Undergraduate Student Opportunities in Academic Research (USOAR) Overview

Welcome to the UVA Undergraduate Student Opportunities for Academic Research Program, otherwise known as USOAR. This is a new program that targets rising second- and third-year undergraduate students who do not have previous experience in research and are looking to participate in paid research opportunities with faculty members within their chosen area of study. USOAR not only introduces students to the enriching experiences surrounding research, it also provides students with the chance to build strong relationships with faculty. Students apply for a research assistant position with a particular faculty member who will oversee their progress throughout the course of the semester or year. Some positions also give students the opportunity to work with advanced undergraduate peer mentors and graduate student researchers.

When most students think of research at UVA, they think of research within the sciences. USOAR offers opportunities in the sciences but it also offers research opportunities in the humanities and social sciences. The 2013–14 pilot USOAR program includes positions with faculty members in Batten, Curry, Arts & Sciences, Engineering, Medicine, and Nursing.

Although the majority of these positions will be offered to students who are eligible for the Federal Work-Study Program, a few positions will also be offered to non-work-study students. USOAR applicants are not required nor expected to have prior knowledge of research skills and experiences. However, ideal applicants will have a sense of time management, patience, and some background in and understanding of their area of interest.

The deadline to submit applications for USOAR 2013-14 has passed. Please watch this site in fall 2013 for announcements regarding plans for USOAR 2014-15.

Who may apply?

Undergraduate students enrolled at UVA for 2013-14 who have completed at least one course in the chosen area of interest.

How do I apply?

  • Review the job descriptions listed below and identify 1-3 positions that interest you.
  • Create your resume (see Helpful Materials below).
  • Create a cover letter that states your interest in the position and your qualifications and skills; you may want to submit more than one cover letter if you are interested in more than one position. (Again, see Helpful Materials below for tips on writing cover letters.)
  • Complete the USOAR application at http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CSH6VX3
  • Submit your resume and cover letter(s) by email attachment to usoar@virginia.edu.
  • The application must be completed and your supporting materials sent to usoar@virginia.edu by Monday, August 19, 2013.
  • Based on initial review of your application and supporting materials, a small number of students will be selected for a brief interview with each faculty member in late August.

Job Descriptions

Job descriptions are listed below by discipline.

Helpful Materials

USOAR and University Career Services have put together a list of links to help interested students write their resume and cover letter. Please refer to the links below in order to strengthen the application and prepare for the interview process.

A brief overview of the resume writing process that includes examples of different kinds of resumes (including resumes for students who don’t yet have work experience):
http://www.career.virginia.edu/students/handouts/writing_resumes.pdf

A brief guide to the cover letter writing process with examples that will give students a visual of how their cover letter should look and what it should contain:
http://www.career.virginia.edu/students/handouts/coverletters.pdf

Guidance on how students without previous work experience can write a cover letter:
http://coverlettersandresume.com/cover-letter-samples/no-experience/how-to-write-cover-letter-with-no-experience/

Advice and tips on interviewing effectively:
http://www.career.virginia.edu/students/handouts/interviewing.pdf

Interview Stream: a great tool that allows students to experience an interview and learn how to improve their responses. Students can use Interview Stream to video interview themselves and see how they respond both verbally and non-verbally:
https://uva.interviewstream.com/default.aspx

Visit the University Career Services website for more helpful resources!

Questions? Contact usoar@virginia.edu