Learn about research opportunities at annual research fair

Courtesy / GVSU Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship

Courtesy / GVSU Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship

Amy McNeel

The Grand Valley State University Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship (OURS) is hosting the tenth annual Undergraduate Research Fair on Tuesday, Oct. 2 from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Kirkhof Center Grand River Room. At the fair, students will learn about faculty and staff directed research and creative projects. 

“The Undergraduate Research Fair features faculty mentors from a diversity of departments across campus,” said Dr. Jodee Hunt, professor of Biology and faculty fellow with the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship. “The event focuses on providing undergraduate students, especially those in their first few years at GVSU, with information about research opportunities across the disciplines and helping them connect with potential research mentors.”

Attendees will also obtain information on how to get involved, as well as what kind of research pertains to their majors. While some majors do not seem applicable to research, Hunt said there is a surprising variety of projects for students to pursue. 

“Hundreds of students attend, and they’ll be able to connect with faculty and experienced student researchers,” Hunt said. “They can ask all the questions they have about what kinds of research is done by students in diverse disciplines and how to go about finding a research opportunity that matches their interests.”

Research opportunities provide many benefits for students. Those who do participate in research get acquainted with faculty and other students, work closely with them and present their findings at conferences both on and off campus. Research is also a good way to gain experience and is useful for resumes and job applications. 

“Students who participate in research benefit from their experiences in many ways,” Hunt said. “Their faculty mentors get to know them well, which is very helpful when students apply to internships, jobs or professional or graduate programs. Many of our student researchers apply successfully to these programs and go on to successful careers that link to their research experiences at GVSU.”

The fair is a way for students to get this information, but is also meant to be a fun time. 

“The Undergraduate Research Fair is a fun, efficient, no-pressure way to connect with faculty and students who are involved in research at GVSU,” Hunt said. “Any student who has wondered what research entails, or how to find a faculty research adviser would benefit. It’s also a lot of fun!”

Hunt urges students who are unsure about which research opportunities match their majors and interests to contact the office and visit the fair. 

“The Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship has a website with a ton of helpful information about doing independent scholarly work in any field, and about the grant programs at GVSU that support undergraduate student scholars who want to pursue research or creative work,” Hunt said. 

Before the actual fair begins, there will be an Undergraduate Research Fair Student Panel from 4 to 5 p.m. at Kirkhof Center 2215/2216. During this panel, students will have the opportunity to learn about participation in research and creative projects straight from fellow GVSU student researchers.