These two words might seem poles apart to many, but are in fact very connected to each other. Whether you are a senior who is about to graduate or a freshman, still trying to adjust to college life, engaging into research is never too early! Undergraduates, who get involved into research studies, reap numerous benefits – impressive resume, honing of critical thinking and analytical skills and getting connected to various faculty members. Further, if you are contemplating of going to graduate school, this is the one and only chance you will ever get to show your research ability!
Reach out to faculty researchers in your department or school
It can be a dreadful task for many students to approach professors. However, professors in the department or in your school of expertise are the best resources which are readily available and accessible. It always starts with writing them an email which is basically about introducing yourself, what are your research interests and how do YOUR research interests MATCH with THEM. A common mistake to avoid here is not to send a generic email to every professor you know, but rather think thoroughly how eventually you can integrate their research group with bringing your own research ideas or interest on board. It would make no sense to work with a professor whose interests are alien to you!
Another great step is to talk with professors with whom you are already having classes and getting to know about research projects they are currently working on. It is highly probable at one point or the other that they need research assistants on their team and that offer might go to you given you had already demonstrated enthusiasm to work with them. They might even suggest colleagues who are looking for help on their projects. Getting connected to their network is the key element here!
Write a short research proposal
Get started on a preliminary research proposal having these essential components: the health issue, the rationale of studying this health issue and target population, novelty of study and contribution to knowledge, proposed methods and timeline of study. As an undergraduate, you might have encountered many situations where you have thought of the why of this situation or phenomenon and what eventually could have been done. This is your chance to brainstorm on different topics of interest to you and to pick out the one which you are most passionate about.
Look for research internships
Many times, while looking for jobs, students ignore research-related internships or opportunities since they believe graduate students will be hired. Though this might be true in the majority of cases, some research opportunities are available to undergraduate students as interns. Be sure to read well the job specifications or requirements. Often, summer internships related to research are offered for at least 2 couple of years where the intern is free to work on the project during consecutive years and if you are the candidate they are looking for, why not try. One of the best advice I have ever got was:
TRY, TRY AND TRY UNTIL YOU NAIL IT!
Make the most out of research-related workshops and seminars
Throughout the academic years, there are multiple opportunities to attend workshops and seminars within the School of Public Health. Make the most out of these! For instance, getting to know how to use analytical software tools such as SPSS or SAS is vital for someone who is interested in developing his or her research agenda. In addition, faculty members often present findings related to their ongoing projects through seminars. Attending these seminars is getting a fresh perspective on health-related issues and it is highly likely that you like the focus of one of these projects and consequently, you would want to be involved in some way or the other in the project. Also, you can volunteer for positions to get the experience which is much needed instead of waiting for paid positions.
In research, any experience is good experience! On this note, I would definitely remind you that undergraduates are an active and vital component of the research community at our school and there are different kinds of opportunities for students to collaborate with faculty or graduate students on several projects.
Trishnee is a first year PhD student in the Department of Applied Health Sciences and her major is Health Behavior. She was born and raised in Mauritius and is currently having the best time pursuing her doctoral studies in the wonderful B-town. Her hobbies include cooking, reading romantic novels, and playing with her pets. Anything related to health highly interests her and she hopes to reach out to others on health-related issues that matter.
Categories: Undergraduate Research
IUSPH Career Services
Job opportunities for Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington majors are diverse and expanding as the emphasis on living a healthy lifestyle grows around the world. Career Services experts in each of our academic departments will provide one-on-one counseling and career building opportunities throughout your academic career, from choosing the right major to developing a strategy to find a job. They can assist you with:
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