Undergraduates find their academic home
“I count myself an ‘accidental’ researcher. That’s because my career would have turned out quite differently, no doubt, had I not stumbled into a college class that changed everything.”
Tapping into each student’s inner Einstein — that quester of cosmic secrets, that seeker of deeper insights, that finder of new truths — is what happens when undergrads do original research or scholarship under the wing of a professor or a post-doctoral researcher.
It seemed that Kyle Neumann had a dream job: video broadcasting for the Portland Timbers. But something kept nagging at him. “For me, it just wasn’t fulfilling a higher purpose,” says the Oregon State University senior.
You might think the No. 1 quality professors seek in an undergraduate researcher is braininess. Yes, brains matter. But there’s another valued trait, perhaps less obvious but at least as important: a strong work ethic. In the labs in Oregon State’s Department of Nuclear Engineering and Radiation Health Physics, work ethic is often the deciding factor in hiring research assistants.