Conducting research is a privilege and having a great mentor who understands your needs and has the expertise to shape your career makes an important difference! I am extremely honored and delighted to be able to mentor bright and driven undergraduate students at UCLA who are also wonderful people! They come from a variety of backgrounds, with diverse needs, strengths and interests and enhance our research in meaningful ways! I learn a lot about mentoring and also acquire new technical skills while they receive my guidance!
Here at UCLA, I have had the incredible opportunity to not only mentor undergraduate research (Yes! I have now officially mentored more than 30 SRPs…several Honors Thesis and the number keeps growing), but also contribute to courses which are designed to teach formal approaches to conducting research. A couple excellent courses that I teach or will teach, mostly designed by my wonderful colleagues, but with my addons are listed here:
- LS 101: Understanding Scientific Literature and Context
- NS 191H: Neuroscience Honors Seminar
If you are an undergraduate student, be sure to check out the Undergraduate Research Portal to find mentors, sign up for SRPs, scholarship opportunities, success stories and so on…
I sincerely think that training undergraduates in research will help create a community of scientists and engineers who are critical thinkers and not just lame followers of lab recipes.
Sharmila Venugopal (Dr. V)