Author: meb04012

Managing Project Setbacks

By: Emily Regan, OUR Peer Research Ambassador

As with anything in life, research and creative projects are wrought with setbacks, surprises and even failures. No matter how carefully you plan, schedule or prepare, bumps on the road are inevitable. What’s most important is how you handle these setbacks, and what you learn from them.

When things deviate from the original plan, it can feel overwhelming and defeating. It’s important to have skills and strategies in place ahead of time in order to move past these challenges and be triumphant in your research or creative endeavors. Here are strategies that I’ve learned through my creative process that have helped me recover from setbacks and be successful in my project. Continue reading

Navigating the Summer Research Experience: Part 3

By: Marisa Boch, OUR Peer Research Ambassador

The Research Experience

It may be your first time doing full-time research, and 8 hours of lab each day may seem daunting at first. The best way to ease those nerves is to know what to expect…

Typically, you will be assigned to a PI and will be working most closely with a graduate student on a specific project. You may begin the first week or two conducting literature review in order to plan the study (experimental aims, experimental methods, methods of analysis, etc.) while also learning basic laboratory techniques/procedures. In my experience, once my graduate student and I finished putting together the formal study outline, I then presented the outline to my PI to get feedback. These first few weeks may be more deskwork than laboratory work, but becoming proficient at conducting literature searches and learning how to plan out all aspects of a study are valuable skills! Continue reading

Navigating the Summer Research Experience: Part 2

By: Marisa Boch, OUR Peer Research Ambassador

Preparing Your Application

Some programs have different formats, but as a general rule of thumb your application will include a personal statement, letters of recommendation (2), an official transcript, and (occasionally) a resume:

1) Personal Statement: The program instructions for a personal statement will probably resemble something along the lines of: Describe in ### words your educational and professional goals and how your participation in the XYZ Program will assist in meeting your goals. Be sure to articulate your qualifications and your reasons for wishing to participate in this program (Adapted from Harvard Summer Research Program in Kidney Medicine Application 2018). Start your personal statement early on.

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Navigating the Summer Research Experience: Part 1

By: Marisa Boch, OUR Peer Research Ambassador

REU, SURF, SURE, STAR, SMART, STaRS. Summer research programs are typically an assortment of acronyms with letters representing some combination of the words “summer” and “undergraduate” and “research,” along with the classification of the program (“experience,” “internship,” “fellowship,” “program”). No matter the name, each of these different programs represents a window of opportunities for aspiring undergraduate researchers. A summer research internship can be a way to begin your research endeavors, providing you with an avenue to continue research during the academic year. It can be a way to fully immerse yourself into full-time research, learning more and gaining more experience than may be possible when conducting research during the school year. Perhaps most importantly, it can provide insight into what role research may play in your future and whether a research career is for you.

Summer research experiences can be invaluable, but navigating the application process and starting off as a full-time student researcher can be daunting. In this 3-part blog, I talk about my tips for applying for summer research programs, from where to find opportunities to writing your personal statement, as well as what to expect from (and how to get the most out of) your research experience.

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• Congratulations, Fall 2017 UConn IDEA Grant Recipients!

Congratulations to the nineteen UConn undergraduates who have been awarded UConn IDEA Grants in the fall 2017 funding cycle! Thirteen of the award recipients will be completing individual projects, and six will be working on collaborative group projects.

The award recipients represent a variety of disciplines, from nursing to puppetry, biomedical engineering to ecology and evolutionary biology. They will conduct independent research projects; produce documentaries, novels, and creative nonfiction pieces; design prototypes; and engage in service initiatives.

Click here to view the full list of fall 2017 UConn IDEA Grant award recipients.

Special thanks to the faculty and staff that supported student applications to the UConn IDEA Grant and to those who will be mentoring the award recipients as they complete their projects.

The UConn IDEA Grant program awards funding to support self-designed projects including artistic endeavors, community service initiatives, traditional research projects, entrepreneurial ventures, and other creative and innovative projects. Undergraduates in all majors at all UConn campuses can apply. Applications are accepted twice per year from individuals and from small groups who plan to work collaboratively on a project. The next application deadline is March 12, 2018.

All for Research and Research for All

By: Divya Ganugapati, OUR Peer Research Ambassador

A common myth about undergraduate research is that it is only intended for students interested in pursuing post-graduate programs. While research background may be beneficial for undergraduates looking towards graduate schools, it can also serve as a very influential experience for students seeking employment post-graduation.

In fact, research is a vital part of each profession and is constantly being performed by professionals in all lines of work. Don’t believe me? Here are just a few of many examples of the importance of research in various fields that might not require a graduate degree: Continue reading

Navigating the Mentor-Mentee Relationship

By: Ariane Garrett, OUR Peer Research Ambassador

The mentor – mentee relationship in a lab can be tricky to navigate. Unmet expectations are often the cause of breakdowns in the relationship. It’s essential to clarify goals and expectations early on to assure a productive and satisfying experience. Remember that the mentor-mentee relationship goes two ways. Just as your mentor holds you to certain baseline standards, you should expect certain things from them as well. As you begin a research experience, use the tips below to help you develop and maintain a strong mentor-mentee relationship. Continue reading

• Congratulations, Summer 2018 UConn Co-op Legacy Fellows!

