2017 MATC Scholars Program: Dr. Timothy Carr
Dr. Timothy Carr, Dean of Graduate Education at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, discusses "Research Experiences for Undergraduates". For more information, please visit http://matc.unl.edu/education/scholars-program2017.php.
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[00:00:00.060]What I do know I learned from Dr. Perez.
[00:00:04.093]No, this is a good opportunity for me to be here.
[00:00:06.172]I wanna know how many of you are seniors.
[00:00:13.678]How many are juniors?
[00:00:23.243]So, this is important because
[00:00:27.455]I was asked to talk about Research Experiences
[00:00:31.963]So now that I see who's here, how many of you have done
[00:00:38.492]how about a McNair?
[00:00:40.788]Anybody a McNair?
[00:00:43.098]So some of you have done this.
[00:00:44.930]I guess the most important thing is
[00:00:48.141]how valuable it is to try to get some
[00:00:51.008]of the research experience before you start applying
[00:00:54.912]to those fellowships that Dr. Jones was talking about.
[00:00:59.555]Because when you ask
[00:01:03.422]the mentor for a letter of recommendation, if you have
[00:01:06.594]engaged in research, if you've been working out
[00:01:12.129]in the community, working in a laboratory,
[00:01:15.425]and that mentor can write a letter and talk about,
[00:01:19.827]very specifically, about the things that you have done,
[00:01:25.207]That's gonna make the difference of getting the fellowship.
[00:01:28.917]And so, I was asked to talk a little bit about
[00:01:34.207]Okay, now this is gonna be a soft sell
[00:01:36.626]for University of Nebraska, because I wanna tell you
[00:01:40.331]a little bit about what we've done here.
[00:01:45.612]And I'm gonna do it by telling you the story
[00:01:51.197]of three different students.
[00:01:54.005]And they may have had a background similar to yours.
[00:01:58.730]I don't mean this to offend anybody, I just think
[00:02:04.352]it's important to recognize that UNL
[00:02:10.945]graduate student population is less than 10%
[00:02:14.973]people of color.
[00:02:19.167]That's a challenge for us.
[00:02:20.957]We want to attract people to Nebraska
[00:02:25.314]where there's no oceans,
[00:02:29.618]there's no mountains,
[00:02:31.732]there's no big lakes, there's not a lot of those things
[00:02:36.377]that look really cool and fun to do outside of your work.
[00:02:41.663]And so it's a little more challenging.
[00:02:43.290]So we have to rely on the people that are here.
[00:02:47.314]We have to rely on the fact that we have to rely on
[00:02:50.939]the students that come here to help tell the story.
[00:02:53.906]And that's why I wanted to tell the story of three students.
[00:02:58.260]And I'm the only thing standing between you and lunch.
[00:03:01.144]So I promise, I'm gonna be done by 12 o'clock, okay?
[00:03:08.758]we have a summer research experience program.
[00:03:15.366]And this program is 10 weeks.
[00:03:19.571]It's pretty intense.
[00:03:20.791]I mean, it's basically the whole summer.
[00:03:23.072]And it's a competitive application.
[00:03:26.373]2,000 applications for about 110, 112 positions.
[00:03:33.083]So, it is competitive.
[00:03:38.171]But the real important thing here
[00:03:41.871]is that these are professors that are doing research.
[00:03:45.247]These are faculty members that have been here
[00:03:48.956]in a variety of areas, and they are taking students.
[00:03:52.499]You are becoming part of their work.
[00:03:58.724]For professors to volunteer to participate in this
[00:04:02.470]is a big commitment on their part, but it also shows
[00:04:06.053]how committed they are to you, to undergraduates,
[00:04:10.778]to try to get you into the system.
[00:04:13.637]Because if you can get your foot in the door,
[00:04:17.341]that is a big step because now you've got a lot
[00:04:20.266]of value when you prepare applications for fellowships
[00:04:25.277]and for even just getting into graduate school.
[00:04:31.418]I put professional development up there, but the personal
[00:04:34.083]development is also a big deal.
[00:04:36.689]And the students' stories will help with that.
[00:04:40.431]Hands on experiences.
[00:04:41.451]And then, the communication pieces is also important.
[00:04:45.765]You get to tell the story of what research you did
[00:04:48.614]over the summer in a symposium at the end
[00:04:53.129]where it's open to the whole university.
[00:04:57.039]It's really open to the public, anybody can come.
[00:05:00.372]So it's a great opportunity.
[00:05:03.219]I'm gonna tell you the story of Ashlee.
[00:05:06.795]She came back two years.
[00:05:09.324]So she first came in the summer of 2016.
[00:05:14.530]She came back last year, and she's in the process
[00:05:16.890]right now, of applying for a graduate education here.
[00:05:24.705]She didn't have to come here.
