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Getting Started: Step by Step Guide

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Getting Started: Step by Step Guide
Getting Started PDF

STEP 1 - DETERMINE YOUR ELIGIBILITY:

There is no minimum GPA or Honors Program status required to participate in CURO.

All undergraduates are eligible, provided they…

  1. are currently enrolled in, or have completed, HONS 1000H

    or
  1. have earned 15 residence (not transfer or AP) hours & have faculty approval* (as indicated by a signature on the application for a research course).
     

*Faculty may have their own requirements. CURO will not ask faculty members to amend their requirements.

STEP 2 – CHOOSE THE BEST STARTING POINT

  1. Make certain you are eligible.
  2. For students with diverse interests or a desire to learn more about the basics regarding research, before committing to a multiple credit hour course, we recommend the Gateway Seminars.
  3. For eligible students who have not identified a mentor with whom to work, please see STEP 3.
  4. For a student who has identified and secured a mentor, please complete the CURO Research Course application.

STEP 3 – WHAT CAN I RESEARCH?

A student may pursue research in any field! Each student should, however, carefully consider his or her interests, passions, and academic and career goals. Interests should lead a student to mentors, and mentors should help that student better understand how to explore those interests further.

STEP 4 – FIND A MENTOR (if you meet eligibility requirements)

Mentors play an invaluable role in guiding undergraduates through the research experience. In fact, it is impossible to pursue research for academic credit through CURO without a faculty mentor. Therefore, students should begin their research experience by identifying a mentor. 

CURO recommends using one or more of the following resources to identify potential mentors.

  • Search for a research topic on the UGA homepage

    Use the search box and type in a department name, faculty member name, and/or research topic.
  • Review faculty profiles on departmental web sites

    Faculty members typically list their research interests (publications, lab page links, CVs, etc.) on their departmental web profiles.
  • If you are interested in research in the sciences, brows the interdisciplinary research clusters and research listing on the UGA Integrated Life Sciences page. 

  • If you are interested in research in engineering search College of Engineering opportunites here.

  • Look for opportunities advertised by faculty on the CURO "Research Opportunities" page: https://curo.uga.edu/students/research_opportunities

  • Use the Faculty Research Expertise Database (FRED), a searchable electronic database of information on research interests of more than 5,000 UGA faculty. It is used by faculty, students, and industry scientists to find:

    • Information on faculty expertise by key word

    • Links to faculty webpages and email addresses

    • Information on sponsored project awards: project title, funding agency, project amount and other project investigators

  • Search the CURO Symposium Books of Abstracts

    For each student who presented at a CURO Symposium, you will find:
    • the student’s name
    • the research mentor’s name and department
    • a 250-word abstract outlining the specifics of the student’s research
       
  • Search the CURO Summer Fellowships Books of Abstracts

    For each CURO Summer Research Fellow, you will find:
    • the student's name
    • the research mentor’s name and department
    • a 500-word abstract outlining the specifics of the student’s research

STEP 5 – CONTACT POTENTIAL MENTOR(S)

It is perfectly acceptable to use email to make initial contact with faculty members. We recommend using the following professional approach:

  • Use your UGA Mail email account
  • Include a professional salutation (i.e. “Dear Professor or Dr._________”)
  • Clearly identify:
    • your name
    • your class year
    • why you are writing
    • your desire to meet with the mentor to discuss his/her research
    • a week’s worth of specific days and times when you can meet with the faculty member (be sure to check the faculty member’s posted office hours first)

Remember that the goal of contacting any potential mentor is to schedule an appointment to meet (see STEP 6), not to simply exchange emails.

Be patient enough to give faculty time to respond but be prepared to send a second email (and beyond) and remain persistent enough to follow up as necessary.

STEP 6 – MEET WITH POTENTIAL MENTOR(S)

Once you have set up an appointment to meet with a potential mentor, make certain to be respectful of the faculty member's time. Should you have to cancel or reschedule the appointment, please contact the faculty member as early as possible.

When you meet with a mentor, you should keep several things in mind:

  1. The best questions you can ask are: "What, in layman's terms, do you research?"; "How do you do that type of research?"; and "Why do you do this research?"
  2. You are there to listen as much as you are there to speak. Research mentors have a passion for their research, which they can articulate to you. But you must be willing to listen, ask questions, and seek to better understand what they research.
  3. Learning why a research mentor researches what they do, and how they do it, is as important as what they do.
  4. Mentoring is about academic, professional and personal development. To best mentor someone you have to know their goals, in the immediate and the long term. Be prepared to discuss your goals and ask how your involvement in the research can help you achieve those goals.
  5. What is the mentor's philosophy of mentoring undergraduates? When you meet with a potential mentor, be certain to ask, “Have you ever mentored undergraduate students pursuing research? If so, how would you describe your mentoring style?”
  6. What are mentor's expectations for those he or she mentors? What level of commitment would he or she expect from you? Successful mentoring requires commitment from both parties. Responsibility does not lie with the mentor alone.

STEP 7 – CURO RESEARCH = CURO RESEARCH COURSE

Once you have found a mentor, you should review the information provided regarding CURO Research Courses together. Only research pursued through a CURO Research or Thesis Course is "CURO research."

STEP 8 – PURSUING THE RESEARCH FOR ACADEMIC CREDIT

You can pursue your research for academic credit by submitting an application for a CURO Research Course.

Please review the application with your mentor.