Student Resources

Getting Started

  • Professors are extremely busy. Some get hundreds of emails a week, meaning they may not be able to get back to you immediately.
  • Expect to have to reach out to multiple professors before securing a meeting with one. This is not uncommon!
  • Do your background research and understand the professor's specific research interests before composing an email. Let them know specifically why you are interested in working with them.
  • Convey your qualifications for the research by speaking to how your specific experiences will help you be a successful researcher. Don't worry if you don't have previous research experience - you can talk about classes you've taken, lab experiments you've done, volunteer work, etc. 
  • If appropriate, feel free to send along a resume as well. 

Example Email Template

Dear Professor Smith –

        Quick introduction… name, major, what are your goals?

        I am interested in your work because

        Specifically, I was wondering these questions…

        If you are willing to meet, these are the times I’m free...

Thanks,

Your name

 

The Waiting Game

  • Don’t be afraid to follow up in a week or so if you haven’t received a response from the professor.
    • Tip: Instead of sending a new email, simply reply to your initial email so the professor knows what you’re referring to.
  • Consider going to office hours if you’re not getting a response. This way, the professor is guaranteed to be there. Sometimes this can be a better way of getting connecting with the professor.

Setting Up the Meeting

  • If possible, set up the meeting during the professor's office hours.
  • If you're scheduling a meeting over email, send your availability for at least a week to avoid having to send multiple emails back and forth, delaying the process.
    • Sending a picture of your schedule can also be an effective way of doing this.

Preparing for The Meeting

  • Do your research! Be familiar with the professor’s previous work and the work they may be doing now. Explore Google Scholar and their faculty webpage on their departmental website. Many professors have their publications listed on their faculty page.
  • While most meetings are not structured like formal interviews, it would still be best to have a couple of responses ready for questions that are often asked in this setting [What makes you qualified for this position? Why should I select you over the other qualified applicants?].
    This may be more common if applying for structured programs or student jobs.
  • Be prepared to provide a brief oral resume stating your previous experiences. Try your best to connect those experiences to the work you would do as a researcher.
  • Make a good first impression by dressing business casual for your meeting.
  • Don’t be afraid to sell yourself!

At the Meeting

  • Upon arriving to the professor’s office, greet them by shaking their hand and introducing yourself. Feel free to ask them how their day is going. This is an opportunity to get a sense of the professor’s mood and how well they communicate with students.
  • Slightly lean forward in your chair and nod while the professor is speaking. This shows that you’re engaged and interested in what the professor is saying.
  • Write down important information the professor is saying on a notepad. Make sure to bring a notepad and pen. Do not ask the professor for these items.
  • Ask the professor any questions you may have. Ask specific questions about their research that help show you’re interested in being part of their research pursuits. Be sure to also ask about logistical aspects of the position (i.e. hours of commitment).
  • Kindly thank the professor for their time at the end of the meeting. Shake their hand upon leaving.

After the Meeting

  • Send a follow up email thanking the professor for their time and reiterate important parts of the meeting.
  • Offer to send the professor anything else that may be helpful.
  • Be patient! Professors may not be able to reply to your follow up email right away. If 1-2 weeks go by, send them a follow up email restating your interest in joining their research group and the details of your meeting. Avoid being pushy.

Presenting Your Research: Share, Learn, & Connect

You may be in the process or have just finished the grand task of compiling your research or creative work into a final product, such as a manuscript, book, report, or artistic medium. What more can you do with your new knowledge? Sharing your research with both the broader community and professionals within your field is arguably one of the most rewarding aspects of undergraduate research. Doing so allows you to network, enhance your resume, share what you’ve learned, develop your own understanding of your work, and experience the real-world application of your studies.

Students have opportunities to present their research at various types of conferences or symposiums, locally, nationally, and internationally! All types of conferences will allow you to present your research to others and experience the benefits of participation.

