Many students know that they want to conduct research, but sometimes have trouble finding what type of research they are truly interested in conducting. It can be frustrating and scary for students to embark on a research that they know nothing about. So here are a few tips to help you search for what you are passionate about.
How to find research opportunities
- Go on the wisc.edu page, and click on different departments to see what type of research is being conducted.
- Discovery portal on wisc.edu has a clean and organized list of all campus research according to subject and department.
- You do not need to be 100 percent sure about what you want to research in. Sometimes getting into a lab and realizing you do not enjoy that research can be enlightening. Take risks, and give opportunities that come your way a chance. You might discovery something new that interests you.
How to use Discovery portal
- Go to the link of the discovery portal.
- Click on “Start Search” in the middle of the page.
- In the search bar, type in the specific area of research you are interested in. For example, “genetics”.
- There will be a list of various faculty working on research in that specific area of study. Use the “how to email a professor” on the undergraduate page, under advice, to formulate an email.
- Use the organization example above to keep track of your email and faculty members.
Start with your course list
- Look through your current classes within your major. You are majoring in that subject because it interests you, so look through your class list and mark down the ones that interest you the most.
- Find out if the professors teaching those classes are conducting research. If they are, read about some of what they have done and narrow down your list some more.
- Once you have a narrowed list, send out emails to meet with the PI’s to personally learn more about their work and gain insight into what you are most interested in.
Speak to fellow classmates (undergraduates, graduate mentors, etc.)
- Network with students or graduate students/TAs and ask about how they got into their labs.
- Ask classmates or TAs if you can tour their lab.
- Get involved in a STEM student org.
How to organize your search
Before beginning your search, it is helpful to start an Excel document to keep track of your list. Have a column for the name of the research, a quick summary, the primary investigator (PI), emails you have sent out and emails you have gotten back.
|Name of Research||Summary of Research||Primary Investigator (PI)||Emails Sent and Date||Email response and Date|