Learning Beyond the Classroom

Why should you engage in research or scholarly work with a faculty member?


A research mentor can connect a student to a range of people within their field of study. From other undergraduate students and graduate students to top researchers, the student has the opportunity to start building professional connections. These can be extremely valuable in finding future opportunities, and can also help the student build a network of support. Fellow researchers can offer advice, constructive criticism on work, and mentorship. Additionally, most students involved in research have the opportunity to present their work with a poster and/or slideshow at a conference or symposia at OSU (click here for options) or somewhere else in the world! These conferences and symposia are great opportunities for further networking and skill building. The student gets exposure to other exciting research projects, meet professionals in your field, and get practice presenting and communicating your work.


"I never realized how important networking was until my undergraduate research experience led me to a great paid internship in Portland."

- Third Year, Mechanical Engineering student


"In my first year, I joined an ocean biochemistry research lab, which was outside of both my college and major. I was excited when this research led to an invitation to the State of the University Address, and the opportunity to present our research in just my second term at Oregon State.

-First Year, Environmental Economics and Policy student

Future Opportunities

Research experiences can add a valuable component to a resume or CV. It can help make a student competitive when applying for graduate school and job positions. Additionally, the student's mentor and new colleagues can help connect the student to future opportunities and serve as references or provide letters of recommendation. The skills and experiences gained through research can help a student pursue and excel in challenging professional positions later in their career.

Fun and unique experiences!

From nanoparticles to zebrafish, ancient texts to cancer cells, tide pools to deserts, archiving to scuba diving - the possible study species, systems, and techniques that can go along with a research or creative project are virtually limitless! That means that there's something interesting, engaging, and exciting for just about everyone. This experience will add to your personal, unique story as you get the chance to become an expert in something you love!


The URSA engage program helped clarify my career goals, gave me the opportunity to make a difference in an environmental topic that I care about and paved the way for my current research position and potentially my honors thesis. “

- Matthew B. 

Other Benefits

  • Critical thinking and problem solving skills

  • Writing skills (especially in styles specific to peer reviewed publishing) 

  • Presentation skills

  • Communication skills

  • Professionalism

  • Get valuable experience in a field of interest

  • Accountability and responsibility

  • Confidence

  • Curiosity

  • Technical skills in the lab and/or field

  • Become an expert in your field

  • Learn what you like and do not like

  • Make money, earn credit, and/or get Transcript Notation