Finding a Mentor

The Center for Undergraduate Research offers numerous tips for how to find a research mentor. The below ideas are taken from the Center’s website. The Center for Undergraduate Research is a great place to learn more about monetary awards, research workshops, and all things undergraduate research. In the spring of their senior year, Scholars present their research at the Global Scholars Symposium.

Think about your Interests

  • What have been some of your favorite classes?  What did you enjoy about them?
  • What topics would you like to study?
  • What types of research have you done in previous classes?
  • What did you like about this research, and what didn't you like?
  • What kinds of skills and knowledge would you like to develop? The Career Center might help you identify these skills.

Discuss Research Opportunities

Talk with your professors, advisors, and other undergraduate and graduate students in your department to gain a better understanding of what opportunities exist within your discipline.

  • Do undergraduate researchers often work in groups or individually?
  • Can you receive class credit for doing undergraduate research?
  • Are there paid undergraduate research positions?

Identify Potential Faculty Mentors

  • Read their online profile. Most departmental websites describe professors’ research interests and list recent articles.
  • Make sure they conduct research in your area of interest.

Email Potential Mentors

Introduce yourself and clearly indicate your purpose for emailing them. You should include the following:

  • Major/department affiliation
  • Research interests and relevant coursework and experience
  • Why are you interested in their specific laboratory

Be concise. A short paragraph is much more likely to be read than a two-page email.

If you are having trouble identifying mentors, please email mmward@ku.edu for assistance.


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