UROP represents an opportunity to support student-centered education that makes the most of CU Boulder’s global leadership in research and creative production.
Donations support student-faculty partnerships in all fields of study. We invite you to read the testimonials here, explore our website and connect with us as you have questions.
Our campus has an expansive history of undergraduate engagement dating to the creation of the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP) in 1986. A significant body of scholarship has emerged and continues to demonstrate the value of connecting students to the academic and creative life of the campus—and global community of scholars. With well-documented benefits from persistence and resilience to belonging and graduation, engagement can be transformative—and empowering for marginalized students.
The university’s commitment to anti-racism cornerstones our programming, and we are well-positioned to contribute to long-term goals of diversity, equity and inclusion. The funding provided by UROP is critical to ensuring equitable access for marginalized students by eliminating one of the most significant barriers to participation: funding. Your support also helps ensure their identities are reflected in the academic community by providing pathways for historically minoritized students to enter faculty ranks. We encourage you to read our commitment to social justice to learn more about our efforts.
UROP was so helpful, and I truly couldn't have had this experience without their financial help. My research position was unpaid, so having funding from UROP gave me the opportunity to be able to carry out the project in another country—and enjoy my experience while there!
I am so excited to have had this opportunity and really appreciate the doors it has opened for me. It’s not just about the research but also about networking with great minds in a field you are interested in—while bridging the gap between coursework and real-world applications.
I would recommend UROP to other students interested in doing undergraduate research. I found it a superb opportunity to work with my mentor and the rest of the lab to design and carry out a project with the flexibility necessary to allow for effective and interesting science. A fundamental part of research is failure, brainstorming, and troubleshooting—all of which the UROP grant allowed me to grapple with as my project took unexpected twists and turns.
I would absolutely recommend the UROP to others! I am extremely thankful to have had this opportunity, so I could participate in the research process, conduct my own experiments and gain a deep appreciation for the scientific method. My entire experience was very valuable, as now I have grown confidence in conducting my own research, reviewing relevant research literature, critically evaluating research methods and results and synthesizing evidence to formulate results.
I was impressed with how streamlined the whole process was. There were no major hurdles to apply, which was a huge help during the school year. I will definitely recommend it to my friends!
I have had a really wonderful experience with UROP, and am so grateful for the funding that it has provided me to work this summer. It has empowered me in so many ways and helped me develop skills important in my field.
UROP was a great place to start in my pursuit of conducting research. It gave me the means as well as the freedom to explore a topic I am passionate about and has allowed me to gain my first bit of research experience for the future.
Excerpts from Summer 2022 Student's Final Survey
This experience has been positively transformative for me! I genuinely don't think I've ever felt so excited about my academic path. My mentor and his graduate students created an amazing experience for me. This summer reinforced that research is something I want to do for the rest of my life. I've grown as a scientist and a collaborator—and learned to think outside the box.
My mentor always makes me feel valued and included. She encourages me to learn and does not make me feel bad when I struggle. She is an amazing role model both in the lab and in her personal life. I also love the fieldwork component of my research. It helps me see how the work applies and why it matters, which is important to me in a job.
My mentor was extremely helpful with engaging me throughout the semester and made sure that I was able to learn. His approach is more hands-off, which lets me learn as I did more things, but if there were more complex issues, he would offer advice.
Working with my mentor was amazing! He was the first mentor I have ever had, and it was a great experience. He never left my side when I needed help and allowed me to learn many things.
This experience helped me figure out where I want to go professionally.
My mentor’s passion for group unity provided a safe space to grow as an academic in a diverse community. Every part of the project from real experience in astrophysics research to graduate school advice and getting familiar with the daily life of a professor has been beyond valuable.
The most valuable part of working with my mentor was feeling respected and valued on this team. I really appreciate how he is welcoming of all, and how he sees mistakes as a way to learn—not a reason to yell at someone.
My mentor is very kind and approachable. I always feel I can come to her with questions.
