Finding a Faculty Mentor
Finding a faculty mentor is one of the most important parts of the research process. Your faculty mentor is the person with whom you will be working most closely over the course of your research or creative project. It is important that you select a mentor whose research interests correspond with your own so that they can best help you develop your project. However, for many students, finding a faculty mentor can be difficult. The information provided on this page will help you with this process.
Projects and mentors are most often selected in one of three ways. A brief discussion of each follows. No single method is preferable to another.
The UCF Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) Research Position Database
The UCF Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) maintains a campus-wide research database. Faculty and graduate students will often post a wide variety of research positions to this database that would benefit from the assistance or inclusion of an undergraduate researcher. In order to access this database, students must receive permission through the following on-campus offices and resources:
- Drop-in peer advising in the UCF Office of Undergraduate Research
- Attending an Office of Undergraduate Research “Getting Started on Research” workshop
- The Burnett Honors College Office of Research and Civic Engagement
- Research and Mentoring Program/McNair Scholars
- EXCEL Program
Please note that access is not granted through an informal request (such as e-mail or a phone call). Students must meet with one of the staff members in these offices or attend the appropriate meetings to be given the access information.
Most faculty members on campus are engaged in some sort of ongoing research or creative project. Most academic departments maintain a list of faculty members and their respective research interests. Some faculty members will also provide a copy of their Curriculum Vita (which is an academic resume) that lists their professional presentations, publications, teaching experience, grants, etc. You should read these pages to see if someone is working on a project that is interesting to you. If so, make an appointment with them to discuss their research. Faculty members generally enjoy meeting with students who are knowledgeable about and interested in their work. During this meeting, you can ask about getting involved in their research. If the faculty member is interested in working with you, refer them to the Burnett Research Scholars grant funding opportunity through The Burnett Honors College.
Students often become interested in faculty research projects as a result of a positive classroom experience. Faculty members often discuss their research in class and if you have had professors whose enthusiasm for their research has spread to you, let them know! Again, faculty members enjoy hearing from students with whom they have connected in the classroom. Perhaps you have a friend who has spoken highly of a professor she or he has had. Schedule a meeting to discuss their research and whether or not it is possible for you to get involved. If so, refer them to Burnett Research Scholars. Also, you may also want to begin working with your mentor to complete an application for a Burnett Research Scholars grant. Writing a grant application is a learned skill with which the faculty is familiar. Working together on this application will be the first part of what should be a beneficial collaboration.