[00:05:29.844]She could have gone just about anywhere.
[00:05:32.533]But it was those relationships that she forged
[00:05:35.793]with her professors and her friends and other people
[00:05:40.028]in the program.
[00:05:40.861]But it was the professors that made the difference for her.
[00:05:44.621]Now, she's in the biology area.
[00:05:50.705]And then, here's Marissa, who came to us.
[00:05:53.145]She's a sociologist.
[00:05:57.417]And she became part of our Minority Health
[00:06:00.620]It's a consortium of a lot of people on campus
[00:06:03.657]and in the community that are doing really cool research.
[00:06:08.430]Focusing a lot on immigrant, migrant populations
[00:06:18.245]She was here in 2016,
[00:06:23.275]and she got accepted into graduate school here
[00:06:26.002]in the Sociology Department.
[00:06:28.731]But she came back early.
[00:06:30.483]She came back at the beginning of this summer
[00:06:33.976]because she wanted to help coordinate the summer
[00:06:37.434]It meant so much to her that she wanted to come back
[00:06:39.284]and be part of it.
[00:06:40.670]So she basically worked at it to help get new students
[00:06:45.799]coming into the system.
[00:06:52.512]I gotta read somethin' to you, what Marissa said.
[00:06:57.223]Let's see if I can find it quickly here.
[00:07:12.567]in response to a question, "What did you like
[00:07:14.857]"about the summer research experiences?"
[00:07:17.629]The very first thing she said was the connections.
[00:07:21.004]And she goes on to, no, I'm not readin' the whole thing.
[00:07:23.217]She said the connections.
[00:07:25.550]Connections with the professors,
[00:07:27.434]connections with the community, the people she was working
[00:07:30.440]with in the community, the clients if you will,
[00:07:40.248]Graduate education really is all about connections.
[00:07:45.087]And I think that's really a take home message.
[00:07:49.808]And then there's Raul who came to us--
[00:07:52.263]Now we're getting into some engineering.
[00:07:56.931]He's a DACA student.
[00:07:59.229]He came in 2014, he stayed here,
[00:08:02.297]got his masters degree.
[00:08:04.685]Well, he first did the summer research experience,
[00:08:09.366]connected with the professors who saw his skills,
[00:08:13.889]saw all of his potential.
[00:08:16.719]They got 'em into the program, he just finished, in August,
[00:08:20.940]his masters degree in electrical engineering, and he just
[00:08:24.847]signed up for the doctoral program.
[00:08:27.674]So he's stayin' here for the whole thing.
[00:08:30.629]What a great story.
[00:08:33.450]And as you've heard time and time again, this isn't easy.
[00:08:38.004]It's not for everybody.
[00:08:42.069]The fact that he saw value in what's here
[00:08:48.050]makes me feel good.
[00:08:51.428]But these are just some of the things that a summer
[00:08:54.978]or any kind of undergraduate research opportunity
[00:09:01.947]Now you've been hearing about budgets and fellowships
[00:09:07.439]and experiences and why graduate school.
[00:09:10.260]You're hearing all of these things.
[00:09:13.906]But don't wait 'til the last minute.
[00:09:16.567]Get involved in things now, and get those connections
[00:09:24.024]it's really huge.
[00:09:26.080]Now, I have to be honest.
[00:09:28.251]When I was asked to talk about this,
[00:09:31.691]I thought, "How much credibility am I gonna have?"
[00:09:34.732]This middle aged white guy standin' up here talkin'
[00:09:37.087]to you guys.
[00:09:41.920]And it'll probably not mean a lot to you if I told you
[00:09:46.236]that I had my own set of struggles.
[00:09:49.397]"Yeah right, whatever."
[00:09:52.067]But I grew up in central California,
[00:09:56.818]in a migrant worker community.
[00:10:02.344]My parents couldn't afford anything.
[00:10:06.139]I'm a first gen.
[00:10:08.476]All those things that Dr. Perez was talking about.
[00:10:12.207]He and I have talked about this quite a bit actually.
[00:10:17.907]Those things do impact decision making.
[00:10:20.668]There's no question about it.
[00:10:24.677]And when you're making decisions about
[00:10:26.845]what to get involved in,
[00:10:30.272]financial situations, family situations,
[00:10:34.139]things like this do impact decision making.
[00:10:38.708]My advice, from my own experience,
[00:10:42.773]is don't wait for somebody to help you.
[00:10:49.710]Get in their faces.
[00:10:53.755]Be an irritation to people.
[00:10:56.527]Keep at it, keep at it.
[00:11:00.262]Don't ask just once.
[00:11:02.401]Keep asking 'til you get it.
[00:11:05.155]Because it does make a difference.
[00:11:10.325]This is your life, this is your career choice,
[00:11:13.337]keep pounding away at it.
[00:11:15.544]It will make a difference.
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