Faculty research mentors can advise you on how to get started on doing research, what research actually entails, as well as where and how it happens. Because they have done research as part of their training to become faculty and are still actively engaged in the work themselves, they may be best to guide you through the research process. They can provide you with critical resources and contacts (such as graduate students, post-docs, research staff and collaborators) who also serve as mentors for your research training.
As an undergraduate, you may work with faculty on research in some of the following ways:
- as a research assistant on a faculty member’s project
- in course projects
- as an independent researcher, working on your own project and research questions, with a faculty member serving as an advisor
Aside from serving as research advisors or mentors, faculty are sometimes the best individuals to assess your performance in an academic context, your contributions, dedication and motivations within courses or research settings as well as comment and reflect on your potential for future success.
The process of finding a faculty mentor for a research experience and cultivating that relationship may be daunting at first. Review the following pages for advice on aspects of this process:
- Identifying and Contacting Potential Faculty Mentors
- Preparing for the First Meeting
- Setting Expectations for Working Together
- Maintaining Mentee/Mentor Relationships
And when you are ready to ask for recommendation letters, head over to Recommendation Letters in the Apply for Opportunities section.