Getting involved in research
Research means asking questions about the world, designing a great plan to answer those questions, and interpreting and communicating your results. A wide variety of scientists have research as part of their job description, from university professors to scientists working with government agencies, private companies, and non-profits. NAU is strongly committed to giving undergrads opportunities to develop substantial experience and skills in research by working with a faculty or graduate student mentor. Participating in research can be a great to way to help you refine your career interests, build your CV, and prepare for graduate school, but it can still seem mysterious when you’re looking for your very first research experience. Here are some tips!
What do I need to get started in research? Is research even what I want to do? Accordion Closed
- First, everyone needs to start somewhere! Don’t feel like you need to have research experience already.
- Think about what questions and topics are most interesting to you. For a great overview of how to turn your interests into research directions check out the Office for Undergraduate Research page for new student researchers.
- Talk to your professors about research. Even if they have no room in their labs for more students they may be able to suggest other faculty doing research that interests you.
- You can also get help finding a research experience from a peer through the RAMP peer mentorship program.
Scientific research really needs contributions from a wider diversity of backgrounds and perspectives. How can I find a community that supports that diversity? Accordion Closed
We’re so glad you’re here! NAU has many groups and programs that provide both a supportive and fun research community and mentoring to help you start and succeed in research. These include:
- The NAU SACNAS Chapter is all about welcoming and supporting students from ALL backgrounds. Check out their page for info on how to join, and links to many additional sources of funding and support.
- The Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) is designed to mentor and fund students from underrepresented backgrounds doing research across campus. They have a simple application, will help you find a mentor, and have regular social events as well as research training.
Can I get academic credit for research? Accordion Closed
- Sure can! All NAU students, with the help of a faculty mentor, can enroll in 1 or more 485 research credits during substantial research experiences.
- All ENV and ESS students are required to complete a substantial internship (ENV 408) or research (ENV 485) experience as part of your degree. This means 3 credits of either type in a single semester. If you choose the research option, you can use the info on this page to find a faculty mentor to work with, and possibly even funding to support you during that work (see below!).
Can I get paid to do research? Accordion Closed
- Yes! If you’re new to research, you can be matched with a paid project and mentor to gain research experience through the Interns-to-Scholars program.
- If you’re an underrepresented student (based on your racial or ethic background, LGBQTIA identity, or first-gen status) you can apply for funding through LSAMP. Help make science a more diverse and equitable community of researchers!
- You can apply for a NASA Space Grant Internship to work on projects related to earth sciences and/or climate change.
- If you have at least one more full year remaining at NAU, you can work with a faculty mentor to propose a new research project funded by a Hooper Undergraduate Research Award (HURA).
I’m looking to strengthen the research part of my CV for graduate school. How can I do more? Accordion Closed
- Check out the Office for Undergraduate Research page for current student researchers.
- Talk to your faculty mentor(s) about applying for student funding (e.g., a HURA) to extend your project.
- Talk to your faculty mentor(s) about presenting your research at the NAU Undergraduate Symposium (every April) or at a relevant conference in your discipline.
- Become a student RAMP mentor or leader.
- Get some research experience outside NAU! The National Science Foundation has a fantastic program called Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU). This funds programs hosted at many universities and field stations where undergraduates from all over the US come together for a summer to conduct research in labs and learn more about graduate school. This is a particularly great option for students interested in learning about ecosystems or research foci not available in Flagstaff (e.g., marine biology). Learn more and search for a program.