Summer research gives students the confidence to ‘make a difference’ | Information Center
The program teaches skills and knowledge that are not always manifested in a traditional classroom.
For many students participating in San Diego State University’s Undergraduate Summer Research Program (SURP) this year, the experience confirmed their goal of becoming scientists, scholars, and artists.
Rodolfo Callado, an engineering major, worked on a project that investigates the use of electric buoys as a means of generating electricity from waves.
“My goal is to help resolve the global energy crisis,” he said. “Working on my current project inspired me to work on similar projects in the future and boosted my confidence in my ability to make a difference. “
Crisila Aban, senior and major in biology, has been working on research that assesses the impact of commercial fishing on California lobsters, and said SURP has allowed him “to gain valuable experiences and skills that I can use in my scientific career ”.
Confidence and experience is exactly what SURP aims to provide to students.
The program connects student researchers with mentor professors and pays them to work on a summer research project. The goal is twofold: to give students real-world hands-on research, scholarship, and creative work experience, and to encourage faculty mentorship of aspiring researchers.
This summer, SDSU funded more than 66 student researchers. Each team of student mentors receives a stipend of $ 3,000.
Acting Director of Undergraduate Research Nathalie Mladenov (who replaces the professor of engineering Alicia kinoshita, who holds the title permanently) spoke with SDSU NewsCenter about the importance of high-impact practices like undergraduate research.
Many students are unfamiliar with research before entering college. How would you explain what undergraduate research is and what kind of activities can be involved?
When we talk about undergraduate research at SDSU, we are really talking about research and creative work outside of the classroom. This includes experiences as diverse as cataloging historical costumes and fashion pieces or tracking lobster behavior.
By participating in research, undergraduates gain hands-on and often cutting-edge experiences that are simply not available in the traditional classroom. Students have the opportunity to present their research at SDSU’s Student Research Symposium, which is a great place to hone presentation skills and network with other students and faculty.
How do research experiences like SURP prepare students for their careers?
Through research, students acquire new skills, new vocabulary and new knowledge. These undoubtedly set them apart when they interview for their first job or write personal statements for graduate study. In addition to this rewarding exposure, many SURP students often lead their own projects.
These rewarding experiences provide a certain independence and self-efficacy, and potential employers will see it. Research mentors can also be a valuable resource. They often provide career advice, write letters of recommendation, and act as a sounding board for other potential opportunities.
Any advice for students considering doing research?
I suggest getting involved in the research early on. Do not wait !
Research experiences can help you find out what you don’t want to do just as much as they can uncover your passion. It has been proven that the early acquisition of research experience is a real motivator and has positive impacts on academic success. Also consider funding opportunities for undergraduate research. There are paid and volunteer positions for undergraduate research, including programs aimed at increasing the inclusion of under-represented students. You can get off to a good start by visiting the “Fund Your Work” page on the Undergraduate Research website.
What are the ways to get involved in research at SDSU?
There are many ways to get involved in research. SDSU’s undergraduate research website is a great place to start. We have many resources for students interested in research, including tips for finding a mentor, links to funding opportunities that support undergraduate research on campus, and information about our SURP matchmaking program which combines from students to mentors for summer research experiences.
A very effective way to find a research mentor is to speak directly or email faculty members you know who are involved in research and creation activities.