The third annual Undergraduate Research Fair is a chance for students to get a glimpse of research opportunities at Augusta University and to learn tips for research success.
The event will be hosted from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 10 at the Jaguar Student Activities Center Coffeehouse. Several sessions on various topics will be offered, along with a chance to meet faculty mentors looking for student researchers.
The fair is broken into segments where undergraduates can get both faculty and student viewpoints on what is to be expected from student researchers. There will also be a meet and greet, where the setting is less formal.
“I think the Undergraduate Research Fair is one of the best things they do on campus in order to try to get undergraduates involved in some type of creative activity,” said Dr. Jessica Reichmuth, associate professor in the Department of Biological Sciences in the College of Science and Mathematics.
Hisham Kashif, a student in the BS/MD track of the Professional Scholars Program, has attended the research fair in the past. He said talking with peers at the fair was most beneficial to him.
“What I found is mostly with undergrads, it’s not necessarily explaining your research; we’re also talking about the process of getting into research, the process of reaching out to people and what you do once you get into the lab,” said Kashif.
Kashif said fellow students were able to give him a better idea of the steps they went through and he could learn from their success and mistakes.
“It’s just a way to introduce students who don’t know about research to our fair and be able to show them some of the resources we offer, the services, the workshops, kind of the first step for students,” said Melissa Knapp, coordinator for the Center for Undergraduate Research and Scholarship.
One misconception some students have when they hear the word “research” is that it’s exclusively for medical or science fields. But research is necessary in every field of study.
“People get intimidated by that concept, but what you have to realize is that you have a lot of non-stimulated research. You can go into business or liberal arts and do research projects there,” said Kashif. “Even if you are a science major, you can go in and do research on history or some sort of global health issue. You don’t necessarily have go into a lab.”
The fair is open to all students, and Knapp said even first-year students should take advantage. It can give them the road map to what lies ahead in finding research projects.
“For students, if they’re just thinking about research, this is a good safe place to explore,” said Knapp.
For students who complete undergraduate research, it can help them get a leg up when moving into professional life.
“I think the coolest thing here is that while a lot of students think they have to go to four years and to grad school, or beyond, we do have a lot of students who have graduated with a bachelor’s degree that have had undergraduate research experience and have gone to work for state, regional and federal entities,” said Reichmuth.
“I have a student who volunteered for a project, and he worked for the U.S. Geological Survey in Atlanta, just with a bachelor’s. I have a student who is working as a subcontractor with just her bachelor’s and working as an ecologist with the Georgia Department of Transportation.”