Working with the iGEM team has been an amazing experience! I appreciated the opportunity to learn from others and work in a great environment!!
My mentor was always enthusiastic to help everyone develop their ideas and worked with them to ensure that they could effectively express their knowledge and abilities within the group.
Excerpts from Summer 2022 Team Member's Final Survey
The most valuable part of my experience was the hands-on experience working with proteins because I now have a clearer understanding of what future research could look like.
I like being surrounded by students who were willing to support me in the lab. Many of the graduate students would put down their work to help me with mine.
This was such an incredible opportunity to participate in an honors thesis and receive funding. As a self-supporting student, I typically work 2-3 jobs. Had it not been for the financial support, I'm not sure I would have been able to devote the time. Because of this project, I decided to pursue graduate school and was accepted into the Speech-Language Pathology program at CU!
The identification of parasites was initially challenging, but my mentor always encouraged me. It was this encouragement that motivated me, and my passion for parasitology grew stronger in the marine ecology field. This is a testament to how a good supervisor and work environment can positively impact those that are in uncharted territory.
My experience taught me that adaptability and resilience are crucial qualities to possess, not just in research projects but also in life. Being able to adjust to new circumstances and setbacks, while maintaining a positive outlook is essential to achieving success.
The lab fostered an environment where I could work independently while still being confident in the development of new skills. When collaborating with other students and discussing my research with them, I felt like questions were always welcome, no matter how simple they seemed. Overall, this experience confirmed my interest in science and my interest in pursuing lab work as a career.
The most valuable part of this experience was the connections that I made with others in the field—and the friendships that will go beyond work. I got to work with some incredible people from many different backgrounds and I learned a lot about life, work, and everything else.
Having to work on a project for ten months without many hard deadlines. I learned how to manage a project of this scale and prioritize my work.
The most valuable part of this experience was being able to share my work with others in the field, which, in turn, has led to many other great opportunities.
I really enjoyed the opportunity to do a project that brought into play my interdisciplinary interests. It made me confident that I can produce high quality academic work.
This project allowed me to really understand how passionate I am about research and parasites—and encouraged me to begin thinking about getting my doctorate. I learned many valuable skills from doing this project, including presentation/public speaking skills, scientific writing, and more.
I am extremely grateful to be able to participate in this program and look forward to helping with my mentor’s project in the summer with the further help of UROP.
I am very grateful for the opportunities UROP has provided. I learned that I love the discovery process and sharing my results: doing the thesis program and being able to focus solely on it because of UROP has helped me clarify what I want out of my career in the future.
Receiving the UROP grant really excited me and pushed me to continue my research. I learned so much from the research process that I never had the opportunity to do before and I feel like I gained so much knowledge.
I gained much more experience performing qualitative research working on this outside project than I could have hoped for within the regular undergraduate curriculum. The skills I developed have made me into not only a better researcher and student, but has also given me a better grasp of the variety of academic work in the world.
Excerpts from Academic Year 2022-23 Student's Final Survey
My mentor is always there when I need advice, and helped me with many different aspects of this project, including getting in touch with many professionals in our industry.
The most valuable part of this experience was learning the administrative part of research. Before this project, I had not realized that a research project requires a lot of professional conversations. With this project, I was able to learn how to navigate those interactions.
The most valuable part of the experience was working closely with the data to understand what kind of impact COVID-19 had on the mental health of individuals my age. This was valuable because I believe that destigmatizing mental health is important since it's so rampant during the transitionary period from high-school to college.
Working with my mentor has been one of the best aspects of attending CU Boulder. She has helped me understand the research process and given me multiple opportunities to hone skills that will be valuable in my future career.
This project gave me the ability to surround myself with many role models—including my mentor. It was extremely valuable to have so many individuals as resources so that I could ask questions and grow my skillsets. My mentor is always excited about her work and to involve her team members. She makes herself available as a resource to everyone at all times and is extremely understanding. She values hard work, dedication, as well as the mental health of her lab members—and always makes everyone feel comfortable.
