New College Undergraduate Inquiry and Research Experiences

Why NCUIRE? - The Student Perspective

As a student, you likely have many questions about this program. Below, you'll find some frequently asked questions. If none of the items below answer your questions, feel free to forward your question(s) to: NCUIRE@asu.edu

As an undergraduate student, why would I want to work with a faculty member to obtain research experience?

Research represents a meaningful way that you can obtain experience -- before you graduate -- that will likely make you more competitive as you apply for jobs.  Courses provide you with a wealth of information about a particular discipline.  Research allows you to apply that information to solve real world problems and to delve far more deeply into many of the most intriguing topics you cover in your coursework.  Through research, inquiry, and creative endeavor, you have the unique opportunity to know something no one has ever known, to find an answer to a question once thought unanswerable, and to create something that previously existed only in your imagination. 
 
Partnering with a faculty member to conduct this research allows you to work alongside a world-renowned expert in a field of interest to you.  You'll be able to learn the craft of the discipline in a unique and meaningful way.  You'll likely acquire a colleague and a mentor who can help guide you as progress through your academic career and beyond. 
 

NCUIRE inspires other sorts of benefits as well.  NCUIRE improves student graduation and many participants eventually attend graduate school (for further details click on this link).  Much of the research done in NCUIRE settings is cutting edge and rigorous enough to get into publications like Current Zoology, Frontiers in MicrobiologyJournal of Computing Sciences in Colleges, Journal of Geometry, and Women’s Reproductive Health (to name only a few).

What have prior NCUIRE student participants thought of their experiences in the program?

Previous NCUIRE student participants are overwhelmingly positive and enthusiastic about their experiences with NCUIRE.  One recent graduate of the NCUIRE program recently remarked:
 
"Personally, this project has been one of the most fulfilling experiences during my entire undergraduate career. I have gained invaluable experience about the nature of being a scientist conducting research. As I intend to apply to graduate school, this opportunity has given me real world experience. . .The relationship I have forged with my mentor is another gratifying element of this experience. To work so closely with a professor of his caliber has been priceless. The knowledge I have gained from this I will take with me my entire career."
 
NCUIRE has changed student lives dramatically and former NCUIRE student Marya S. Sabir was inspired enough to write this essay: Navigating undergraduate biomedical research: From textbook to test-tube 

This sounds great, but I don't think I have time to get involved in research.   My courses and job are already consuming more time than I have.

The NCUIRE program is designed to allow you to get paid while you work with a faculty member on a research project. Amounts of stipends are detailed in Appendix A.  This stipend is intended to allow you to focus your attention on an experience that will benefit you professionally as you progress through your academic career and beyond.
 

I'm a new student.  I don't know many faculty.  How do I find one that is interested in the same topics as me and might be interested in working with me to submit an application to the NCUIRE program?

One of the best ways to find a faculty member with whom to collaborate is through one of your current or previous courses.  Approach the instructor of your favorite class and ask her/him how you can get more involved in this discipline.  Ask whether this faculty member would be willing to work with you on a proposal to the NCUIRE program (point them to this website if they aren't aware of the program).  

If your interests are outside of those covered by your current courses, take a look at what other New College faculty are doing and approach them to be a collaborator on your NCUIRE application.  Interested in  Humanities, Arts, and Cultural Studies (History, for example)?  Interested in Social and Behavioral Sciences (Psychology, for example)?  How about Mathematical and Natural Sciences (Biology or Computing, for example)?  Click on any of the links above to visit webpages that describe what type of research and creative endeavors New College faculty in these areas pursue.

Why are there four (4) different types of NCUIRE Awards?  For which one should I apply?

Three types of awards are available: NCUIRE Research Assistantships, NCUIRE Scholarships, and NCUIRE Fellowships.  Features of each are detailed below and summarized in Appendix A.  Talk with your prospective faculty mentor about which one represents the best fit for you.  If you and/or your faculty mentor have questions, feel free to contact the NCUIRE Associate Director, Eric Swank (NCUIRE@asu.edu). 

NCUIRE Research Assistantships allow students to participate in research early in their college careers.  In particular, these awards are intended for students with little to no prior research experience.  The duration of the awards is a single semester or summer session.  Research Assistants generally work closely with other student researchers to begin to learn the craft of inquiry.  Research Assistants are not expected to commit as much time to the NCUIRE project as NCUIRE Scholars and Fellows (see Appendix A). It is anticipated that most students applying for NCUIRE Research Assistantships will be freshmen or sophomores.  The application process is brief and consists of: 1) a summary of the student role in the project articulated and submitted by the faculty mentor and 2) a brief (100 words or less) statement provided to the proposed faculty mentor by the student describing why s/he wishes to participate in NCUIRE and the creative/research project.

