Students Find Research Opportunities through COSAM Fair
The Office of Student Services in the College of Sciences and Mathematics (COSAM) recently held a Research Opportunities Fair for COSAM students to showcase research opportunities available to them throughout Auburn University.
Representatives from COSAM labs that included Biological Sciences, Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Geosciences were available with information on research opportunities at the event along with the Harrison School of Pharmacy, AU College of Veterinary Medicine and Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM).
The event, which took place on February 12 in the Student Center Ballroom, was first held last spring for the Department of Biological Sciences. This year, the fair was open to additional departments.
“The process of finding undergraduate research opportunities can be confusing and stressful for students,” said COSAM Student Advisor and coordinator of the event Katy Crider. “So last year, I started the COSAM Undergraduate Research Ambassadors to give students another resource for navigating this process. (Advisor) Valerie Tisdale and I teamed up to try to elevate some of that stress and confusion by holding a few events. I held an info session on the logistics behind undergraduate research while Valerie planned a fair for the Biological Sciences department that was held in the Rouse atrium. Both were so successful that we decided to team up with other departments to expand the fair this year.”
This year, 21 labs from the three COSAM departments and the professional schools were represented.
Ashley Armas, a sophomore studying Biomedical Sciences/Pre-med, thought the event was helpful.
“This event is very helpful because I will need research soon,” she said. “It’s a nice opportunity to find people outside of your professors, because it can be hard since there are 200 people in the class.”
Dr. Doug Goodwin, an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, said he regularly hires undergraduate students to work in his lab and the Research Opportunities Fair was a nice opportunity to find interested students.
“I think it’s a great way to get students in touch with faculty and labs that are interested in bringing students into the lab,” Dr. Goodwin said. “I think a lot of times there is a mismatch there. Students will often come to see me about doing research in the lab at a time when I’ve already got no space in the lab, and by the same token, when there’s room in the lab for students to join then I’m not getting them coming to my office. This is a nice way to kind of put the two – openings and interested students – together at the same time.”
Crider added that the Research Opportunities Fair was an overall success and, although there are not yet any concrete plans for a fair next year, several students have inquired about having the event again.
“We were happy with the turnout,” she said. “Around 50 students were able to talk with representatives from these labs to find a good fit for them.”