What our students say:
"The only way to really know if a research career is the right choice."
"It was wonderful getting to experience research from a view point other than hearing about it in a classroom."
"I feel so lucky to have participated in such a fantastic program and know that it will have a lasting positive impact on my future academic career."
"This fantastic program showed me that state schools like UNR can give their undergrads a top-notch research experience."
The rate of change in most aspects of life including careers has increased dramatically in the
past several decades. Faced with an ever-challenging task of educating future generations,
many universities strive to better prepare students to face a dynamic world. It is well known
that involving students in research could be an important step towards that goal. Whereas
graduate students are given ample opportunities to conduct research, undergraduate
students’ exposure ranges from none to limited. Even as an active research university, the University of Nevada, Reno, was one of the few research institutions to
establish an Office of Undergraduate Research to foster and expand research opportunities.
The program started in August 2003 as an experiment. Short- and long-term visions were developed and within
six months, a decision was made to continue and expand the program to realize its vision.
Our mission is to promote, support, and publicize undergraduate research in all disciplines at the University. This is accomplished through the following activities:
- - Expand undergraduate research opportunities
- - Develop and maintain outreach tools including website, printed materials and presentations
- - Facilitate faculty involvement
- - Publicize external undergraduate research funding opportunities to faculty and provide support in developing undergraduate research grant proposals
- - Recognize faculty involvement in undergraduate research
Develop skills to conduct research
The job market is continuously evolving and the rate of evolution is fast because of the rapid development of new technologies. The job market is also highly competitive as employers try to be efficient and do more with less. An adaptable work force gives employers an edge and hence the ability to adapt is a requirement and no longer a luxury. Furthermore, effective communication skills are now essential in nearly all fields of practice. Undergraduate research teaches students the process of developing creative ideas, formulating and executing research and presenting the outcome. The skills learned through undergraduate research enable the college graduate to develop and adapt to new ideas and pursue them in a systematic way. The ability to communicate, both in written and verbal form, enhances the overall effectiveness of the individual and makes her/him a success.
Develop and produce new knowledge
One of the major roles of universities is to create and investigate new ideas. Undergraduate students can be an important part of teams that that often involve graduate students and research associates, all operating under the guidance of a faculty mentor. Because of their fresh and unbiased look at new ideas, undergraduate students often strengthen the research team and can positively affect the direction of research.
To motivate talented students and prepare them for graduate school
Many highly capable students do not pursue graduate degrees, frequently because of a lack of understanding about the possibilities that graduate education offer both during school and following graduation. The perception that graduate education is hard, costly and not rewarding is commonly overcome by becoming involved in research as an undergraduate student. The satisfaction that comes from solving a problem or attempting a creative endeavor that has not previously been attempted can create a new perspective and potentially encourage students attending graduate school.
Improve a sense of community and group dynamic
The exposure of many students to the university setting is often limited to attending classes and occasionally meeting with an advisor. Undergraduate research provides a mechanism for students to interact more closely and frequently with faculty mentors and other researchers on campus. The improved sense of belonging and accomplishment enriches the educational experience of the student and provides opportunities to explore potential career paths.