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Mentored Research

Mentored Research can be among the most meaningful learning experiences of your undergraduate education. It involves working directly with a faculty member on a specific research project. Faculty members in the Biology Department mentor students on a broad array of topics related to Biodiversity and Conservation. It is not uncommon for our students to graduate having completed a number of research projects and presented these at academic conferences, and a final peer reviewed publication.

Importance of Mentored Research

The coursework required for a Biodiversity and Conservation Biology major will provide a robust and broad theoretical foundation to understand Organismal Biology, Ecology, and Evolution. Engaging this theoretical foundation more deeply is best done through an individual research project catered to your specific interests and guided by a faculty mentor. The types of research are as varied as the students interests and the diverse research foci of our faculty. These research experiences will help you deepen your understanding of biological principles while simultaneously building a strong resume. Together these will enable you to be successful, whether your pathway leads you to professional school, graduate programs, government work or even career not directly related to biology.

Getting Involved

We strongly encourage all of our majors to get started with mentored research as soon as they are able. The first step is to find what sparks your curiosity and find a professor who shares it. Professors have dedicated a large part of their lives to research, and enjoy few things more than passing their skills and passion to new students. Most professors are extremely busy, so spend some time reading up on their research before you contact them. A little preparation goes a long way, and it pays to be proactive and put forth the initial effort.


Not all labs will have immediate funding to support all the interested undergraduates. However, Mentored Research (Bio494R) or Introduction to Mentored Research (Bio194) are excellent ways to get started in a lab. Often a professor will eventually pay students helping them with research. In some rare cases, professors don't provide financial compensation. One remedy is the College Undergraduate Research Awards (CURA). These are grants given exclusively to undergraduate students to help foster and encourage research. More information is available at