#aggielifehacks Undergraduate Research

By Morgan Pratt

Undergraduate students can create and participate in their own research projects. The best part is, undergrad research can be done by anyone. All it takes is some natural curiosity and an appointment with the undergraduate research office.

With undergraduate research, your horizon is virtually limitless. You can research almost whatever topic you want to look into as long as there is a professor or a grad student who can mentor you. It all depends on you. What are you passionate about? Music? Religion? Climate change? Art? Economics? Journalism? You can research all of those things and more at Utah State University.

Not only does undergrad research give you an edge when you are applying to grad school, but it also looks fantastic on a resume. It is also a great opportunity for you to explore your personal likes and dislikes and it will help you ultimately decide what you want to do for your future career. It also gives you hands-on experiences with research and face-to-face interactions with professors, who are typically experts in their fields of study. Moreover, it is immensely rewarding to feed your curiosity and creativity.

Research methods classes: Novice

There are several fundamental research classes offered to students, including communication research methods, strategic research methods in public relations, or scientific thinking and methods in psychology, which offer just a taste of research. They are great for laying a foundation of how research really works by teaching essential research methodology and how to gather and interpret data. If you tend to like these classes, maybe you can take your initial research project and expand it through other avenues here at Utah State.

Research assistants to professors: Intermediate

One way to get your foot in the door for research is to get a position as research assistant to a professor. For example, Candi Carter Olson has been looking for a research assistant to help her study Mormon women in the early 1800s and 1900s. Check out Career Aggie for other research assistant opportunities.

Undergraduate Research and Creative Opportunities, or URCO: Expert

The URCO grant is the ultimate research opportunity USU offers. It is the chance of a lifetime to be paid to create and carry out your own research proposal. Students can receive up to $2,000 to fund their research project. To receive funding for the URCO grant, students must apply and submit a research proposal. This can happen up to three times a year — those deadlines are Oct. 15, Feb. 15 and June 15. Once the research is finished, those who are selected for an URCO grant are expected to present their research to at a conference.