Campus Engagement · Conferences · Guest Blogger · Thoughts from Tutors · Tutor Success Story

Why YOU Should Get Involved in Undergraduate Research!

by Kennedy Lambert, TECHniques Center tutor

My name is Kennedy Lambert, and I am a Community, Family, and Addiction Sciences major and Psychology minor here at Texas Tech University. I have been working at the TECHniques Center for a year now, and I absolutely love this job! I graduate this May and will be attending graduate school at Roosevelt University in Chicago for my master’s in Industrial/Organizational Psychology this fall. This blog post is about my research experience here at Tech and how much it has impacted my future, as well as how important I feel undergraduate research is, especially at a tier one research university!

My experience as an undergraduate researcher has been amazing! I first became a part of the Recovery Neuroscience Research Lab (RNRL) in the fall semester of my junior year. The reason I wanted to get involved in undergraduate research was because I was interested in learning more in depth about the concepts I was being taught in the classroom. I wanted to get involved in something that would prepare me for graduate school and be able to build my resume while I was at Tech. I think research can help you have the ability to think beyond just answering a question and have the skills to broaden your knowledge. This also shows people looking at your resume that you have these skills and can challenge yourself.

Throughout this past year and a half, I have learned more than I could imagine. I gained insight into what I wanted to do with my future and met some amazing undergraduate and graduate lab members! Dr. Spencer Bradshaw oversees this lab and without him, I wouldn’t have gotten this opportunity. I was able put everything I learned onto my resume and that made me stand out when applying to graduate school.

Research experience as an undergraduate is extremely important. It makes you stand out and get ahead of the game if you are aiming for graduate school or any future profession. Being able to know how to help run a research lab allows people to see you are a responsible, trustworthy, and intelligent student who is capable of excelling far past what is expected of you as an undergraduate. It is tough work donating your free time to research, but it pays off immensely.

This spring, I got the chance to participate in the 2017 CALUE Undergraduate Research Conference, and I am so grateful for that. This experience taught me how to put together an entire research presentation and made me get out of my comfort zone as far as what I felt I was capable of. I had to create my own hypothesis based of off data our lab has collected over the past years, and I worked with Dr. Bradshaw in developing a poster that showed all that hard work. Actually presenting in the conference was so scary at first, but could not have imagined how exciting it was too! I am so happy I could do this and won’t ever regret having that chance.

I think any student who can be dedicated to a team and give 100% of effort should get the experience to participate in undergraduate research and maybe even next year’s CALUE Conference! I am so sad my time in the lab is coming to an end, but am so glad I had this chance as an undergraduate before I head off to graduate school.

You too can have this chance if you just look into what your major has to offer in terms of research. The College of Human Sciences has multiple different labs that they use to study recovery neuroscience (like I did), eating disorders, family therapy, and other areas. In fact, most colleges have different research labs, so the opportunities are endless!

For more information about participating in undergraduate research, contact the The Center for Active Learning and Undergraduate research at https://www.depts.ttu.edu/calue/ or (806) 742-1095.

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