Can I, or should I undertake a beyond-the-classroom research experience?
The answer to this question is “yes”—that is, if you are currently doing well in your classes and can (during the fall and spring semesters) commit 6-8 hours a week to a professor’s lab, team, or guided-research project. During the summer, a professor might expect you to devote as many as 40 hours per week (usually unpaid) to the research endeavor. In such research environments, across the disciplines, students learn advanced techniques, begin to make contributions to their fields of study, and frequently gain co-authorship status. Your professor, in turn, becomes a faculty champion who helps you navigate your future by reviewing your applications, by preparing you for interviews, and by writing comprehensive letters of recommendation. TAMS students have the added advantage of being able to apply for a limited number of Summer Research Fellowships, which in the past have averaged $3000. Grades and ongoing research experience figure significantly in the awards process.
What is the best way to learn about suitable undergraduate-research placement?
In TAMS “word of mouth,” via the experience of others, has historically been a tried-and-true method of locating professors receptive to recruiting undergraduate research assistants. That protocol still works but fails to account for new faculty members who have yet to establish a reputation for taking on undergraduate researchers. Nor does that procedure help identify seasoned professors who have recently become eager to recruit undergraduates. For that reason, the new Pivot mechanism, officially endorsed by UNT, offers immediate and updated information that stands dramatically to enhance prospects for locating a faculty research mentor. Students will be able to identify likely mentors and learn of prerequisites and/or interview criteria. In sum, the Pivot search will expedite the search process and provide a far wider range of information than was previously available.