Lucille flattening a leaf in hot water while realllyyyyy trying not to touch the water too much.

Hello all! I’m Lucille, a first year student in MRADS. You may also know me by several other names and pseudonyms, like “the goopiest gal this side of the Mediterranean,” “around seven small-to-medium-sized dogs in a very convincing trench coat,” or as “Lucy.” In this blog post (better known as bog posts), I’d like to talk about the main experience of MRADS: undergraduate research. It’s in the name!!!

What is research?

Well, the basic method of research is to: Have a question, gather evidence pertaining to that question, and make a conclusion based on that evidence.

The major differences between the fields and specialties of research are what questions will be asked and how we can gather the evidence. Labs may use literature review, computer analytical approaches, wet lab tactics, and many more methods to gather evidence. 

This does not mean that research disciplines are isolated, however. In fact, they are as connected as a worm on a string is to…another worm on a string? They must be tied together.Similarly, this does not mean that the disciplines are static in their methodologies, either. The ever-evolving and interconnected nature of research allows significant creativity and innovation. Currently, I'm looking at leaves!!! With a computer!!! But soon, the specter of ANIMATED ISOMY- ALLEVIATED ILLNES-APPLE INCORP-

Machine learning. It will  soon look at leaves for me!!!

As part of MRADS, you will be automatically enrolled in UROP, the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program. To find a project, you will use UROP’s project book (and possibly other, more… secretive methods…) and, come time, apply to projects to your heart’s content! Or at least limit! There are so many projects available, and not only just in STEM, but also the social sciences and humanities. Similarly, there are so many ways different labs engage with research. Some people can even do research entirely virtual!

Through MRADS (and UROP but we have to sound cooler than them), you will get an immediate first year research experience (ooh fancy!!), which will lead to a better understanding of the fields you may be interested in, connections to UofM faculty and other researchers, and either credit or work study fulfillment! That sure sounds like a good deal to me!

Not only that, but MRADS is so awesome and top-tier that we offer resume and cover letter building, project searching, and reaching-outing workshops to help you along the way! You’ll also have the support of a Peer Advisor and Peer Mentor who have done this same process before, as well as MRADS’ Director Dr. Simon, MRADS’ Associate Director Dr. J’, AND MRADS’ Research Engagement Student Coordinator, Grant Mullins, who are all wonderful people to talk to and receive support from.

It can still be challenging to acquire a project. The way faculty choose their undergraduates is subjective, and it speaks nothing on your part if you don’t get in the first project you want. You will get a project that you’ll enjoy, and you have all of MRADS by your side. When you’re applying, I really suggest having emails and cover letters ready before the project book opens. I got sick the day before the project book opened and didn't have my materials ready, which definitely caused some significant stress. But, I still managed to get an amazing project that I really love. 

At the end of the day, we’re all here to do research.