For eight weeks this summer, 12 C3 Undergraduate Fellows joined 20 other summer research program participants from across the country to experience graduate level research at Columbia University and UC Berkeley. The focus of Columbia’s Summer Research Program (SRP) and Berkeley’s Summer Research Opportunity Program is for students to conduct a research project under the guidance of a faculty mentor and a graduate student mentor. In addition, the fellows participated in weekly seminars, workshops, and group events; got insider knowledge and preparation for the graduate school application process; and took a GRE preparation course.
The summer culminated in an exciting opportunity for the C3 fellows to present their research with other undergraduate students also participating in summer research programs at Columbia and Berkeley. In welcoming visitors to Columbia’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Summer Research Program Symposium, Dean Carlos J. Alonso noted that research is not an individual effort. Rather, research is inherently a social process, complete only when communicated and tested with a broader audience. Dean Alonso’s remarks speak to the contributions the faculty and graduate student mentors have made to the fellows’ learning and growth.
Eileen Lam, a senior at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, echoes this sentiment. She said, “I’ve come in contact with a lot of great graduate student mentors and faculty. It was a little surprising because when I think about graduate school, I had this idea that everyone is busy with research and they’re not approachable. I thought it was really cool that faculty here take their time to talk with you and help you figure out your future. It shows that they hire great faculty who really care about their students.”
Manuel Poitras, C3’s Program and Research Associate, attended the symposia at both Columbia and UC Berkeley. He was amazed by the quality of the research the students produced and how well they presented their findings. “It’s exciting to think about the future of these emerging scholars,” he said.
One C3 fellow is likewise eager for what his future holds. He said, “Before I got here, I was unsure about whether or not I’d be able to go to grad school. I wasn’t sure what the research would look like or how to conduct research. This program has given me more confidence to say to myself, ‘Okay, now I know what it looks like. I know I can do it.'”
Plans are already underway to prepare for the 2015 summer research program. Stay tuned for details on the 2015 edition of the C3 Undergraduate Fellowship.