Tala Navab-Daneshmand

What is your title?

Assistant Professor in the School of Chemical, Biological, and Environmental Engineering

What is your research focus in one sentence or less?

In the Navab Lab, our mission is to identify the fate and transmission pathways of pathogenic and antibiotic-resistant bacteria from wastewater systems to environmental reservoirs and to design engineered systems and interventions to reduce the associated human health risks.

How do you involve undergraduates (including Ecampus students) in your work?

When undergrads are interested to join our lab, we usually have a trial term where undergrads will get trained and start shadowing other students (grad and undergrad) in the lab. During this time they attend our weekly group meetings and spend a few hours per week in the lab to get familiar with our lab research and culture. By the end of this trial period, we can decide whether we are a good fit for one another. If students stay, they usually get involved in a specific project and take on the lead on certain aspects of the project. Sometimes, undergrads in my lab have shown so much independence and enthusiasm that they have led their own independent projects.

What do you think makes a good mentor?

In my opinion, communication, transparency, and availability make a good mentor.

What strategies do you use when mentoring students?

I try to communicate my expectations from the students in my group upfront. We make agreed-upon quarterly goals and we work on achieving set goals. We meet on regular basis to check in and problem solve. And I try to be available and understanding for my students to achieve their goals.

What advice do you have for undergraduates looking to get involved in research?

For students who are looking into getting research experience, I suggest being proactive about it. Talk to different faculty and share your interest in joining their lab. Also, talk to other undergrads who are already doing research and ask about their strategies and success. Don’t be shy and advocate for yourself. Finally, when you are given the opportunity, show curiosity, be a good team member, but also don’t be afraid to work independently. Read the literature, familiarize yourself with the relevant research, and bring your questions and ideas to the table.

Pipiet Larasatie

What is your title?

Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Wood Science and Engineering, College of Forestry.

What is your research focus in one sentence or less?

Competitive marketing and business management strategies of forest product innovation including researching gender dynamics in the forest sector workforce and higher education.

How do you involve undergraduates (including Ecampus students) in your work?

Through a college-level program called the Mentored Employment Program.

What do you think makes a good mentor?

A good role model, as well as a good supporter.

What strategies do you use when mentoring students?

Keep myself open and not to be afraid to say, “I don’t know, let’s learn together!”

What advice do you have for undergraduates looking to get involved in research?

Don’t be afraid to reach for the research opportunities! It can be as easy as sending emails. Also, you don’t need to be a research expert, because that’s what a mentor is responsible to be. As a mentee, your job is to show your willingness to learn and your passion for doing research.

Sam Logan

What is your title?

Assistant Professor, Kinesiology, College of Public Health and Human Sciences

What is your research focus in one sentence or less?

My research focuses on providing mobility technology, often in the form of modified ride-on toy cars, for young children with disabilities to use for exploration, development, and play.

How do you involve undergraduates in your work?

Undergraduates are an integral part of our research team and take on many roles including data entry, support and lead roles in data collection, and modifying ride-on toy cars.

What do you think makes a good mentor?

I believe that the primary responsibility of a mentor is to facilitate learning experiences for students through providing opportunities to get involved.

What strategies do you use when mentoring students?

I provide students with choice in regard to which project they work on, and we work together to determine the role that best matches their interests and future career goals.

What advice do you have for undergraduates looking to get involved in research?

Start early, be persistent, and create your own experience once you have a foothold in a research lab. The students who make the most of their research experience are the ones who continue to seek and push for additional learning opportunities and take on leadership roles within the lab.

Geoffrey Barstow

What is your title?

Religious Studies Assistant Professor

What is your research focus in one sentence or less?

My research focuses on the practice of Buddhism in pre-modern Tibet, with a particular focus on vegetarianism and the master / disciple relationship.

How do you involve undergraduates (including Ecampus students) in your work?

To date, undergraduate students can get involved with my research by reading Tibetan Buddhist literature (in English translation) and looking for references to particular topics, such as vegetarianism, various retreat practices, or the master / disciple relationship.  Doing this reading helps me to data mine this literature and gives students first hand experience with the kind of archival research that is at the center of history as a discipline.

What do you think makes a good mentor?

A good mentor shows students how to do work, while also helping them understand the significance of that work.  Ideally, students should become invested in the project, see it as theirs, and not simply feel like they are doing the mentor's work.

What strategies do you use when mentoring students?

When I mentor in a research situation, I try to let my students learn by simply diving in and reading the material, without telling them too much about what they'll find.  The research then becomes a process of discovery for the students, and we can work through those discoveries together as a team.

What advice do you have for undergraduates looking to get involved in research?

I'd suggest looking for research projects that you find interesting, but which are a little outside of your actual major.  This is an opportunity to try new things, and you never know how developing a new skill set may change your approach to research in your own field.