June 3, 2010

Research advising

This summer, I am advising an undergraduate research project. One of my former students got accepted to a summer fellowship program that gives undergrads an opportunity to work on research for two months. The students receive a stipend so that they can concentrate on research instead of working.

My student applied to work with one of my advisors, but since my advisor will be out of town for parts of the summer, he proposed that we both work with the student. In practice, this means that my advisor will help the student with research design, and I will help with day-to-day tasks, such as teaching the student how to gather and analyze data.

I'm pretty excited about it -- the student was in one of my TA sections this year, and I like him a lot. His written work was excellent, and he has some good ideas for his project. Working with an undergrad will be a nice break from lonely dissertation writing. And since I'm officially a co-advisor, I will receive a small payment in the form of funding for my own dissertation.

We had the orientation lunch today, and it seems like a really cool program. The fellowships are for students who are underrepresented in the academy (women and minorities), and the goal is to get the students excited about doing research, and to help them prepare for future research opportunities.

I think some of my excitement comes from my own happy memories of undergraduate research, before all the stress and misery of graduate school. Undergrads have the freedom to study just about anything, and nobody is going to rip it apart if it isn't perfect. It's like your last chance to get excited about a project without worrying about where it will lead, or what people will think, or how it will help your career.

1 Comments:

  • It's like your last chance to get excited about a project without worrying about where it will lead, or what people will think, or how it will help your career.

    Probably true, but it's a bit sad, isn't it? I wish we could continue to have those chances ....

    By Blogger jo(e), at 6/6/10, 6:00 PM  

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