefits - Undergraduate Research Opportunities
While each of the various programs has a unique focus, there a certain benefits that are common during the summer:
- a research project
- a faculty mentor
- workshops / preparation for the graduate application process
- social opportunities and a support network
- financial support (pay, stipends) ranging from $3000-$4500
- on campus housing for those who need it
- annual research conference & closing ceremony
One of the best things about conducting research is that you will learn concepts/ideas in multiple ways: through reading, hearing, picturing concepts in your mind, touching, and even manipulating objects. These are the essential modalities of learning -- it is no wonder that students emerge from research experiences feeling empowered!
You are able to demonstrate previous knowledge by applying 'classroom concepts' to a 'real' project. During these summer research experiences, each of the programs provides an opportunity to engage in research with a professor in your field at the University of Arizona. By its very nature, your learning process becomes personal and meaningful.
Year after year, students report that their summer experiences have effectively prepared them for thinking like and acting like a graduate student. The research objectives of the program are substantial and will require a significant commitment of time, so your participation is also a realistic glimpse of what it takes to be successful as a graduate student in terms of time and project management.
A great deal of thought and care is given to placing students with faculty mentors. You may be invited to participate in your mentor's ongoing research projects or your mentor may lend his/her expertise to help you develop a research project of your own.
In addition to teaching specific techniques, exposing you to current thinking/literature in the academic community, and setting high standards for your academic success, there is a softer side to the mentor-student relationship as well. It is common for faculty mentors to invite students to lunch or dinner, to 'take you under their wing' for the summer and to maintain relationships after your program participation has concluded.
When you look at the application to our programs, you will see that we ask you to do a little investigating on your own, to identify research projects that are compelling to you and to find the names of UA faculty members who are conducting that kind or work. We take that information and combine it with the wisdom of our experiences (which includes reflecting on the placement of students who have participated in these programs in the past) and approach faculty members on your behalf to see if they would be able to accommodate a student in their labs. The responses we receive from faculty are encouraging - they sometimes ask if they can have more than one student!
The workshops that you might participate in will vary (ex: MHD and MARC students, whose focus is research in the biomedical sciences, will have a workshop devoted to laboratory notebooks and another on research ethics for biomedical investigators). However, there are some workshops that span all of the research programs, including:
- "How to Speak in Public and Present Your Research"
- "Applying to Graduate School"
- "How to Fund Your Graduate Education: NSF, Ford and other Graduate Fellowships"
- "GRE Prep Workshop"
Students have expressed appreciation not only for the information they learn from these specific workshops, but also for the opportunity to come together with all of the students from all of the programs to share the experience, exchange ideas, and socialize.
There are a number of scheduled and spontaneous activities throughout the summer. We survey students prior to arrival to determine interests. Social chairs (participant volunteers) help to facilitate activities, many of which are posted on Facebook or listservs to help students from the various summer programs meet and interact with each other. While the calendar for 2013 is not firm, activities from previous summers have included:
- ice cream social
- pool party
- diversity mixer
- summer birthday celebration
- trips to the grocery store, movies, mall, bowling
- excursions to Biosphere 2, Breakers Water Park, Arizona Sonora Desert Museum, Mt Lemmon
Each of the programs has a sponsor (ex: National Institutes of Health, Department of Education, the University of Arizona, etc), and with that sponsorship comes requirements for how students are paid and how much they can earn.
The summer-only programs (SRI and MHD) are open to both UA and non-UA students. SRI provides students a stipend of up to $3000. MHD pays students up to $4000, usually in the form of wages, over the course of the summer. Each summer, MHD hosts a number of students from other institutions including MARC trainees from around the country who have found MHD to be a great fit for their required research experience away from their home school.
The year-round program for UA students only (MARC) provides financial support year-round. Students cannot 'opt-in' to MARC for the summer only. For specific details about funding, visit the individual program web sites.
On campus housing is available. The rate is approximately $1200 for 10 weeks. The designated hall for 2013 has not been announced; typically, there an attractive great room with comfortable seating, courtyards, study rooms and lounges, TV, kitchen and laundry facilities. Students in this Highland district area enjoy the use of the nearby grassy area known as the Highland Greens.
The front desk is typically staffed 7 AM to midnight, with 24-hour staff on call to respond to guest needs. The utilities - excellent air conditioning and water - are free, as is the network connection, local telephone service, and cable TV. The campus recreation center is nearby - just a 2 minute walk.
Residents must provide their own bed linens, pillows, blankets, towels, and personal articles. Residence Life custodial staff will clean all common bathrooms and public areas on a regular schedule.
The summer research experiences conclude with a research conference & closing ceremony where students will showcase their research through oral and/or poster presentations to the university and local community.