Undergraduate Research Network
- The BME website keeps a comprehensive up to date list of labs that are looking for undergrads (http://bme.virginia.edu/downloads/BME%20Labs.pdf) . This is a really great place to start and has most of the information you need.
- Working with BME undergrad contacts like the Undergraduate Coordinator Kitter Bishop may help (http://bme.virginia.edu/undergraduate/contacts.html)
- Starting early is important. Many labs say that students get the most out of their research experience if they are willing to invest 1-2 years in the same lab.
- At the same time, do not be afraid to switch labs until you find the right one. Finding a lab that is a good fit and that has good opportunities for growth can be tricky, but is well worth it in the end.
- Research opportunities are dependent on the availability of projects in each professor’s lab; students should check at the beginning and end of each semester.
- Students should send an e-mail describing their motivation, lab experiences, relevant classes taken, and résumé to professors they are interested in working with.
- 2nd year chemical engineering students are preferred to allow the student time to gain familiarity with research methods and instruments.
- Students tend to perform research for credit for 5-10 hours/week during the semester but are encouraged to design their own experiments and apply for summer research grants (nanoSTAR Grant, Harrison Award, Rodman Sustainability Grant, National Science Foundation REU).
- Students learn techniques that may be applied to industry work or later graduate research, and have the opportunity to work with graduate students, participate in group meetings, and publish the results of their research.
- Students may present their work at two national conferences (AiCHE in the fall and ACS in the spring) and numerous regional conferences.
Materials Science and Engineering
- Faculty profiles are available online that detail the research interests of each professor.
- Students should contact the faculty member (via e-mail or set up an appointment) and explain concisely why they are interested in beginning research, their credentials, and what they would hope to accomplish.
- Faculty members prefer undergraduates committing earlier to research and may consider GPA, classes taken, and dedication to research.
- Students typically have the opportunity to work with graduate students and participate in group meetings while conducting research.
- Students have worked for credit and/or for pay, and substantial REU and summer grant opportunities exist.
- Students travel to and have won national conference undergraduate presentation contests and have been published in research journals.
- Students can potentially make careers out of their undergraduate research experience, especially if attending graduate school or working fulltime in research environments.