Undergraduate research work takes many forms but is characterized by a spirit of inquiry, participation in the active conversation of a scholarly, professional or creative field of study, and guidance by a faculty mentor. Student research and creative projects may be produced by students at all levels in classes, labs, recitals, as part of a distinction or thesis program, or independently. Participating in undergraduate research helps you apply what you are learning in class, find a mentor, improve your critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and pursue a topic that fascinates you.
SOURCE offers weekly information sessions to help you get started thinking about your participation in research activities and to connect you with the appropriate resources. Talk to your professors about their research, connect with your department leadership, and talk to fellow students. SOURCE Student Research Mentors also hold weekly office hours to assist students. Start reading the literature in your field of study and look at the faculty research interests on your department web page.
All student research projects must be guided by a professor. Some students assist faculty with their larger research projects and others propose their own independent project with guidance from the faculty mentor. Before you approach a prospective faculty mentor, be sure that you have examined their research interests on the department web page, and even read some of their recent publications. Request a meeting with a professional email and come prepared to discuss your own interests, skills, availability, and future goals. It will likely take some persistence to find a mentor; SOURCE is here to help support you through the process.
SOURCE offers summer research grants of up to $2800 and academic year grants of up to $5000 for research expenses including supplies, materials, travel, or participant compensation. Summer funding may be used for living expenses. These grant applications are available each October and February. Rolling small grants of up to $800 are available on an ongoing basis. Application requires a description of your project (including budget and timeline), letter from your faculty mentor, resume and transcript. There are other programs and opportunities to support undergraduate research and creative work on campus, including the Honors Program, the McNair Scholars Program, LSAMP, and many others.
Syracuse University offers many opportunities to present student research at departmental poster sessions, thesis review presentations, Honors, McNair, or LSAMP presentation days, and SOURCE celebrations of research. You may also want to pursue presenting off-campus at a national conference, where you can receive invaluable feedback from experts in your field and participate in the larger scholarly or creative conversation. Some students might author or co-author publications with their faculty mentor in peer-reviewed journals or journals of undergraduate research.