Leadership Alliance at Boston U. releases summer research study

The Leadership Alliance gathered data through detailed surveys given to program participants in the first and last weeks of their eight- to 10-week summer research experiences.
The Leadership Alliance gathered data through detailed surveys given to program participants in the first and last weeks of their eight- to 10-week summer research experiences. | File photo

The Leadership Alliance, a national partnership between universities and the private sector offering underrepresented students research and mentorship opportunities, recently released a study on what aspects of summer research students find most beneficial.

“We receive wonderful emails from students who talk about the impact of their experiences,” Leadership Alliance Executive Director Medeva Ghee, who was the study’s lead author and works in the Brown University School of Public Health, said. “But I think what’s critical is to understand exactly what are those key program components — what about the experience is beneficial in helping students to develop their scientific identity and to clarify their career path.”

The Leadership Alliance gathered data through detailed surveys given to program participants in the first and last weeks of their eight- to 10-week summer research experiences. The study found that students left the program feeling more confident in their research skills, particularly in mining data and using statistics software, felt that they better understood the process of applying for graduate school and were more likely to be satisfied with mentors if those mentors had shown interest in their research and supported their ideas.

“What the students are telling us is helping us to share effective mentoring approaches with faculty,” Ghee said. “We are going to use this data to inform these conversations… It’s rewarding to see that transformation of students from the budding scholars when they come here in their first week to the confident researchers who present and discuss their research as experts.”

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