Faculty are encouraged to serve as mentors for Undergraduate Creative Activities and Research Experience projects. Learn about Christie Seyl's UCARE success story, the benefits of UCARE for students, and tips for faculty mentors.
UCARE Student Success Story
Christie Seyl is a psychology and biological sciences major from Overland Park, Kansas as well as a participant in the University Honors Program. Even as a sophomore in high school, she was interested in genetics, behavior, cognitive events, and mental health, while strongly considering a research career. At Nebraska, Christie received an Undergraduate Creative Activities and Research Experience award to conduct research under the mentorship of Debra Hope, Aaron Douglas Professor of Psychology.
The opportunity to work with human subjects and understand their narratives more deeply was transformative. “One of my most special moments as a researcher was when I ran my first participant for a study about affirming therapy for transgender and gender diverse people," said Seyl. "The participant seemed so excited to be a part of the study and to share their experiences. I felt incredibly connected to this participant, and this interaction helped solidify my desire to improve mental health outcomes for LGBTQA+ individuals.”
After graduating, Seyl intends to earn a graduate degree in clinical psychology and have an impact through conducting research on the mental health disparities experienced by transgender and gender diverse people. “[Undergraduate research] gave me an early look into what my career might look like. It also provided me a space to reflect on what I was learning through my program and to connect with other young researchers.” She also looks forward to mentoring prospective scientists in her career.
UCARE Benefits for Students
Have you been approached by a student who, like Christie, is bright, curious, and excited for the opportunity to participate in research alongside you?
Students who engage in undergraduate research typically gain:
- a deeper understanding of how Nebraska’s research innovations contribute to solving global challenges.
- career-relevant experience in goal setting, problem solving, critical thinking, ethical awareness, information literacy, as well as writing, presentation, and networking skills.
- a sense of connection and community with research team members, including faculty, staff, graduate students, and other undergraduate researchers.
- improved knowledge of future career and graduate-study options.
- greater self-awareness and confidence in pursuing academic, professional, and personal goals.
UCARE funding is available to sophomores, juniors, and seniors in any major or field of study who have a minimum 2.75 cumulative GPA. This opportunity allows students to propose an original research or creative project, through which they will gain hands-on, practical training while building a relationship with a faculty mentor. Projects may be individual or team based, with team projects allowing up to three students to participate together on a single research proposal or creative activity.
UCARE students will also create and present a research poster or creative exhibit for events like the Spring Student Research Days or the Summer Research Symposium. In addition to receiving a $2,400 stipend, UCARE students may also apply for additional travel funds to present their research or creative work at a regional or national conference.
UCARE Tips for Faculty
Faculty mentors play a vital role in the undergraduate research experience, providing guidance and inspiration while nurturing the researcher’s critical thinking skills and increased self-confidence.
Key responsibilities for faculty UCARE mentors are:
- Maintain a presence on campus or in the field while students are working on their research.
- Provide timely feedback to students concerning their progress.
- Help students complete the benchmarks as outlined in the Undergraduate Research Agreement.
- Encourage students to participate in UCARE-sponsored events.
- Assist students with posters for the Spring Student Research Days or the Summer Research Symposium.
Prospective faculty can review mentor guidelines and submit project topics to the research experiences directory on the UCARE website.
UCARE accepts applications annually between mid-November and mid-February. Applications for the next UCARE funding cycle are now available. Students submit a written proposal to conduct a research or creative project under the guidance of a faculty mentor, and they may choose to conduct these projects in the following summer, academic year, or both. For projects in summer 2023 and academic year 2023-2024, the application deadline is Feb. 15, 2023.
Faculty and students can review and discuss guidelines and tips for successful research proposal writing together and contact the UCARE team with questions at email@example.com.
More details at: https://ucare.unl.edu/