Life-changing opportunities await
‘Experience Research’, Undergraduate Research Award, now open for applications
“Engaging undergraduate students in research creates inquisitive minds,” says Digvir Jayas, vice-president (research and international) at the University of Manitoba. “Many undergraduate students may go through their university education and never experience research: it only makes sense to take advantage of the breadth and depth of research going on around campus to change that.”
Thus was born ‘Experience Research’, the university’s Undergraduate Research Award, now open for applications for summer 2016. The $6,000 award also incorporates one-on-one mentorship from a U of M researcher.
The program is unique in Canada, focused on undergraduate students of all disciplines. Student apply and compete for 100 awards (up this year by 20), 10 of which for Indigenous undergrads.
Hundreds of students have received the awards since their inception in 2012, of the hundreds who apply each year. A key component of the application is that each student must interview two professors about their research program and then write a short summary of what each is doing. Then, they must choose which professor they would like to spend the 16 weeks of the award period with, and indicate why.
Due to the breadth of the program, covering research settings such as labs, fieldwork, scholarly and creative endeavours, many students are attracted to the experience.
Chimwemwe Undi was one recipient of the award in 2014. The arts student was fascinated by the work on code-switching being done by linguistics prof Veronica Loureiro-Rodriguez in the Faculty of Arts. Undi said that as someone who grew up “as a member of a minority language community in southern Africa and moved to Canada, where the role of Indigenous languages has been similarly compromised by colonialism and globalization,” she wanted to learn more about the relationship between language use and power.
The recipients of the award are encouraged to present their research findings at the annual Undergraduate Research Poster Competition at the end of their award period. The poster competition helps students build their skills in communicating research in a layperson-friendly manner.
Trevor Wideman received an award in 2012. He says winning it changed his career path.
“It completely changed my trajectory as a scholar,” says Wideman, who is now a PhD student in geography at Simon Fraser University, who also recently completed a Master’s at Queen’s.
“Not only did I get to work with a really great professor (Jeff Masuda, who encouraged me to continue as a researcher), but I won an iPad for best qualitative poster in the poster competition [undergraduate research poster competition]. Perhaps most valuable, however, is that I now have a published peer-reviewed paper based on the work that I undertook, which is a pretty amazing result.”
Deadline for applications is February 15, 2016.
To learn more about the award and criteria, please visit umanitoba.ca/experienceresearch