NCUIRE Team awards allow teams of two or more (typically not more than six) students to collaborate with one another under the guidance of a single faculty mentor on a single creative/research project.  As is the case with NCUIRE Research Assistantships, the duration of an NCUIRE Team award is a single semester or summer session.  NCUIRE Team awardees are expected to commit to the project an amount of time comparable to that of NCUIRE Research Assistants (see Appendix A).   As with NCUIRE Research Assistantships, no prior experience with research or creative endeavor is required; however, NCUIRE Team awards provide opportunities for students with varying levels of experience to partner and collaborate in synergistic ways.  For example, team members with some experience in research and creative endeavor can support and mentor other team members with less experience.  For NCUIRE Team awards with four (4) or more student team members, a $500 supplies budget is included.  The application consists of: 1) a brief summary of the objective(s) of the team and anticipated contributions of each team member articulated and submitted by the faculty mentor, and 2) brief (100 words or less) statements provided to the proposed faculty mentor by each prospective team member describing why s/he wishes to participate in NCUIRE and the creative/research project.

NCUIRE Scholarships support students who are beginning to understand and appreciate the nature of research, inquiry, and creative activity.  NCUIRE Scholars may have had some prior research experience, but this is not necessary.  For example, prospective NCUIRE Scholars may have begun to learn about research and inquiry in relevant coursework.  It is anticipated that most students applying for NCUIRE Scholarships will be sophomores, juniors, or seniors.  The application process is proposal-based and requires the student applicant and faculty mentor to co-author a proposal.  The duration of these awards is either an academic year (two semesters) or a summer (both summer sessions or session C). 

NCUIRE Fellowships support prior NCUIRE Scholars as they continue to advance their research.  Prospective NCUIRE Fellows need not necessarily work with the same faculty mentor with whom they worked as NCUIRE Scholars.  It is anticipated that most students applying for NCUIRE Fellowships will be juniors or seniors.  The application process is proposal-based and requires the student applicant (a former NCUIRE Scholar) to demonstrate a clear and primary role in authoring the proposal.  The duration of the awards is either an academic year (two semesters) or a summer (both summer sessions or session C). 

NCUIRE Research Assistants should anticipate time commitments of 5 hours per week for academic year awards and 80 total hours for summer awards.  NCUIRE Team awardees should anticipate time commitments of 4 hours per week for academic year awards and 64 total hours for summer awards.  NCUIRE Scholars and Fellows are expected to work 10 hours per week during the semester.  For summer awards, NCUIRE Scholars and Fellows are expected to work 320 total hours.  All awards include a student stipend (see Appendix A), and a budget for supplies for the project (up to $500) is provided to support projects conducted by NCUIRE Scholars and Fellows as well as projects conducted by NCUIRE Teams composed of four (4) or more students.  

What type of research project should I pursue?

Go with what interests you most!  Talk with a faculty member who taught a course you found particularly interesting.  Ask the instructor if they are willing to work with you on a collaborative research project funded through the NCUIRE program.  If the instructor agrees to collaborate with you in this way, the two of you will work together to define the scope of your inquiry, creative endeavor, and/or research project.

How do I apply to the NCUIRE program?

First, review the Request for Proposals/Applications. Next, after finding a faculty member with whom you intend to work on your NCUIRE Scholarship or Fellowship application, the two of you will craft a proposal (a short paper describing what you want to do and what you'll need to do it) to submit to the NCUIRE program (via email to NCUIRE@asu.edu as a single .pdf file) by the published deadline.  Be sure to include an application cover page.  
 
If you and your mentor have chosen for you to pursue an NCUIRE Research Assistantship or NCUIRE Team award, your faculty mentor will complete the appropriate form found here.  You'll need to provide to your prospective faculty mentor a brief statement regarding why you want to participate in NCUIRE.
 

Can I view an example NCUIRE application?

Yes!  Excellent applications to the NCUIRE program (for an NCUIRE Scholarship) can be found here:

I realize not all student and faculty teams can be provided NCUIRE awards.  What if my proposal isn't chosen?

Don't despair.  Your proposal was quite likely very meritorious.  Try to strengthen the proposal and resubmit it by the next NCUIRE proposal deadline.  Talk regularly with your faculty member collaborator about what you can do to improve it.  For additional feedback on your proposal, contact the NCUIRE Associate Director, Eric Swank, at NCUIRE@asu.edu.