Never underestimate the value of college research experiences. Whether a student is composing a thesis assignment or collaborating with professors and peers, the process of academic investigation yields many rewards. These include preparation for graduate school, new leadership skills and enhanced critical thinking abilities.
Through the University of Houston’s Office of Undergraduate Research, students work with faculty mentors on a range of research projects. This summer, the office will offer rising sophomores and juniors another opportunity to explore research processes and methods. The Houston Early Research Experience (HERE) is a two-week campus workshop led by Honors College faculty. Under the guidance of these professors, students will focus research on projects centered on the city of Houston. HERE students will participate in interactive lectures and discussions, read and analyze academic articles, conduct faculty-guided research, explore the city through field trips and deliver presentations. During the workshop, students also will gain insights on how to begin research – identifying problems and asking the right questions.
HERE is open to students from all majors. The workshop will be conducted May 16 – 27 and applications can be submitted online through March 23.
Workshop participants will receive a $1,000 scholarship and an invitation to join the Houston Scholars Program – aimed at enhancing students’ academic experiences and national competitiveness through faculty mentorship and research proposal development. HERE students also will have opportunities to deliver presentations during the Honors College Grand Challenges Forum.
“We’ve found that 92 percent of students who participate in a mentored research program offered through the Office of Undergraduate Research graduate within six years,” said Karen Weber, director of the Office of Undergraduate Research. “Research opportunities also lead to exciting things, including presentations at national conferences and being published in academic journals. They are more prepared when they apply to top tier graduate schools. Employers also are seeking students with the kinds of skills that are developed through research opportunities. They’re seeking problem solvers and self starters.”
HERE faculty seminar leaders include professors Chris Brunt, Erica Fletcher and Marc Hanke – Honors College faculty members representing the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences.
“Early research opportunities offer undergraduates hands-on experiences that help them explore potential academic trajectories and professions,” said Fletcher, a former Honors College student. “Through early research experiences, students can find mentorship and guidance from faculty members who will help them make decisions throughout their academic careers regarding future research projects, applications to graduate school, and their lives as researchers. From my own perspective as a former UH student and now as a faculty member here, wading into the waters of social research as an undergrad was key to going straight into a Ph.D. program following my graduation.”