Are you mentoring a student in the Research Assistant program? If so, find information on the student selection process and the structure of our programs below.
Research Assistant (RA) Program Overview
Application Process: (2020-2021 RA Program)
- Faculty research projects must be submitted to the Aresty Center by February 24 for the 2020-2021 RA Program.
- Students will begin applying to RA projects the week of March 1st. The deadline to apply is April 15th.
- After April 15th, faculty review applicants to their projects and conduct interviews with qualified candidates.
- Faculty should indicate their top choices in the Aresty system. We are often able to support multiple students per project, so let us know if you would like additional students.
- Faculty members should complete their selections by May 5th, at which point the Aresty Center will match students to projects. This process is automatic and based on faculty and student preferences. We will detail this process by email to all Aresty mentors.
- Notifications will go out from the Aresty Center to selected students in early May.
Structure of the Academic Year
Duration of the program: Students should begin research the first week of class. The program concludes with the Symposium (or by arrangement with the professor if more time is needed to complete agreed-upon obligations).
2020-2021 Academic year:
- September 1st: Aresty RAs expected to begin supporting faculty research (5 hours per week)
- September 14th: Peer discussion group meetings begin (5 total meetings in the fall)
- September 25th: All RAs submit project plans (aka, Aresty Contracts). Please see the details below.
- December 4th: Faculty mentors submit mid-year assessments via webform
- February 8th: Peer Instructor applications due
- March 1st: RAs submit abstracts for the Symposium
- April 10th (tentative): Posters due for printing by the Aresty Center
- April 30th: Undergraduate Research Symposium
Resources and training for students: The Aresty Center is happy to coordinate training for research assistants in our program.
- If your student requires library training, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will connect your student to a training specialist.
- Students requiring safety training for labs can register for relevant training sessions here.
- For projects requiring IRB approval, students can consult our IRB page, and we will facilitate interactions with that office as necessary.
The Project Plan or Contract: By the end of September, all research assistants are required to design a project plan for the year with their faculty mentors and submit it to the Aresty Center. The project plan should cover your expectations of the project, key steps in the research process, and the duties of the RA and faculty mentor. RAs need clarity around your goals and expectations for them. This document should make your expectations explicit. You can find a sample project plan for your reference here. Your RA can put the basic parts of this together using your original project description but will need your input on goals, checkpoints, and expectations.
Time Commitment: Students are expected to work five hours per week. You may arrange with your RA to do more in exchange for departmental credit. We strongly encourage you to ask your students to track their hours on your project. You can download a sample time sheet to help. A timesheet will both increase accountability and give students a record of activities that can be repurposed for resumes and cover letters.
Peer Discussion Groups: Throughout the academic year, RAs will attend a total of ten peer group meetings (roughly two per month) at the Aresty Center. These meetings support students through their research process by focusing on the role of research in society and professionalism in a research environment. The meetings cover topics like managing relationships, research ethics, and writing abstracts and designing effective posters. You can review an overview of our syllabus and key dates for the year.
Academic Credit: The Aresty RA program awards students three credits, graded P/NC, for the academic year. The Aresty Center enters grades based on feedback from professors and RA completion of program requirements. For students in SOE, credits count toward technical electives. For students in SEBS, credits can be applied to experiential learning requirements. Students in SAS receive general credits. Please note that student eligible for Federal Workstudy may also use the RA program a Work Study job.
Mid-Year Assessment: Before winter break, we will review the progress of all RAs. The Aresty Center will ask all mentors to complete a brief web-based evaluation, and through assessing their participation in their peer discussion groups.
Undergraduate Research Symposium: All RAs present their research at the annual Undergraduate Research Symposium in April. The Aresty Center will require all students to have planned for securing their professors' approval of their research presentations at the Symposium. Learn more about the Symposium here. Students working in groups may either present individually or together.