UR@UWM gives incoming freshmen a taste of research

At many universities, undergrad students don’t do much research — that’s reserved for the grad students. But at UWM, students can get involved in meaningful research much earlier, as soon as the summer before their freshman years.

This year, 27 incoming freshmen were accepted into the 11th summer of the UR@UWM program, hosted by the Office of Undergraduate Research. Students were paired with one of 17 research projects, each with a faculty research mentor. Here they get their first taste of research culture at a university level.

Students spent between 25 and 30 hours a week doing research or fieldwork over the course of a month. Participants attend a seminar twice a week to discuss research articles, ethics and scientific literacy.

The UR@UWM program has offered a variety of hands-on training techniques in a laboratory setting where students work closely with postdocs, graduate students, faculty and other undergraduate researchers.

“It’s really useful for students who might be interested in doing research to get a foot in the door and get the process started early,” said Karyn Frick, UWM professor of psychology and one of this year’s research mentors. “They can accumulate enough experience where, by the end of their undergraduate years, they’re doing important things like presenting work at a national or international conference and getting to be authors on publications, which, for graduate applications, are the gold standard.”