At first, I didn't think I was cut out for research, but my mentor invited me to join her group and I figured it was an opportunity I couldn't refuse. As I learned about the graduate students' projects throughout the semester and took other research courses, I began to understand and appreciate data collection and analysis—and especially talking about my results with peers. My mentor was critical in guiding my research interests this year. It's an honor and a privilege to work under such a kind, strong, driven, and responsible female scientist. Overall, I found the experience of being given the time and space to explore my interests and follow in my mentor's footsteps an extremely valuable experience.
I learned that I can always learn more. Even if I'm fluent in a specific topic, there’s always more to learn and other experts to take experiences from.
Working with the specific group of students was a very different experience than anything I've ever been involved in. It introduced me to new parts of teaching that I never had dealt with before, such as trying to figure out how to manage a classroom of students that didn't always pay attention, and working with students from all sorts of different backgrounds. I have taken away so much knowledge from this experience and feel more confident as a teacher after spending time working with these students.
My mentor achieved a perfect balance between working with her research assistants while also providing them with opportunities to work with librarians and complete research tasks on their own. This balance between guidance and independence really helped me learn a lot and become more comfortable with the research process.
This project has been crucial to my development, and I would not feel prepared to teach without it.
As a first-year student, it provided very early experiences teaching multiple students in a classroom setting.
I learned an incredible amount of technique in developing and improving on cloning and recombinant DNA technologies. I feel that working with my team helped me develop critical thinking in designing experiments and understanding how synthetic biology techniques work beyond simply following a procedure.
Before I started work in my mentor's lab, I was coming out of two years of COVID, and my labs had digressed into on-line point-and-click projects that made me a bit disillusioned with my major. This project gave me the motivation and purpose I needed to find my joy in science again.
For me, the most valuable part of working with my mentor this year has been the leadership experience that he has bestowed upon me through my position as Chief RA of the project. Being Chief RA has not only helped me develop my leadership and management skills, but also boosted my confidence in both the work that I do and the type of person that I am. Working on the project has also helped confirm my fascination with human language and my desire to improve the efficacy of its use in psychological contexts.
Excerpts from Academic Year 2022-23 Team Member's Final Survey
An honors project is great. An honors project with grant support earned by the student—that offers a level of validation and a sense of accomplishment that is priceless!
I watched my mentee form relationships with families in the community, learn how to translate scientific concepts to non-scientists, and become a role model for their peers. I greatly enjoyed the opportunity to foster enthusiasm for science and research by mentoring.
This is the second UROP project I've been able to supervise, and it was a fantastic opportunity for my mentee. I can say without a doubt that the project would have been limited without UROP funding. I’m thankful and hope UROP is able to continue to support our students in this way.
I definitely plan to engage more with UROP! My mentee’s hard work over the past year led to a third-author paper!
Charles Wyatt Shields
UROP is a program central to identifying bright motivated students. Their initial training in our lab provides the first step to further research experiences.
My lab has had the absolute pleasure to work with multiple undergraduates throughout the summer—made possible by UROP funding. This was not only an invaluable experience for the UROP mentees to gain hands-on experience in the laboratory, but it also gave myself and the additional supervisors the opportunity to hone their mentoring skills.
The UROP program is critical to introducing students to research they would not otherwise be able to participate in. It is such an enabling program and has made a huge difference in my research.
My student gained invaluable experience in the laboratory and is looking forward to generating their own project over the course of the next academic year. UROP serves as an excellent pipeline to research for CU undergraduates!
Many UROP students go on to develop an honors thesis or scientific paper deriving from this opportunity, and the mentor benefits from the structure of the UROP program, which supports the student with resources to do the research and to develop an appreciation for the ethical decisions made every day by scientists.
Excerpts from Summer 2022 Mentor's Final Survey
UROP funding was especially valuable for the students and was critical to completing the research. The accessibility of the field sties was uncertain at the beginning of the project and the sampling plan needed to be modified. Rough terrain and accessibility to mountain streams caused the team to modify the sampling plan. The UROP students actively participated in discussing the best options for the project and how to execute them without jeopardizing safety and scientific integrity.
