Student Research

As trained professionals in their respective fields, faculty members are deeply involved in research, and use this process of inquiry not only to advance knowledge and generate information, but also to inform their teaching. Biology is a rapidly advancing field, and involvement with research allows faculty members to keep their courses in the cutting edge of Biology. In many ways, course development and laboratory research go hand-in-hand.

In addition, faculty members are deeply committed to involving students in the research process. Many faculty chose the University of Scranton because of the personal student-teacher interaction that is characteristic of the department. The faculty therefore welcomes you, the student, to participate in this process. Use research to "learn how to learn". Take charge of your education, and be an active participant in the learning process.

Why you should get involved:
  • Research is a tremendous learning experience - it teaches you how to think critically, "how to learn" and find things out for yourself
  • It helps improve your academic skills
  • It hones your reading and writing, and your organizational and time management skills
  • It gives you valuable laboratory skills and experience
  • It individualizes your learning experience
  • It teaches you how to organize, analyze, and interpret data
  • It helps develop personal qualities such as patience, persistence, and industry
  • It is a "bonding" experience with your co-workers (faculty and classmates)
  • It allows you to explore whether research could be a viable career option

Why you should NOT get involved

  • Research is demanding and time consuming! If you are heavily involved in extracurricular activities, or if you need a lot of time for study, research may be more of a burden to you than you would expect. For Biology research, the time demands are great
  • Research can be frustrating
  • Do not do research if you think you need it to get into medical school. A medical school applicant is evaluated as a total package, so if other areas of your application are weak (grades, MCAT scores, extracurricular involvement), the mere act of doing research will not help you get in to a school
  • Do not do research if you think you need it to get into a health professional school. In the words of an alum: "Some health professional schools are more interested in your clinical experience than your lab experience". Study the requirements of your professional school (such as Veterinary Medicine or Physician's Assistant programs) before making a decision.
  • It adds stress, especially if you have deadlines to meet or out-of-town conferences to attend

How do you get involved?

  • Think carefully if research is right for you. Consult with others (students, faculty, your advisor). Remember: research involvement should be part of your academic plan. It is not something in which you "dabble". Read about other students who have done this before.
  • Look through the Faculty Webpages and see what kind of research interests you.
  • Look at your schedule carefully and see if you can meet the time requirements for research.
  • Decide what type of research involvement is best for you by consulting the website. With the exception of the Honors program (which is an invitation-only program), the other venues of research are open to all students
  • Approach the faculty member (either in person or by email) to see if he/she has room in the lab. If you approach the faculty member by email, please treat the electronic mail as a formal correspondence, not a casual note that you write to your friend. Make sure you understand that the time demands for research are different for each faculty member.
  • See if you can "rotate" through a lab - spend some time with a faculty member or a research student and see if the research is right for you.