An Opportunity for Undergraduates

Whether you plan to go on to grad school or a job in industry, the single best thing you can do to advance your career is particpate in undergraduate research. Check out:


Undergraduate Research Opportunities in Computing (UROC)

In 1998, I started a new initiative in the College of Computing to encourage undergraduates to do research: the Undergraduate Research Opportunities in Computing (UROC) Program. It is modelled after MIT's UROP program. As a graduate student at MIT, I was impressed both by the meaningful contribution undergraduate research assistants were able to make, and by the ways their participation enhanded their educational experience. This approach to learning also fits well with the approach that underlies my research. In educational terms, research is project-based/"constructionist" learning and "legitimate peripheral participation."

  • Orientation
  • Each fall, a UROC representative speaks to incoming freshman about the value of doing research, and distributes job-hunting information.
  • Job Fairs
  • Twice a year, UROC holds job fairs. Faculty come to talk about the jobs they have available, for both pay and credit.
  • Funding Opportunities
  • UROC tries to keep faculty and students aware of opportunities for funding undergraduate research. For example, if a faculty member has an NSF grant, it is a relatively easy for them to apply for a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) Supplement .
  • Spring Research Symposium
  • Each spring, students have an opportunity to show off research they have done in the annual UROC Research Symposium. Students do demos and put up posters showing their work. A panel of faculty judges choses winners, and a separate set of winners are picked by popular vote. The College of Computing community is invited.



Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP)

In 2004, I wrote a proposal that led to the creation of Georgia Tech's Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP). UROP was selected as one of two focuses of Georgia Tech's Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) for the Institute's successful application for SACS reaccreditation. Our plan created a new Research Option, in which undergraduates take 9 units of supervised research (for either pay or credit) and write a thesis. I chaired the search committee for our first Director of Undergraduate Research in 2005, and again in 2010 when the position was expanded to Director of Undergraduate Research and Student Innovation. I chair the Undergraduate Research Advisory Group (URAG), the faculty committee charged with advising GT UROP.