Pre-planning for Research Involvement

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Karen Harwell, Ph.D.
Director Undergraduate Research

Is your student interested in research, but a little unsure as to what area of interest would be the right one? Do they want to get a head-start on planning for the fall semester? The summer is a great time for students to use their spare time to investigate possible research areas and projects of interest. For example, we always suggest that students do a little homework before contacting a faculty member concerning research projects. One efficient and effective way to accomplish this is to do a little online research. Students should review the research pages of their major or another interesting field of study at Georgia Tech. Read about what faculty members are doing and take notes - or at least download a few of their papers from the Georgia Tech library to read. This can be done even while away from Georgia Tech over the summer.

Students who are in Atlanta over the summer might want to also make appointments with some of the labs on campus to get a tour from a graduate student, post-doc, or undergraduate researcher. Summer is a great time to find researchers in the lab, plus the pace is a little more relaxed. It’s also a great time to ask questions and to get a feel for what is really done in that specific research program. Students in town might also plan to attend departmental presentations hosted during the summer. This is another way to meet the researchers and learn about available projects.

Students might also want to take this time to update their resumes. Many faculty members ask to see a student’s resume in order to learn more about their experience and leadership. In some cases, students may also have the opportunity to volunteer in the lab. This is a great way to get a foot in the door. Many labs will be hosting undergraduates from other universities, high school students, and often teachers during the summer. As a result, additional opportunities to be a part of a volunteer project might be available.

For more information on how to get involved in on-campus research, visit the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program Web site.


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    Rachael Pocklington
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    Fletcher Moore
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