Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate students conducting lab researchChBE students who perform laboratory research learn valuable lab skills, independent thinking, design of experiments, and boost their resumes. There are numerous opportunities, as detailed below.

Research for Pay

  1. Discovery Learning Apprenticeship Program (DLA) - Students may also find a research position through application to the College of Engineering's DLAP.
  2. Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) - Students may apply for financial assistance through UROP; the UROP office is located in Norlin S430, and their phone number is 303.492.2596. 
  3. Bioscience Undergraduate Research Skills and Training (BURST) program - The BSI office is in Porter B058, and the phone number is 303.492.8230.
  4. National Institute of Standards & Technology Professional Research Experience Program (NIST PREP) - Fellowships are awarded for students to work in NIST labs. GPA > 3.0.
  5. Faculty - Some faculty have research grants specifically designed to support undergraduates.
  6. REU's (Research Experiences for Undergraduates) - these programs can be found throughout the world. Here at CU, the Colorado Center for Biorefining and Biofuels (C2B2) works in collaboration with the National Science Foundation to offer a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) summer program. The C2B2 program provides students with the opportunity to work at one of the four partnered institutions including the federal National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Colorado School of Mines, the University of Colorado at Boulder and Colorado State University. The video below captures student work and opinions from the Summer 2010 C2B2/NSF REU program.
     

Class Credit

Please see more on Senior Thesis and Independent Study on the Undergraduate Opportunities webpage.
 

Volunteering in the Lab

Even if no paying positions are available and class credit is not an option, volunteering in the lab can still provide valuable experience. This is especially true for freshmen, sophomores or those with little to no research or work experience.

Undergraduate researchers

  1. Talk to upperclassmen about their research experiences.
  2. Peruse the Research by Area webpage and determine which research areas are of interest to you.
  3. After determining a research area, read more about the ChBE professors working in that area by clicking on their names. To later demonstrate your depth of knowledge, read the abstract/introduction of one of two of their papers.
  4. If possible, talk to graduate students working in the labs of interest to you. Learn more about their projects and whether or not there is need for an undergraduate researcher.
  5. To increase your desirability, apply for funding through DLA, UROP, BURST, or NIST PREP (see "Opportunities" tab for details on these programs).
  6. Meet with Career Services to polish up your resume.
  7. Send an email with your resume to the professor(s) of interest. Indicate why you would like to work in his or her lab, whether or not you have DLA/UROP/BURST funding, and whether or not you would consider starting out without pay. Ask to schedule a short appointment.
  8. If desired, follow up a few days later with another email or office visit to quickly introduce yourself. Do not be discouraged if multiple follow-ups are required.