The Office of Undergraduate Research is delighted to announce the four students selected to receive UConn Co-op Legacy Fellowships to support projects they will complete summer 2018.

Click here to view the full list of Summer 2018 UConn Co-op Legacy Fellowship Recipients.

Born out of the UConn Co-op’s commitment to public engagement, innovative entrepreneurship, social impact, and active mentorship, the UConn Co-op Legacy Fellowship Program provides undergraduates the opportunity to pursue funded summer research projects and/or creative endeavors. Projects pursued through this program represent the legacy of the UConn Co-op’s commitment to public engagement, innovation, and social impact.

Special thanks to the faculty and staff that supported student applications to the UConn Co-op Legacy Fellowship and to those who will be mentoring the award recipients as they complete their projects.

Click here for more information on the UConn Co-op Legacy Fellowship Program.

• Congratulations, 2018 SHARE Award Recipients!

We are delighted to announce the 13 student-faculty teams selected to receive awards for Spring 2018 and thank the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute for its generous support of two of these student awards. Congratulations to all award recipients!

SHARE Awards support undergraduate research apprenticeships in the social sciences, humanities, and arts, offering students majoring in these fields opportunities to develop inquiry skills and explore research interests early in their college careers.

Project Title: The Impact of an Outsider President on Candidate Emergence in Congressional Elections
Student Apprentice: Kyle Adams, Political Science
Faculty Mentor: Paul Herrnson, Political Science

Project Title: Justice in the Dark: How Secretively Funded Campaign Advertisements Shape Judicial Campaigns
Student Apprentice: Erin Dennehy, Political Science
Faculty Mentor: Virginia Hettinger, Political Science

Project Title: Interpersonal Coordination of Goal Directed Actions
Student Apprentice: John Farrar, Cognitive Science
Faculty Mentor: Adam Sheya, Psychological Sciences

UCHI LogoProject Title: The Scholio Project: Designing Online News Comments to Promote Intellectual Humility in Public Discourse
Student Apprentice: Brendan Hogan, Political Science & Psychological Sciences
Faculty Mentor: Michael Morrell, Political Science
Award Co-Sponsored by the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute

UCHI LogoProject Title: Diverse Experiences of and Evaluations about Sexting and Sexting Victimization
Student Apprentice: Emily Mendoza, Human Development and Family Studies
Faculty Mentor: Alaina Brenick, Human Development and Family Studies
Award Co-Sponsored by the University of Connecticut Humanities Institute

Project Title: Executive Approval Analyses in Latin America and Recent Political Developments
Student Apprentice: Shankara Narayanan, Political Science & International Relations
Faculty Mentor: Matthew Singer, Political Science

Project Title: Undergraduate Nursing Students’ Perspectives of Witnessed Simulated Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Death in an Opioid Addicted Patient
Student Apprentice: Justin Pedneault, Nursing
Faculty Mentor: Carrie Eaton, Nursing

Project Title: Accountability in Government?:  Assessing the Effectiveness of Ethics Commissions in Connecticut Municipalities
Student Apprentice: Samuel Rostow, Political Science
Faculty Mentor: Kimberly Bergendahl, Political Science

Project Title: A Computer Intervention to Help Reduce Problematic Gambling in College Students
Student Apprentice: Skyler Sklenarik, Psychological Sciences
Faculty Mentor: Robert Astur, Psychological Sciences

Project Title: Social Policy and the Political Lives of American Teenagers
Student Apprentice: Olivia Sykes, Urban and Community Studies & Human Rights
Faculty Mentor: Edith Barrett, Urban and Community Studies

Project Title: Hollow Earth
Student Apprentice: Isabella Uliasz, Studio Art
Faculty Mentor: John O’Donnell, Art and Art History

Project Title: African American Breast Cancer Survivors
Student Apprentice: Caira Ward, Human Development and Family Studies, Africana Studies
Faculty Mentor: Edna Brown, Human Development and Family Studies

Project Title: Psychosocial Factors Influence Pain and Quality of Life in Young Adults with Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Student Apprentice: Tessa Weidig, Nursing
Faculty Mentor: Xiaomei Cong, Nursing


Preparing For Your First Research Conference

By: Soumya Kundu, OUR Peer Research Ambassador

Your first research conference will be one of the most exciting experiences of your research career. After spending months working in your lab, this is going to be your first opportunity to meet other researchers in your field outside of your university, catch a glimpse of some of the work being done by peers at other institutions, and maybe even present your own work! However, as with most new experiences, there is always a degree of anxiety that comes with the uncertainty of not knowing what to expect at your first conference. Here, I will offer a few simple pieces of advice that can help you prepare to make the most of this valuable opportunity. Continue reading