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Science Research Enrichment Program

By Emily Schmidt

Summer Undergraduate Program to Enhance Research

The Summer Undergraduate Program to Enhance Research (SUPER) provides undergraduate students with necessary training to enhance their research and prepare them for careers in the sciences. Offered for the past two summers, the program was established for students conducting research in all areas of science to give them an advantage when applying to graduate school, jobs, and grants.

Research is highly encouraged at AU and is considered a vital component of undergraduate student educational experience. Numerous undergraduate students conduct research with faculty mentors on campus. Others choose to conduct research at one of the many renowned science laboratories in the area, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). 

Research at the undergraduate level is essential to be considered for graduate school or employment in many science professions. SUPER workshops complement research training and provide extra insights into the research process that students may not have received otherwise. SUPER eases the information gathering process and provides a forum for discussion. The program brings research training to the next level.

Faculty teach ethical principles associated with scientific research at multiple workshops. “Most students are trained more in the research aspect. The workshops give background about using ethical training in the lab,” says premedical program director Lynne Arneson. Workshops cover issues such as research with animals and the importance of informed consent when doing clinical research or research with human subjects. This training is required for students on NIH training grants.  

The workshops dedicated to applying to graduate school are always popular with students. “Faculty advisors talk to students about applying to graduate school, but often the discussions are on a broader scale,” says Arneson. “The SUPER workshop delves deeper and covers very specific details about the application process and answers any remaining questions students have.”

Securing funding for their research is extremely important to science researchers. They often have to apply for grants as part of their jobs. A workshop on how to apply for grants and fellowships is presented each summer. SUPER also alerts students about funding opportunities that are available at AU and through other organizations. 

A main goal of the program is to make undergraduate student research more visible and make students more aware of available funding opportunities. The College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Office awards summer research grants to undergraduate students and the amount of grants awarded continues to increase every year. 

The summer 2012 schedule has eight workshops planned. Detailed information can be found on the SUPER webpage.