Published: Sept. 22, 2016
Nick Zyzda reads at Norlin Library

CU Boulder’s rank as a tier-one research university holds merit with both faculty and students.

Case in point: CU Boulder senior Nick Zyzda, who began working on his ambitious Germanic and Slavic Languages and Literatures research project, “Madness and Science in Georg Buchner’s Lenz,” this past summer with CU Boulder professor and mentor Dr. Arne Höcker.

As Nick quickly realized, such scholarly work is a time-intensive endeavor. In order to conduct a high-caliber level of research, Nick began his initial research process with six-hour day sessions in the library—all summer long.

In order to fund the project, Nick collaborated with the team behind CU Boulder’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) to receive an individual grant for his unique project.

“I heard about UROP through a friend who had been a part of the program. It seemed like a cool thing to look into, and once I got accepted, I was able to receive an individual grant. This allowed me to spend my entire summer devoted to researching my thesis project,” Nick stated.     

However, the best part of the experience was the experience itself. Nick was able to gain a first-hand account of the rigor and diligent work required of a PhD student and professor, as well as find his place in the university.

“This was a tremendous opportunity to do research in such a fulfilling and academic way,” Nick explained. “Similar to an internship in business, I got to experience what it was like to be a professor, where I did research full time and did not have to have a side job in order to get by. It really gave me insight into choosing a PhD as a potential career path, and I learned that I actually enjoy the research process.”

What differentiates UROP from many other research-support programs in the state is its high emphasis on researching both the sciences and the arts. Students and faculty in film studies, classics and music are just as encouraged to establish their own unique research endeavors through UROP as students and faculty in geological sciences, physics and environmental engineering.

Aside from individual grant funding, UROP also offers assistantships, team grants, development grants and conference funding. More information about their programs and opportunities are available at

As for Nick, this experience provided definite insight into his future intentions. His next steps? Aside from some well-deserved travelling (potentially to Germany!), he’s using his research experience with UROP to apply to graduate programs.