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.”