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Sociology and Anthropology

How You Can Take Advantage of the Office of Undergraduate Research

I recently sat down with Catherine Showalter to discuss the Office of Undergraduate Research and the purpose it holds for students on campus. The goal of the office is to support students at any stage of a research or creative process whether that is to think about what research is; how to get started with their research; how to find mentors, funding for projects or research positions; and also how to access research-related professional development and support. The Office of Undergraduate Research also aims to have a number of events that are safe spaces for students to present their research; these spaces are safe in that staff and peers review presentations, helping students gain confidence in presenting to larger audiences. 

Students can come to the Office of Undergraduate Research from any major or discipline to engage in opportunities for research at any point of the process and discuss their interests, what they may want to do in the future and future development as undergraduate students. Whatever research students may want to invest in will help them gain academic, professional and technical skills even if that topic area is not what they are going for in a career after graduation; they will still be able to reflect upon the skills they have gained in their future endeavors. The office also works with or hosts research assistant programs that help with funding and can provide paid positions. The office will also support the costs of  students traveling to present at conferences. The overall focus is to put students where research is due. 

The Office of Undergraduate Research has student ambassadors that are available every semester to support students. Students can go straight to the student ambassadors, who have research experience, to discuss getting started with research, how to navigate a step in research (e.g., creating a poster), or discuss any step on the research path. The Office of Undergraduate Research will be hosting its Spring Symposium on April 25-26 during which students can present work in progress or already finished work to gain conference presentation experience. The Spring Symposium will be held in Talley Student Union and will consist of posters, presentations and other creative work.

This article is by Anna Maria Hester, a Department of Sociology and Anthropology student ambassador majoring in criminology and minoring in international studies.