If you wish to present your work, there’s definitely a conference for you out there! OSU’s Celebrating Undergraduate Excellence (CUE) and the Undergraduate Summer Research Symposium are two local opportunities at OSU. Both events are held each year in May and September and aim to showcase undergraduate research in all academic disciplines.

 

Follow the links below to learn more about these opportunities:

 

CUE (Spring 2020, Date & Location TBA):

http://communications.oregonstate.edu/events/cue

Registration Deadline: TBA 

 

Undergraduate Summer Research Symposium (September 2020, Date & Location TBA): http://undergraduate.oregonstate.edu/research/presentation-opportunities/undergraduate-summer-research-symposium

Registration Deadline: TBA

 

You do not have to be the primary author or have worked on your research for a significant amount of time to be able to present. If you are interested in presenting your research, talking to your research mentor or advisor about conferences within your field is a good place to start. Second, reach out to the Undergraduate Research Ambassadors in the Office of Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and the Arts (URSA) during our advising hours or refer to this web resource that outlines potential conferences within your field as well as those geared for undergraduate students both locally and nationally at:

http://undergraduate.oregonstate.edu/research/presentation-opportunities/conferences-outside-osu

Once you’ve found a conference to present your work at, you can apply to present. This may include submitting an abstract or sample of your work and a completed form to the indicated conference coordinators. Refer to the conference website for important submission requirements, deadlines, contact information, and additional conference resources. Be sure to communicate with your faculty mentor to make sure this conference is appropriate for your project and that you will be able to meet all submission requirements by the deadline.

The Office of URSA is here to provide you with support throughout your undergraduate research endeavors, we offer advising hours!

  • Spring term advising hours will be hosted virtually via Zoom on Mondays and Tuesdays from 1-3 PM. Please visit tinyurl.com/URSAZoom during those times to speak with an ambassador!

We can help you with all parts of the presentation process!

There are generally 3 types of presentation formats:

  1. Poster Presentation
  2. Oral Presentation
  3. Lightning Talk

Research From a Distance

Do you live off-campus? Are you only taking online classes? You can still get involved in research!

These are just a few examples of different types of research you could conduct from a distance:

  • Critically analyze and interpret texts

  • Conduct a literature review

  • Design video games

  • Conduct species counts

  • Analyze computer-based data

  • Conduct interviews

  • Design computer models and programs

Here are a few steps you can take to get started:
 

– Think about topics you are interested in and questions you
   might have about these topics.

          (e.g. I am interested in whales. I wonder why certain
          species of whales are declining while others are growing.)

 Research online to learn more about these topics to refine
   your questions or to develop more questions!

– Identify which OSU departments might have faculty
   exploring issues that are of interest to you.

          (e.g. there may be faculty in Biology or Fisheries and
          Wildlife that do research on whales.)

          SIDE NOTE: Keep in mind that you do not necessarily have
          to collaborate with faculty at OSU. You can also: 1) look
          for a mentor at a local institution or 2) check out
          programs like REUs that you may be eligible for.
          (https://www.nsf.gov/crssprgm/reu/)

– Do a Google search for specific OSU departments that might
   have potential faculty mentors.

          For example, this page was found by Google searching
          “OSU, faculty, biology”.

– Read through faculty profiles to see if there is anyone who is
   working on projects that sound interesting to you.

– Once you find a faculty member whose work looks
   interesting, send them an email!

          We offer help putting this first email together during our
          offered advising hours. Make sure to include days and
          times you are free for an online meeting (e.g. Skype)
          or phone call – this will reduce the number of emails
          sent to the faculty mentor.

– Make sure you communicate in your email that you are
   interested in conducting research or creative work from a
   distance.

          Many faculty are open to working with students remotely!

– Have a phone or virtual meeting with faculty.
          Make sure you review their research once again before
          this meeting. Be yourself when you talk with them and
          share your passion and enthusiasm to do research.
          Remember, it is okay to ask questions.

   Good luck!