University 101 Programs

Undergraduate Research: Beyond the Classroom at USC

Presentation Abstract
The 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, the benefits of participating in research, how to get started, and the resources available to them through the Office of 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.

University 101 Learning Outcomes

II a) Identify and use appropriate campus resources and engage in opportunities that contribute to their learning within and beyond the classroom.

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.

Presentation Learning Outcomes
As a result of 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: Ambassador will introduce themselves, year, major, and share their research topic.

DEFINE RESEARCH: The Ambassador will prompt the students with the question “What is research?” At the end of the exchange, the Ambassador will share our broad definition meant to encompass all research disciplines, “Asking questions and finding answers.”

PERSONAL RESEARCH STORY: The Ambassador will share their research story by sharing the following information: 1) Describe their research; 2) How they got involved in research/met their mentor; 3) What benefits it has provided to them; 4) Additional benefits research can provide.

RESEARCH AT USC 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 provide examples of undergraduate research done at USC using those objects. *Note: Some examples are updated from year to year in an effort to reflect newer/current projects.

FINDING YOUR PASSION FOR RESEARCH ACTIVITY: Ambassador will pass around the handout “Finding a Passion for Research.” Students will be asked to complete the questions aimed at discovering their interests and talents. The Ambassador will ask students to share what they are comfortable and describe how they can make those examples research topics. The device 60-60-30-30 will be used to facilitate this activity.

HOW TO GET STARTED/RESOURCES FOR STUDENTS: 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: 1) Finding a faculty mentor; 2) Funding opportunities; and 3) Showcasing research (ie: Discovery Day and Caravel).

Presentation Length

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 advisor 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.