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LEADING THE WAY
Research representatives are a group of students that have demonstrated their commitment to research/creative endeavors and increasing access to research opportunities throughout campus.
Undergraduates at WVU take often their research and creative work to the next level. Students have become published writers, presented their work at national and regional conferences, and participated in competitive opportunities.
The Office of Undergraduate Research encourages students to share their experiences about the impact of research and creative work on their lives, those around them, their community, and beyond.
English & French
Research Adviser: Dr. Kirk Hazen, English
Hometown: Shepherdstown, WV
Ask questions! When I started out with the program used in our lab (Praat), I was totally overwhelmed and had to ask multiple questions every day, but now I’m training new labbies on how to use it. Don’t be afraid to ask questions even if you think they sound obvious—the whole point of undergraduate research is to learn and enrich your experience, so learn as much as you can while you have your trusty faculty member there to act as a mentor.
Psychology & Criminology
Research Adviser: Dr. Natalie Shook, Psychology
Minor: Law and Legal Studies
Hometown: Shippensburg, PA
My advice is to do as much as possible. Get involved in several studies and find what lab best fits you and your interests.
Animal and Nutritional Science
Research Adviser: Dr. Joseph McFadden, Biochemistry and Dairy Science
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Just get out there. Honestly, the hardest part is getting up the courage to ask to be involved. Many of the faculty researchers are happy and willing to help dedicated students get involved. I would encourage students to not wait until they are a junior or senior. I got involved the very first semester of my freshman year and do not regret it. There is nothing quite like it.
Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering
Research Adviser: Dr. John Christian, Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering
Hometown: Chantilly, VA
Absorb as much information as possible. Always take notes. You won't understand everything immediately, you will need to refer to your old notes constantly.
Research Adviser: Dr. Paul Cassak, Physics & Astronomy
Minor: Computer Science
Hometown: Shepherdstown, WV
It may seem intimidating at first, but undergraduate research is the best way to get the most out of your undergraduate academic experience. You can learn so much from a faculty adviser, and research looks amazing on any resume or application. It just takes some time to learn the technical background, and there are always plenty of sources to learn from even if you haven't had a class on it. Just always have clear, set goals in mind and eventually you will get to the new and interesting stuff.
Research Adviser: Dr. Matthew Dietz, Orthopedics
Hometown: Beckley, WV
Ask questions, jump at opportunities with which you’re presented, and always go above and beyond. Don’t idly sit on the sidelines, but be proactive – read literature surrounding your research project or field, take notes, form ideas and share them with your mentor. The amount you can learn from conducting research extends beyond simple laboratory procedures.
Environmental Geoscience & Geography (Spatial Analysis/GIS emphasis)
Research Adviser: Dr. Brenden McNeil, Geography
Hometown: Silver Spring, MD
Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you don’t understand a particular task. When you first start, everything is new and it’s a learning process.
Communication Sciences and Disorders
Research Adviser: Dr. Michelle Moore, Communication Sciences and Disorders
Hometown: Keyser, WV
Be flexible and patient! A great piece of advice I received was, “However long you anticipate a portion of your research project to take, multiply that by 3, and that’s how long it will actually take.” Undergraduate research is such a rewarding experience, and it should be taken seriously. It allows you to push your boundaries, and you will discover yourself in a way that you never thought possible. Just when you think you have done all that you can, do more.
Sport & Exercise Psychology
Research Adviser: Dr. Sam Zizzi, Sport & Exercise Psychology
Hometown: Upper Marlboro, MD
Try your best not to be overwhelmed. There is a lot of information out there, and trying to funnel it all and find where your idea fits in, is a lot, but it will work out. Conducting the research and writing a paper about your research will stress you, and so will having to do SEVERAL revisions, but the reward of a completed project will be worth it.
Civil and Environmental Engineering
Research Adviser: Dr. Lian-Shin Lin, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Minor: American Politics and Policy
Hometown: Odd, WV
Ask your professors about their research. They know you and they’ve seen how you work in class. Keep in mind they’ve spent innumerable years on their research and enjoy seeing students invested in what they, personally, have found to be their life’s calling. Also, explore your future field and look at the developments currently happening and those that are projected to happen in the upcoming years. Find the three topics that jump out at you and begin asking your professors. Use the University’s resources to your advantage; they are there to help you be the best student you can be and want you to ask as many questions as you need to get started.
Biochemistry - Chemistry track w/ACS Certification
Research Adviser: Dr. Justin Legleiter, Chemistry
Hometown: Martinsburg, WV
Devote as much time as you can to your research. While some weeks will be significantly busier than others, it is in your best interest to be as involved as possible. Even if it is not required in your lab, research meetings can really teach you more about your research, and hopefully interest you in the topic even more. Furthermore, do not be afraid to ask questions, especially about your methods. This may seem obvious, but it can sometimes be intimidating to admit that there is something you do not understand. It is better to ask a simple question rather than have to repeat the experiment because of a small mistake.
Chemical Engineering with Biomedical Engineering Certificate
Research Adviser: Dr. Cerasela Zoica Dinu, Chemical Engineering
Hometown: Morgantown, WV
Don't get frustrated. Research is hard and a lot of trial and error. Just take everything in stride and don't ever miss an opportunity to learn something new.
Research Adviser: Dr. Andrew Dacks, Biology
Hometown: Ligonier, PA
Research takes a lot of time, work, and persistence. In order to completely understand the project you are working on, keep reading literature over and over until you fully understand it. Research does not always work out the way you would like, and more than likely you will face obstacles. To overcome this, be persistent because the results pay off in the end!
Immunology and Medical Microbiology
Research Adviser: Dr. Gordon Meares, Microbiology, Immunology & Cell Biology
Minor: Biology & Leadership Studies
Hometown: Parkersburg & Morgantown, WV
Do you feel in over your head? Like no matter what you do, you just can’t seem to learn it all? Good. That’s normal. Never compare yourself to your research adviser or graduate students when it comes to your base of knowledge. You’re not supposed to know it all as well as your adviser or other colleagues. Remember that you are there to learn; so, there is no need to fret over what you don’t yet understand or especially what you do not know. If you learn to ask the right questions, it will all come in time.
Exercise Physiology & Biology
Research Adviser: Dr. Melissa Olfert, Human Nutrition & Foods
Minor: Applied Environmental Microbiology & Infant and Toddler Studies
Hometown: Williamson, WV
Treat it as a job. With school work, you can choose to not do it, but you're only hurting yourself. In a lab setting, others are depending on you to complete your share of responsibilities. Not only do you owe it to your lab adviser to do your part, you owe it to yourself to take advantage of and make the best of the opportunity.
History & International Studies
Research Adviser: Dr. Joseph Hodge, History
Hometown: Naberezhnye Chelny, Russia
Don't be afraid to chase after research opportunities, even if you think your department may not require research. Expand your portfolio outside of the classroom and develop the skills that you already have. You don't necessarily have to enter the research and exit out with a published paper. This is a an opportunity to better yourself by exploring outside of your comfort zone. While you are there, be humble and ask questions, plenty of them. That is how you learn. If research becomes troublesome, keep your head up and keep shoveling through. You are bound to make a discovery.
Research Adviser: Dr. Paul Chantler, Human Performance & Exercise Physiology
Hometown: Lewisburg, WV
Find a subject that you are passionate about. Then, select a professor that will also serve as a great mentor. A good mentor guides you to more research opportunities, which substantially furthers your career. In addition, A your mentor can provide more information to supplement traditional lecture material.