Doing Undergraduate Research in Biology is one of the best ways to help yourself mature as a biologist and become as competitive as possible for jobs, graduate school and professional programs. Moreover, Undergraduate Research is almost certainly the single greatest strength of the UWW Dept. of Biological Sciences and one of the major strengths of the University generally. Thus it is well supported financially and there are tremendous opportunities available--opportunities you should take advantage of.
What does Undergraduate Research in Biology involve?
The range of projects is as wide as the range of interests of the faculty and students, but the process is similar across Biology. Typically, a student approaches a Professor he/she is interested in working with and they come up with a mutually agreeable project (initially, the student may do some volunteering in the Professor's laboratory to gain some basic skills and get a sense of their own interests). Usually, the student will then write one or more short grants to support the research. Our students usually apply to UWW's Undergraduate Research Program for grants of $500, more if they involve international travel or the student is enrolled in a Biology Honors Emphasis. $500-$1000 supplements are also now available, just to Biology students, for more expensive projects. Many of our students also apply for BBB grants. In fact, our students have been so successful that BBB changed the rules to limit the number of grants going to a single school! Students usually sign up for 1-3 Biology 498 credits (499 for Honors Thesis students) while they conduct the research.
Presenting Your Research at a Conference
UW-Whitewater Undergraduate Researchers normally submit an abstract to the NCUR or UW-System Undergraduate Research conference; if accepted, the UWW Undergraduate Research program pays their travel expenses to present their work! Recent NCUR meetings have been in Maryland, California and North Carolina. If an Undergraduate Researcher also accompanies their mentor to present at a discipline-specific meeting, this travel too may be funded, by the UWW College of Letters and Sciences. Our students have presented at Animal Behavior, Botany, Evolution, and Neuroscience meetings, among others.
Publishing Your Research
Increasingly, our students are publishing their research with their mentors. Our students have published in Behavioural Brain Research, Biology of Reproduction, Experimental Biology and Medicine, Nature, and other prestigious journals. If you start your Undergraduate Research early in your time at UWW, even as a freshman, you will have a better chance of being published. A publication is a tremendous asset for any post-graduate applications.
There are often opportunities to continue your research in the summer, for pay and/or credit, on the UWW campus. Ask your mentor about these. There are also numerous opportunities to participate in summer programs at other campuses; many of these are described in links from the Biology Internship page.
New Atomic Force Microscope
UW-Whitewater enhances its nanotechnology capabilities by acquiring state-of-art, fully equipped Bruker-Veeco Dimension Icon Atomic Force Microscope with ScanAsyst.