One of the most crucial aspects of any UROP is the relationship formed between a student and their mentor. Mentors are much more than just research supervisors. They can also serve as invaluable sources of knowledge, insight, and support, and can help open new doors when it comes to considering possibilities for your future. Here are just some of the things you’ll gain from working with a UROP mentor:
- Learn how research works. Whether you’ve already spent time in a lab or are completely new to the experience, during your UROP you’ll work side-by-side with your mentor to understand – and engage in – many different aspects of the research process.
- Prepare for graduate school. Many UROP mentors are graduate students, and eager to share their insights and experiences. Their perspective, and the things you learn working with them in the lab, can provide a valuable leg up when it comes time to research and apply to graduate programs.
- Build your research skills. Your mentor will provide you with exposure to and training in broad research principles, as well as the opportunity to develop discipline specific skills.
- Develop communication and collaboration skills. By making you part of a cross-functional research team, your mentor will help you build interpersonal communication and collaboration skills that serve you long after your UROP is complete. Your mentor may also provide opportunities to present your work to faculty and other students.
- Explore a field of inquiry. With your mentor as your guide, every UROP is a chance to explore different interests and passions, which can help guide your thinking when it comes time to consider different graduate school or career paths.
- Expand your professional network and gain letter(s) of recommendation. During your UROP, you’ll collaborate closely with your mentor and other members of the research team, forming valuable connections that help you build a professional network and secure letters of recommendation for future endeavors. Your mentor may also invite you to participate in conferences, collaborations, and more!