Powerful Skills from Undergraduate Research | MIT J-WEL

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Powerful Skills from Undergraduate Research

Resource Visibility: J-WEL pK-12, J-WEL Higher Education, J-WEL Workforce Learning

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  • Hazel Sive
    Professor, Department of Biology; Director, Higher Education @ J-WEL Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Successful and employable students have a broad skill set, that comes from academics, problem-solving acumen and personal growth. In this J-WEL Higher Education webinar, Professor Hazel Sive discusses how undergraduate research promotes the development of all three parts of this skill set. 

Education and research interdigitate in the most productive ways.
We can define research as ‘the process of solving problems in an organized way’.

Undergraduates can get research experience through the following approaches:

  • Lecture class: discuss application of concepts
  • Lecture class: write research papers
  • Hands-on classes: can include research
  • Faculty research: undergraduate projects
  • Extracurricular: research in Makerspaces
  • Industry: internships

Education comes from research where students...

  • Understand the relevance of concepts
  • Exposed to multidisciplinary, real-life problems
  • Understand innovation + entrepreneurship
  • Gain valuable technical skills 
  • Become confident in solving problems 
  • Learn how to communicate project progression 

In turn, research comes from education since...

  • Faculty explore new research topics by teaching them
  • Undergraduate students can be effective researchers who 
    • Start new projects
    • Contribute to ongoing research/ product development
    • Refine existing/ try new techniques
    • Analyze and interpret data  
    • Prepare papers, posters, talks
    • Teach other students

Topics: Student Motivation Project-Based Learning University Design

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