Undergraduate research experience can be an invaluable complement to taught courses for undergraduate students. It gives students a unique opportunity to experience research first-hand and provides skills, tools and confidence to enable you to research questions in your own areas of interest.
Paul has supervised a range of undergraduate research projects with students from different disciplines. Some students have been published their undergraduate research work in the peer reviewed literature. Others have generated results that were used by end-user groups in conservation practice and in public agencies. Finally, other undergraduate students’ project work has been covered by the popular media. Undergraduate researchers who join our research group are expected to be full contributing group members participating in lab meetings, collaborating with other researchers in the group, participating in discussions with conservation practitioners, etc.
Various mechanisms for supporting undergraduate research exist at UT. At different times, Paul has worked with students who have undertaken undergraduate research projects for course credit, for optional Honors credit, for payment and just for interest. Paul has also been involved in supervising undergraduate research projects through NIMBioS summer REU program. Each of these opportunities offers a different kind of experience and only some opportunities may be available at any given time.
Typically, there is a great demand from undergraduates for research experience. In order to be able to integrate students fully into our research group and offer them the type of research experience that we value, we have no choice but to be very selective. Preference goes to students who understand our research focus and are excited about the topics that we work on; who have undertaken relevant courses where they have a strong GPA and have displayed excellent creativity; who bring skills experiences and perspectives that will enrich our research group and who are interested in a longer and more meaningful research experience.