Researcher of the Month:
Noel Scudder , Physics, Astronomy / Planetary Sciences majors (class of 2015), Honors College. Research area: Understanding the mineralogy of Mars from remote sensing data (Mentor: Dr. Timothy Glotch, Geosciences).
FAQs about Research
Why do research?
There is a synergy between research and classroom learning. Research enables students to engage in hands-on, discovery-based learning, to develop critical skills while examining a subject in collaboration with outstanding scientists and scholars, and to contribute to the production of knowledge. Go to the interviews of our featured Researchers of the Month and see what students say about the benefits of research!
When can I start?
All Stony Brook undergraduates—including freshmen and transfer students—are eligible to participate in independent supervised research and creative activities. Most students earn academic credit for their research activities (e.g. 487, 488, and/or 499 courses), although some students work for pay or do it through workstudy. A small number are supported by special fellowships. Others begin as volunteers in a lab. Whichever option you choose, all students engaged in a supervised research or creative project must register (even it is for zero credits). An early start on research can be valuable; but keep in mind that preparatory coursework may be required by a faculty mentor and may provide a necessary foundation for doing substantial research later in your undergraduate career. Students who undertake independent projects in their junior and senior years still have the opportunity to collaborate with Stony Brook faculty, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows and to become involved in cutting-edge work.
Should I do research in the summer?
Opportunities are particularly good during the summer when many universities offer programs in a wide variety of subjects. These programs enable students to have a sustained, in-depth research experience. Participants usually receive a stipend, and free room, board and roundtrip airfare as well. Please note that most summer fellowship programs require a full time commitment (i.e. no other coursework or employment).
Is there funding available?
Check On-Campus Opportunities for updates and announcements regarding research fellowships, grants and internships. The URECA program offers URECA small/travel grants and summer fellowships. In addition, externally-funded programs such as the the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and REU Site Programs provide stipend support for students engaged in research on and off campus.
Social science projects: do I need approval by the Human Subjects Board?
For more info, click here.
If I'm accepted into a lab, do I need any special training?
For lab safety training, consult the Environmental Health & Safety website. You may, for instance, need to take ELS 002 (Lab Safety-Chem Hazards) and ENV 001 (Hazardous Waste Management). Consult with your mentor whether ELS 003 (Biohazards) is required.
Your best information about a particular lab will probably come from talking with other students or with members of the lab, including graduate students, technicians and post docs. You may also wish to consult such practical guides as At the Bench: A Laboratory Navigator by Kathy Barker (Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press, 1998).