August 2, 2021
The University of Houston’s drive for research and excellence in humanities is exemplified through the Research for Aspiring Coogs in the Humanities (REACH) program. Created to give undergraduate students first-hand research experience, projects range the gamut, from community activism to the archival preservation to drafting biographies and conducting oral histories.
Designed as an introductory program for humanities students, REACH presents unique opportunities for students to get involved with projects in collaboration with UH Libraries Special Collections, digital humanities and individual faculty research projects. They will attend various webinars and participate in Undergraduate Research Day, showcasing their research and education over the year and possibly the next point where their research continues.
“UH is unique in how many faculty-mentored opportunities we have for undergraduate students to get involved in research projects,” Rikki Bettinger, co-director of REACH, said. “REACH students can have a hand in shaping public knowledge about our city and the experiences of myriad Houstonians.”
Supported by a grant from the Cougar Initiative to Engage and coordinated by the Office of Undergraduate Research and Major Awards, REACH is a collaborative effort specifically designed to give 12 students an opportunity to connect with existing undergraduate research projects at the University of Houston and actively participate in its development.
“REACH allows students to have an engaging, hands-on research experience,” Bettinger said. “Digital research, literary analysis, contributing to public-facing content and creating projects that will have a life beyond the student’s year-long participation is empowering.”
Upon application, REACH students are asked to review the REACH website and identify the projects underway they are most interested in participating in and, if selected, they are given the opportunity to work one-on-one with a mentor specific to that project over the year, providing undergraduate research experiences above and beyond the classroom.
“It provides an opportunity to be part of a project team and creates another level of educational engagement,” Bettinger said. “Our program connects students with a mentor, and then teaches them how to get connected and reach out on their own going forward, because the mentorship relationship that develops between the student and mentor is vital as well. In this way, it also prepares students to pursue further research opportunities like those offered in the Mellon Research Scholars Program.”
Selected students receive a $1,500 scholarship split between the fall and spring semesters in the program and are expected to spend a minimum six–seven hours weekly researching and contributing to the existing research project they are chosen for. If interested, applications are due at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 7.
To find out more about the program, visit the REACH website or contact REACH program directors Rikki Bettinger at firstname.lastname@example.org or Ben Rayder email@example.com for further information.