Dr. Jenny Shananan knows from experience that participating in undergraduate research can be life-changing.
The director of undergraduate research at Bridgewater State University in Bridgewater, Mass., says the experience shaped her own undergraduate experience, and she’s watched it change the lives of countless others, instilling them with confidence and purpose.
“I came from a low-income family. I was the first in my family to go to college. I often wondered whether I belonged there.
“In my first semester, I was encouraged to do a meaningful research project. It showed me that the questions I had mattered, and that university was a place to explore things that I had an authentic interest in.”
Shanahan will deliver the keynote address for Research Day, on Sept. 16, where the focus will be on mentoring student researchers. At Bridgewater State, priority has been given to improve retention of students who have been traditionally underserved in higher education, including first generation students, visible minorities and women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
- 2016-17 suite of undergraduate research opportunities at TRU
- Why the undergraduate years should include a research experience. University Affairs, Sept. 7, 2016
Studies show that students who participate in High Impact Practices (HIPs) have improved graduation rates, and are more likely to graduate with a meaningful philosophy of life.
High Impact Practices include internships, study abroad opportunities and capstone experiences, but No. 1 on the list is research. Participating in a research project has value beyond the important fundamental skills that develop.
“They’re valuable because of the relationships that are made with the faculty member who is guiding them, helping them to recognize what they are capable of.
“Any student who has a good work ethic and an authentic question should have a place to participate in research,” she said.