MU Office of Undergraduate Research announces 2019-2020 internships, hosts informational session

Potential applicants learned about the application process and received tips to improve their applications.
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Students gathered around a discussion table, notes in hand, ready to learn about research opportunities available to them. These were research opportunities that could impact their career and the future of science.

The MU Office of Undergraduate Research announced its 2019-2020 research internships and hosted an informational session for prospective student applicants to the Life Sciences Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program on Monday Jan. 28.

There are two programs that students can apply for: a summer program and an academic year program.

Jennifer Brown, assistant director for the Office of Undergraduate Research, believes that students should begin their research experience early in their career.

“Research experience for undergraduates is a really great way to organize information in their minds and figure out how much they are learning and how much they are just memorizing,” Brown said. “Research experience [opens] so many doors. It gives you an opportunity to view things in different ways.”

Brown provided students with tips to strengthen their application. She suggested that students apply to multiple research opportunities so that they have options to choose from if they are accepted.

“Always apply,” Brown said. “Don’t ever be afraid that you’re not going to get in. At worst, you don’t get in, but you gain the experience of filling out an application so that when the next time comes, you already have a starting point.”

Brown said she began her first research experience as an undergraduate and had the chance to present her research. She said she was very nervous before presenting, but she left feeling accomplished.

“Research was what helped me to figure out where I fit when I was an undergrad,” Brown said. “I found my voice doing research. Doing research and [having] the opportunity to feel like an expert on something helped me gain so much confidence.”

Brown also explained the importance of failure in research.

“You have to fail a lot in research,” Brown said. “Growing up, [...] I didn’t have resilience, I didn’t know how to come back doing things wrong. In my research experience, I gained resilience. Doing research really helped me gain valuable lessons from failure.”

Junior Becca Winkler has been researching carbohydrate partitioning in maize, which is the study of how sugar moves through the plant when a corn plant goes through photosynthesis. She plans on applying for the summer research internship.

“I have always wanted to do science, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” Winkler said. “Coming to Mizzou, I figured that doing research is the way to figure out what I wanted to do. I still don’t know, but I have a better idea. [I’m excited about] continuing the research that I’m already doing.”

According to the Office of Undergraduate Research, application packets must include a project proposal, a personal statement, a student academic profile, faculty mentor information form and letters of recommendation.

However, an additional statement must be included by students whose majors are not life sciences majors. They must explain how their research project relates to life sciences.

The Office of Undergraduate Research plans to fund 10 students for each program. The application deadline is Feb. 18.

Edited by Emily Wolf | ewolf@themaneater.com

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