Why Undergraduate Research? - University of Houston
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Why Undergraduate Research?

Here’s What Our Faculty Say

Undergraduate students have worked on their Senior Honors Thesis projects in my lab. These students gained invaluable research experiences that strengthened their academic knowledge in preparation for their future graduate and medical school careers.

...They get to decide what exactly they want to pursue in the future.

...They develop verbal and writing skills that are necessary for professional development.

- Jokubas Ziburkus, (Neurobiology), Cell and Molecular Biology

I strongly encourage students interested in graduate school to gain research experience as undergraduates. You will be able to find out if you truly enjoy working in a particular field (and try additional fields if you don't like the first one). In addition, research experience will greatly strengthen your application to graduate school. Finally, if you enter graduate school with the sophistication gained from working in a laboratory, you will be more successful as a graduate student.

- Steven Pennings, (Salt marsh ecology), Ecology and Evolution

I think that research experience in the lab and outside of classes is an excellent way to gain an understanding of the approaches and basics of scientific research. To interact with researchers and graduate students on a daily basis gives otherwise abstract “research” a personal face. Creativity, thinking and sometimes hard work are required to plan an experiment, to perform it and to overcome difficulties along the way. The reward: The excitement that comes with success and novel findings!

- Brigitte Dauwalder, (Genetics), Cell and Molecular Biology

Undergraduate researchers are an integral part of the work in our lab. Student research ranges from assisting a graduate student to designing and implementing an independent project. I have two hopes for the students in my lab: first is that students will get useful and interesting data that will further the research of our group; second, and perhaps more importantly, students should get to experience the excitement, and tedium, of knowledge discovery. You can never know what doing labwork or fieldwork is really all about unless you get your hands dirty and do it. Actively participating in research can convince a student that this is really the coolest thing possible that someone gets to do for a living, or that this is something that they could never stand to do again--either way, they've learned something valuable.

- Rebecca Zufall, (Genome evolution), Ecology and Evolution

Here’s What Our Undergraduate Student-Researchers Say

Jessica BrumleyDuring my undergraduate years, while classes were incredibly important to me, I feel that research is what broadened my horizons and taught me how to be a thinker. From my research experiences, I developed a true understanding for science. It has prepared me to excel in any field I should pursue.

- Jessica Brumley, Biology graduate

Mary ElhardtMy research experience has offered a unique perspective in my undergraduate experience. It has enriched my biology degree beyond the skills gained in the classroom. I have been able to apply my biology knowledge to complex problems that science is attempting to answer every day. It's exciting to be a part of this field.

- Mary Elhardt, Biology graduate