University 101 Programs

Finding a Passion for Research

RThe Office of Undergraduate Research wants students to get excited about participating in research. Students should come away with an idea as to what research looks like, what the Office of Undergraduate Research does, and how to get started in undergraduate research. The presentation is not meant to instruct University 101 students on specific research projects available, how to find a mentor, or the specifics of funding opportunities, as these are addressed through the advisement process.

Learning Outcomes

The “Finding a Passion for Research” presentation supports University 101 learning outcomes:

II. Help Students Discover and Connect With the University of South Carolina

a. Identify appropriate campus resources and opportunities that contribute to their educational experience, goals, and campus engagement

Undergraduate research is a pathway supported by the USC Connect initiative. The Office of Undergraduate Research aims to introduce students to the idea of participating in a high impact practice by giving examples of research conducted by USC students, having students brainstorm interests, and providing next steps to getting involved in the process.

As a result of attending this presentation students will:

  • Define research and provide examples of research projects conducted by USC students
  • Discuss the benefits of doing undergraduate research and dispel myths about research
  • Explain how to get started in research

Presentation Outline

  • Introduction of presenter
  • “What is research?” prompt
    • “Asking questions and finding answers”
  • Group Activity
    • Class will be broken up into 4 groups
    • Each group will be given a packet containing objects
    • The groups will then be asked to come up with two different research questions that involve the objects they have in their group
    • Each group will share and the presenter will help accordingly and give real life examples of research done involving those objects
  •  Examples of research at USC
    • Presenter will then talk about their research experience
      • How they started in research
      • What is their research
      • What benefits it has provided to them
      • Additional benefits research can provide
    • Presenter will then handout “Research Examples and Find a Passion for Research” Worksheet
      • On the worksheet, presenter will talk a little in detail about their two favorite research projects
      • The presenter will then have the students flip over the worksheet, to the “finding a passion” side
      • Students will then be asked to think about what interests them and how that can be turned into research
      • Students encouraged to take this sheet to the Office of Undergraduate Research to discuss their interests with an advisor.
    • Presenter will give students a brief explanation of how they can utilize the Office of Undergraduate Research to get involved in research (including contact information). Our office helps students with:
      • Finding a faculty mentor
      • Grants
      • Showcasing research (ie: Discovery Day)

Presentation Length
30 minutes

Presenter Training
The Magellan Ambassadors, a student peer leader group comprised of high-achieving students who have participated in research during their time at USC, will be giving the presentations. As needed, full-time staff or graduate assistants may present or co-present.

The Magellan Ambassadors participate in a four-hour training on how to facilitate the presentation. Before their first presentation in a semester, they must present to the full-time staff or graduate advisors to ensure that their presentation includes all aspects required for a thorough and well-prepared presentation. The graduate advisor conducts observations during the semester and then meets one-on-one with the Ambassador following their observation to discuss ways in which they can improve the presentation and areas that they are excelling in. In addition, the graduate advisor discusses tips for improvement at monthly staff meetings with Ambassadors.