Office of Undergraduate Research Launches New Website

January 11, 2017.  Today the UWM Office of Undergraduate Research launched its new website.  The old site, constructed around a cold-fusion database traces back to 2008, and it was long-overdue for replacement.  The staff of the OUR would like to thank Ricky Kaja, Elijah Le Clair, and Mark Jacobson for all the assistance in getting our new word-press site up and running.  We’re certain that students will appreciate all the new functionality.

WUWM Story: How Does University Research Happen? It’s Not All Lab Coats and Test Tubes

WUWM Education Reporter Rachel Morello recently reported on ways in which undergraduates contribute to UWM’s research mission in a story called “How Does University Research Happen?  It’s Not All Lab Coats and Test Tubes.”  The story features Kaylee Yelk, an alumni of our UR@UWM Summer Research Program and an undergraduate research student searching for pulsars with members of the Astrophysics faculty.

UW-Milwaukee freshman Kaylee Yelk does research for an astronomy group right from her dorm room on campus. Photo: RACHEL MORELLO

UW-Milwaukee freshman Kaylee Yelk does research for an astronomy group right from her dorm room on campus. Photo: RACHEL MORELLO

Student to Present at the Geology Society of America Joint Section Meeting

Senior Natalie McNall has been awarded an undergraduate research travel award to present a poster at the Geology Society of America Joint Section Meeting in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania this March.  Natalie investigates the characterization of magnetic and micromorphologic signatures in seismically disturbed sediment and sedimentary rocks with Professor John Isbell in the Geosciences department.


Registration Open for UW System Undergraduate Research & Scholarly Activity (URSCA) Symposium

Registration is now open for students who would like to present the results of their undergraduate research at the UW System Undergraduate Research & Scholarly Activity (URSCA) Symposium which will be held on Friday, April 21, 2017 at UW Stevens Point.  The Office of Undergraduate Research will charter a bus to bring UWM student participants to the conference and will cover registration costs.  The Symposium will host students from the UW System and feature oral, poster, visual art, and performing art presentations.

My mentor would like me to go to a conference, but I don’t have enough money for travel. Is there any way I can get my trip covered?

If you are presenting at a conference, you can apply for up to $400 of funding through our Undergraduate Research Travel Award.  If this doesn’t fully cover the expenses of the trip, consider asking your mentor, department, or dean.  A courteous email with the conference details, your presentation information, as well as how this conference will benefit you might be worth some serious dough!

I have recently transferred to UWM and I am interested in undergraduate research. Where can I find resources to get involved?

This website is a great spot to start.  Take a look at the list of Research Projects.  You can apply to get involved in the ones that sound interesting to you.  We also encourage students to read faculty biographies on department homepages, and to contact faculty directly who are doing work they are particularly interested in.  Conveying a genuine interest in a faculty member’s work, and an authentic desire to get involved, is probably the most tried and true avenue into a truly relevant undergraduate research experience!

I’m currently an undecided major. Am I restricted to research that I have a background in or am majoring in? Is my research mentor required to be in my same field?

Participating in undergraduate research can be one of the best ways to explore possible majors, so no!  You are definitely not restricted to a project within a declared major.  We have many successful collaborations between students and faculty who are not in their major field.  Sometimes the fields are related (like Psychology and Educational Psychology) and sometimes not.  Students can bring some of their expertise from one area (like a language or technical ability) to a project in another field where that skill is an asset (for example, an Engineering student working with a faculty member in Art and Design on a 3D printing project).  Or, some projects in another field may allow students to put into practice skills and theories they are learning (i.e. Psychology majors working on a Social Work project in a nursing home).  Think broadly about getting involved, but the best case scenario is a project where you will gain valuable experience in reaching your long term educational and career goals.

I’m a full-time student and am very busy. Can I set my research hours to fit my class schedule?

Research mentors are typically flexible when it comes to scheduling hours in the lab.  They understand that you are a student first.  However, a frank discussion about your availability with a potential mentor is important before any commitment is made.  It is generally recommended that you have 6-10 hours available per week for research activity.  For some projects, students are able to put in hours on the weekends or in the evening, and some have more restricted weekday hours available.  Be sure to ask.  It is typically best to plan a weekly schedule ahead of time and stick to it — just like a class!  Students have the best experiences when they are consistently committed.