Chemistry undergraduates participating in research projects experience the excitement of discovering answers to real world problems using principles learned in class.
By participating in research projects, undergraduates have the opportunity to not only perform cutting-edge experiments, but also gain the potential to present at national and international conferences and earn co-authorship on scientific publications.
Chemistry majors are strongly encouraged to do research. There are multiple opportunities for undergraduates to take part in research projects at UMKC, across the nation and even internationally.
How do I learn about faculty research?
The best way to begin is to view the webpage of faculty and read the descriptions of their research interests and current projects.
Visiting faculty webpages and learning about their research interests and current projects are great places to start. Talking with friends and classmates who have worked on research projects with a faculty member is also a good idea.
We recommend that students explore research opportunities in other interdisciplinary areas, such as material physics, geosciences or molecular biology, in order to broaden their own interests and abilities.
How do I approach a faculty member about doing research in their group?
Once you have identified faculty members who perform research that interests you, contact them via email. In the first message, you should tell a little about yourself. Examples of what to say are:
- What courses you have taken up to the current semester
- What are your future plans
- A sentence or two describing the research in which you are interested
- A sentence describing prior research you have done, if applicable
- Ask to set up an appointment to meet and discuss about participating in research
Faculty usually try to respond as quickly as possible. Keep in mind that when you first work with a group, it is a time to be productive learn about the research process. You should not expect to be paid a salary during the year (although some faculty do offer a stipend), but expect to gain ample research experience.
Are there summer research opportunities outside UMKC?
There are a wide variety of summer research programs for undergraduates across the country and abroad. A few programs are listed below.
One of the largest formal research programs for undergraduates is the National Science Foundation Research Opportunities for Undergraduates (REU). Government laboratories such as Argonne National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory offer various research opportunities.
Other opportunities exist in various industries and we recommend visiting their websites for more information.