Nowadays college graduates need to do everything they can as an undergraduate student to make themselves attractive to employers. Competition is fierce for entry level STEM jobs, and doing undergraduate research can be a huge asset to a graduate’s resume. Arizona State offers a program called FURI, or Fulton Undergraduate Research Initiative. Under this program students may form groups and formulate a research proposal alongside a faculty member. The benefits of getting involved with FURI as an engineering or science major are vast, here are just a few.
1) Hands On Experience
Lecture classes are great for teaching the math and formulas that govern the science students learn. However it is very valuable to the learning process to be able to apply these techniques learned in the classroom in real world situations. For example, if a physics student is learning about applied forces, it may be valuable to be able to experiment with a machine capable of applying extreme forces. FURI projects often require students to use technology and machinery to accomplish the research initiative’s goal.
2) Access to Laboratories
The Arizona State campus has numerous laboratories with great equipment for students to use. However, many of the machines are in buildings which require special access. FURI programs give students the opportunity to be trained on many machines that they otherwise would be unable to use. Often times use of these machines will be directly applicable to the work students do after graduation, so this training is a nice jump start.
3) Letters of Recommendation
With the competitive nature of the current job market, a graduating student needs all of the letters of recommendation they can get. FURI puts students in direct contact with a doctorate professor who will oversee the research project. The professor is also available to answer questions and offer guidance to the students. At the end of a research project it is almost guaranteed that the professor will be willing to write a letter of recommendation for the FURI students. These professors are especially qualified to speak to the ability of the students making for a very valuable recommendation.
4) Research Stipends
Have you ever had a curiosity about the scientific world, but been unable to fund an experiment to test the hypothesis? Look no further than FURI. FURI funding is an amazing opportunity for students to perform an experiment that they otherwise would be unable to fund. Some FURI projects will even pay a stipend to the student each semester to cover expenses and to compensate the students for time. What’s not to love?
5) Work with Grad Students
As an undergraduate student, working alongside a graduate student on a project can be an invaluable experience. Having recently finished undergrad they are a great resource for information and can act as a mentor. Making connections like these allow undergraduate students to network with other students in their respective field who are further along in studies.
While attending ASU, or any university, it is a very good idea to do all you can to beef up your resume. Employers are always looking for something that sets a candidate apart, or makes them more qualified than the rest. ASU FURI research is a great way to make a resume more attractive, while gaining a deeper understanding of the material from classes.