Undergraduate Research

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How is undergraduate research supported at UW-L?

What are undergraduate students saying?

"My involvement with undergraduate research has been the highlight of my academic career at UW-L. My experiences within the research setting have allowed me to tackle challenging questions, explore my own interests in chemistry, and discover how science operates in the 'real world'." - Jennifer Prescher, Chemistry Major

"Undergraduate research has supplied me with the techniques and work ethic that one can only learn through experience. I realize that not everyone has had or will have an opportunity such as mine, but the ability to choose from an array of projects within the College will help any student looking for direction in their scholastic career and in the working world."  -Vince Trussoni, Biology Major, Environmental Science Concentration

"One of the biggest benefits of doing undergraduate research for me was applying the lessons learned in the classroom. There is a different level of understanding that comes form doing things yourself rather than just sitting back and listening to someone tell you about it."  -Hamptony Guridy, Biology/Pre-Medicine Major

"The opportunities I have received from being involved with the undergraduate research program have been numerous. I got the chance to propose a grant, take part in a symposium and to write a manuscript submission to a journal. This program also gave me the chance to become intensely involved in research and everything that goes along with it." -Jessica Laessig, Biology Major

"It is also a great way to prepare for graduate school and the real world. You learn to think on your feet and be much more self-reliant. It's an excellent way to learn how science is done and to explore your scientific interests." -Hamptony Guridy, Biology/Pre-Medicine Major

What are the benefits to students?

  • development of skills to function more independently
  • opportunity to put classroom knowledge into practice
  • identification of career interests
  • building of mentor relationships between faculty and students
  • stimulation that comes with critical thinking
  • opportunity to participate in new discoveries
  • ability to better understand research methodologies
  • stimulation of creativity
  • increased likelihood of acceptance into graduate or professional school
  • ability to communicate to a wide audience
  • recognition by one's peers
  • sheer excitement created by intellectual activity
  • opportunity to earn wages or academic credit
  • enhance ability to grasp the philosophy of lifelong learning

What are the benefits to UW-La Crosse?

  • enhancement of the UW-L's reputation
  • recruitment of high quality students and faculty
  • garnering of extramural funding and recognition
  • breaking down of barriers between students and faculty
  • breaking down barriers between teaching and research by integrating both into the teacher-scholar concept
  • intellectual enhancement of the baccalaureate degree

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What are UW-L faculty saying?

"Undergraduate research gives me the opportunity to get to know and mentor my students on a much deeper level than I ever do in the classroom, and this allows me to better assist in their career development as they prepare to move beyond UW-L. This arrangement makes my job much more satisfying, professionally and personally, and I believe that my students feel the same way about their experiences here. Thus, undergraduate research provides a highly beneficial arrangement for both students and faculty alike."  -Dr. Aaron Monte, Chemistry

"I love working with undergraduates for many reasons, but one is that they invigorate my research. Because they look at the work with a fresh perspective, they often have very insightful ideas for problem solving."  -Dr. Anne Galbraith, Biology

"Most of the awards and scholarships won by our Physics students are mainly due to their involvement in undergraduate research. Undergraduate Research has been instrumental in the revitalization of our physics program."  -Dr. Gubbi Sudhakaran, Physics

What are the benefits to UW-L faculty?

  • stimulation and confidence that accompany creative thinking
  • opportunity to mentor enthusiastic, high quality students
  • enhanced ability to remain current in one's field and discipline
  • excitement created by intellectual activity and participation in new discoveries
  • recognition by one's internal and external peers
  • reinvigoration of one's career
  • chance to improve teaching techniques, such as in investigative laboratories
  • ability to transfer results from one's scholarship into the classroom
  • ability to promote the concept of the lifelong learning for students

Who can participate in undergraduate research?

Anyone with an interest or desire! You need not be majoring in a given subject to participate, although an introductory class in that subject could be helpful.

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So...how do you get started?

  • Talk to professors about the research they are involved in and work with them. Begin to read the literature regarding their research or field.
  • If you have a research interest of your own, present it to a faculty member who could act as your mentor.
  • Look and listen for announcements from faculty members seeking students on bulletin boards, in classes, at seminars, and through the "grapevine."

How much time will it take?

Although it is difficult to predict how much time a given research project might require, during the academic year the average student engaged in research works between 5 to 10 hours a week. Some research projects may require weekend or summer work; many summer projects represent full-time commitments for several weeks.

How do students present their research findings?

  • UW-L's Annual Celebration of Undergraduate Research and Creativity, held each Spring
  • UW-System Symposium for Undergraduate Research, held each Spring at various UW-System campuses
  • National Conference for Undergraduate Research (NCUR), also held each Spring
  • Annual Regional and National Meetings of Student Societies
  • Annual regional and National Meetings of Disciplinary Societies

How do students publish their research findings?

  • UW-L Journal of Undergraduate Research
  • Peer-reviewed discipline-specific journals

What about faculty involvement with undergraduate research?

The faculty at UW-L are hired in part based upon their research experience and their desire to work with undergraduates in research. The student-mentor relationship is very rewarding. The collaboration between students and professors grows as the student is led through the research process by the mentor. In most cases, students develop critical thinking skills and gradually begin to learn how to work more independently.

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