I. Why should I be interested?
WSU-Vancouver labs perform world-class scientific research across a variety of disciplines in the natural sciences, which is unusual for a smaller campus. It’s a great opportunity for WSU-Vancouver students to get involved! Some of the most important skills for future scientists cannot be taught in big lecture halls or even in lab courses. These skills, especially skills for conducting cutting-edge research, are best learned through close mentoring relationships, and through an experiential science that provides the opportunity to try research and learn from mistakes. However, students’ time as undergraduates can fly by, especially for transfer students, and students can easily miss connecting with the WSUV research community before they graduate.
The Science Scholars Program aims to provide WSUV undergraduates with a mentored research experience in the natural sciences, including Biology, Environmental Science, Neuroscience, and Mathematics. The program’s goal is to provide academically strong and highly motivated undergraduates with a research experience for one or more semesters to cultivate skills that will prepare them for a career in science.
II. What does the program involve?
• The Science Scholars website includes a list of campus research opportunities available each semester. Here, campus researchers post opportunities undergraduates can apply to.
• Students will gain research experience in a mentor’s laboratory. Most students will participate in regular weekly meetings of the laboratory’s research staff.
• The time commitment for this program depends on the individual and the mentoring lab, but we’ve found that students that are able to spend more time in their labs generally do better and get more from the experience. Students should expect to spend at 6-12 hours focused on research in a typical week, though some students may choose to pursue research more intensively over the summer, and commit less time to research during the school year or during exams.
• Opportunities list whether undergraduates can earn units, volunteer, or earn an hourly wage, depending on the individual opportunity. Some opportunities are specifically directed toward students who have been awarded Federal Workstudy funds.
• During monthly Science Scholar Socials, students will be given instruction in the process of science, approaches to choosing research questions, completing a project, and presenting their work. We will also have guest speakers talk about their careers in science and how to apply to graduate or professional schools.
• Students will be encouraged to take supporting coursework in natural sciences coursework to provide the most relevant foundational information for conducting their research.