Summer research for undergraduates offers a great opportunity for students to experience what it is like to do scientific research full time. Having a large group of students in the natural sciences, at both the undergraduate and masters level, creates the atmosphere one expects at large research institutions, without sacrificing the personal contact and familiarity of a smaller school. All summer research students meet weekly on Fridays for an informal seminar series in which students describe their projects, methodologies being used and results to date. This, along with various social activities throughout the summer, promotes greater student to student interaction than would be possible otherwise.
Students can work in the summer session for pay, as volunteers or for academic credit. Some faculty have external funding through government or private agencies which provides stipends for undergraduate research students. There are also several other sources of funding available including privately funded research fellowship and awards of departmental funds. These positions are highly competitive and first consideration is given to more advanced students. Interested students should speak with their faculty mentors (or prospective mentors for those not yet doing research) to find out if such funding is available. Notices of competitions for funding typically are posted in the department in February of each year. Students supported with external funds receive free housing from the university for the 10 week summer research period.
Students who are unable to secure a funded research position but who still want to work during the summer can do so as volunteers. Arrangements to volunteer in a faculty member’s lab during the summer are similar to those for volunteering during the academic year.
Students may also perform research for credit during the 8 week summer course session by enrolling in summer research. Permission of the chair of the Biology Department is required in advance, along with approval of your faculty mentor. Students doing research for credit during the summer session will have to pay tuition and will not be eligible for free on campus housing.