The Team Grant allowed the undergraduates to become independent in the laboratory and take ownership on several projects. These were their first experiences in a laboratory setting, and they will continue to work with myself and another PhD student during the academic year. Due to their summer productivity, both undergraduates will receive co-authorship on future conference presentations, if not potential manuscripts.
This was a really great experience. I liked the flexibility of being able to manage the money from my own research account and compensate students fairly for the 'grunt-work' of my research: transcribing. I had a nice experience with the undergraduate students and think it benefitted them in terms of summer pay and learning new skills. It benefitted me by keeping me on top of my research and, of course, I have transcripts now that I can use as data for future papers. I'm excited to continue my project with my school year UROP funds!
Exposing undergraduates to broad scientific research—critical data collection, state-of-the-art instrument, and potential supervisors—is invaluable and provides a great opportunity to refine their paths ahead. Collaboration with very thoughtful, enthusiastic, and energetic undergraduate research assistants also made our work a success!
UROP provides an opportunity for students to be compensated for their hard work and team contributions while exploring interests and gaining experience in their field of study.
UROP was a great way to bring in new members to our research lab, train emerging researchers and support the capacity of our team!
UROP allowed us to get the labelling and curation of an important grasshopper collection underway and provided the opportunity for the students to contribute to research and writing of a short article on this collection—and the people who made it.
The experience with UROP Team Grants is excellent, and I appreciate the surveys that are designed to assess outcomes. Students were recruited from underrepresented communities, and I expect that the team will continue to work together into next fall.
CU's iGEM team is made possible with UROP's continued support!
Excerpts from Summer 2022 Team Mentor's Final Survey
These opportunities make a big difference in our students’ preparedness for their professional careers.
I have absolutely loved working with UROP for the last three years. What a fantastic program!
Always a privilege to mentor a UROP scholar!
Angela Thieman Dino
Thanks for the support! It helped my mentee a ton, and allowed him to progress as a student! He's a co-author on a forthcoming paper, and is in the process of drafting another. Next year he'll be a PhD student in my lab!
This is a great program; keep it up!
I love this program. I think it provides a way for students (especially those who face financial challenges) to get involved in research and to really take ownership of their education.
Thank you for all you do! This is my third UROP student and it has been a great experience each time.
I think this is a great program and helps students gain research experience.
Watching students embrace the challenges and excitement involved in the research process is a highlight for me in my own research I do at CU.
It was an absolute pleasure to have my mentee in the lab. She accomplished her goals and more! I look forward to watching her becoming a star!
Excerpts from Academic Year 2022-23 Mentor's Final Survey
Hands-down one of the best possible experiences for undergraduates on campus! I cannot recommend it highly enough!! Thank you for all you do!
We could not run this program without the support of the UROP team grant. This was by far the best year of the program in terms of programming, showcasing of work, and class participation. I am looking forward to using things I learned this year and making an even better program next year.
I absolutely love the UROP Program. It has provided a source of support to increase the participation of underrepresented students in STEM in my laboratory. They become full members of our group and empowered to conduct independent research. I am happy to support this program in any way that I can and am grateful to have received support from it for my students.
I definitely recommend it as this program offers the opportunity for mentors, students, and communities to develop projects that center learning, research, and creativity.
It was so wonderful to work with students who were compensated for their labor on this project I have been meaning to pursue for years.
I've really appreciated the support of UROP, and how the program supports creative projects in the arts like our program.
The project was highly successful. Students were actively engaged throughout the whole project and worked together as a team. The collaboration that I saw emerge from the student work sessions was a particular strength of the project. The project also provided students with experiences that provided the impetus for some of the team members to pursue their own independent UROP projects.
The iGEM team and research that has spun out of it was not possible without UROP support!
Excerpts from Academic Year 2022-23 Team Mentor's Final Survey