Carnegie Mellon University
April 13, 2015

Students: Gain An Early Edge in Research

By Shilo Rea

Students: Gain An Early Edge in Research When it comes to preparing its students for the future, few universities can match the opportunities that Carnegie Mellon University offers its undergraduates for research and training.

Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences undergraduate students are actively engaged in groundbreaking research. A great way for freshman and sophomores to get real research experience is through the Dietrich College’s Research Training Program.

Students in the program work on a faculty project or in a lab for a one-semester/nine-unit apprenticeship. Topics vary each semester, and can range from anything from social psychology to multicultural literature.

Kayla Lee (DC’17), a global studies and Hispanic Studies double major, worked with Modern Languages Department Head Susan Polansky on “The History of Chocolate in Spain and the Americas.” Lee said that the course, which will be offered again in Fall 2015, opened her eyes to the many possibilities of incorporating research into her education.

“It was a perfect introduction for me to research. In addition, the one-on-one interaction with the professor was extremely helpful, because it allowed me to learn in a more individualized environment,” Lee shared.

Faculty members see the benefits, too.

“This program offers an interesting option for students who are seeking to explore what research involves,” Polansky said. “Early exposure to research gives students the experience of delving into particular topics that attract them, and also engages them in hands-on work that is both collaborative and independent.”

In some cases, the research experience can extend past the training program.

“I was involved in Psychology Professor Vicki Helgeson's Gender, Relationships, and Health Lab from the start of my freshman spring semester until my junior fall semester,” said Priscilla Kim (DC’16), a psychology major who worked on projects ranging from relationships of elderly couples to relationships of emerging young adults with Type 1 diabetes. “I have learned a great deal about psychology research through direct experience interviewing participants in the experiment labs as well as analyzing data results.”

Courses that will be offered next fall include War Propaganda; Women and Violence; Hispanic Comics; Personality Psychology and Auditory Perception.

Learn more about the Research Training Program