Paid undergraduate research positions hone skills, define careers
This summer, two teams of Bryant students, one working in the field of applied psychology, the other in microbiology, took advantage of an invaluable opportunity to build skills and conduct research alongside their professors. The paid research positions were offered as part of the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program.
“I hope to get my Ph.D. someday so this is really fantastic experience,” says Dana Blasi ’19, who worked with Associate Professor of Applied Psychology Heather Lacey, Ph.D., on measuring and evaluating how individuals process risk. “We’re learning so much about the research process as well as new techniques we can use going forward.
“We’re learning so much about the research process as well as new techniques we can use going forward.”
“Our group is basically running our own study,” Blasi notes, “so it’s really helpful for when I go on to grad school and a Ph.D. program.”
“This experience has been incredibly valuable for both myself and the students,” says Professor Lacey. “Not only are they hard workers, but they’re bringing a great perspective. They’ve helped design scenarios, develop measures and run tests. That’s been tremendous.”
“The advantage of work like this is that, going forward, it sets them up very well for graduate school and their eventual careers,” says Associate Professor of Science and Technology Christopher Reid, who led a team of students testing new types of antibiotics. “They build skills in data collection, note-taking, and lab book-keeping, as well as lab skills. The learning curve becomes a little less steep and they become productive workers more quickly.”
The students presented their research at the 10th annual Rhode Island SURF Conference where undergraduate students from across the Ocean State discussed their summer research ﬁndings
“The conference was amazing,” says Kathleen Gonzalez ’18, who worked with Professor Reid. “Presenting our ﬁndings really took me out of my comfort zone but I think it made me more conﬁdent about my work and prepared me for future presentations.
“I’m really proud of these students,” says Professor Lacey. “They’ve produced really high quality work and have made big steps toward the careers they want to have. I feel really good about what we have produced together."
The intensified summer research experience, supported by Rhode Island NSF EPSCoR, provides scientific training and helps undergraduates define a career path.