Ted Tarkow, Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Science and director of the Undergraduate Research Mentorship Program, talks lovingly of the hundreds of students he has watched blossom into successful researchers throughout the history of the twelve-year-old program, and he reminisces about how it all began: “A group of us had thought for quite some time that anything we could do for bright and talented undergraduates to show the interconnection between research and teaching would enrich their undergraduate program of study. We thought also that by taking highly productive faculty and having them be mentors of really bright students, their own research agendas would be enhanced.” That was the goal. It was a win-win proposition. And the results have been dramatic.
The Arts and Science Undergraduate Research Mentorship Program, begun in 1994, aims to support undergraduate participation in faculty research. Students in the program have the chance to be immersed in a research career and learn that “good research, good creativity, and good teaching go hand in glove.”
The duration of each project varies depending upon the discipline and the student’s background, and the Undergraduate Research Mentorship Program allows for such individualization of research projects.
“The program has evolved, when all is said and done, very insignificantly. We’ve taken what we think is a good idea and built on it…. We’re still dealing with talented faculty working with talented students in ways that show the interconnectivity of research and teaching.”
Beyond the invaluable learning experience, successful student applicants are also awarded stipends (ranging from $500 to $3,000) to support their research.