Get Involved in Undergraduate Research in SESE
Opportunities to engage in cutting-edge research are available to all majors in the School of Earth and Space Exploration.
Not only is research a great way to enrich your education and enhance your resume – beneficial both in a job search and in applications to graduate school – but it's fun and rewarding! By working with mentors who are experts in their fields, you'll establish relationships and professional connections that may last a lifetime.
Research can be done for credit, or for pay, but not both. Paid research positions may be supported by individual faculty member’s research projects or by the NASA Space Grant, which supports undergraduate research across all SESE majors – it is not restricted to the Space Sciences.
Finding Research Opportunities
Here is an updated list of some current research opportunities advertised by faculty, postdoctoral researchers, and graduate students.
Given the rapidly evolving nature of active research programs, not all opportunities are represented in the formal list of research positions compiled on the webpage linked above. If you don't see a research opportunity that matches your interests, look for a research mentor that may have additional opportunities - which may be supported by their research grants, by the NASA Space Grant, or completed for credit - and explore the Research Programs For SESE Students below.
To find research opportunities with individual faculty mentors, explore SESE’s Research Focus Areas for faculty that work in your area of interest. When you have identified some potential faculty mentors, go to their websites or Google scholar to learn about their research focus and current projects. When you find a good match, if you know the professor or have had a class with them, try to catch them in person for a quick conversation about the potential for conducting research with them. If you havent yet met them, or havent been able to track them down in person, write your potential mentors a formal email to introduce yourself, and inquire about their interest in taking an undergraduate student (you!) onto their research team. Here is an example email template.
It’s optional, but you might consider attaching your resume, and/or your unofficial transcripts to help the professor learn more about you. If you don’t hear from the professor within a week or two, it’s not necessarily a sign that the professor is not interested — they are busy and sometimes haven’t had a chance to respond. You might consider following up with a second email to give the professor an opportunity to email you back.
Graduate students in your area of interest can also be a great resource to get started in research and to find research opportunities. Very often graduate students need assistants to help in their research or to tackle related research questions just outside the scope of their work. Approach graduate Teaching Assistants in your courses and other graduate students you know or that you might meet at SESE social events. Don’t hesitate to ask - you might just make their day!