It’s not everyday (everywhere) that you get to learn one-on-one next to a professor in the research lab as an undergrad. But, that’s how I spent my afternoon. And that’s nothing new either. I’d say it’s a common occurrence at DePaul.
One of my favorite things about the science program at DePaul is that the small size and teaching focus means more face time with professors. It means having a faculty research mentor and advisor to help you learn outside of the classroom. I get it that this blog is a bit cheesy, but I can’t explain any other way how special this is.
I started working in Dr. Karver’s lab my sophomore year when I was in organic chemistry. I realized that I really enjoyed organic and I wanted to see how that classroom information was actually put to use (outside of the teaching lab). So, I went to Dr. Karver’s office hours and told her I was interested and a couple of weeks later I was starting my first reaction.
Being a part of a research lab has impacted my experience at DePaul substantially. Not only has it offered a community of peers to look up to, but it’s made the information I learn in all my science classes more relevant. It’s given me more motivation to learn in class and has fueled an interest to do research in the future. Before I started in the lab, I thought that I probably wouldn’t enjoy it. I thought something along the lines of, “I like working with people and talking to people and that’s not necessarily what you get to do in the lab.” While it may be true that it’s not the most social activity in the world, doing research as an undergrad has really made my time at DePaul special. It’s provided me with a professor that I can always go to for advice, even if it’s unrelated to research or her courses.
Once you get started at DePaul, try to search what kind of research the people are doing that are teaching you in your lecture classes! You may be surprised by the research that some professors are doing. Then, go meet them! Find their email and set up an appointment and convince them of your interest and you’re well on your way to an incredibly worthwhile opportunity.