How many times has a course in your major left you begging, wishing that there was more time to really get into the subject matter or explore one or two ideas in greater detail? Have you ever sat through a lecture, completed a lab project, or read through your text and wondered: "how do we really know that?" or "how is this kind of research actually done?" Can you picture yourself at a microscope analyzing tree rings? …or examining how land-use and zoning policies affect encroachment on rural land? …or building a GIS to model precipitation runoff from a new development? …or having become so familiar with the radar images of a tornado that you picture them in your dreams? …or counting white oak saplings in a regenerating forest? …or extracting soil cores to measure carbon levels in prairie or agricultural soils?…or documenting the impacts to residential and commercial development following the widening of a highway in your hometown? …or digging through climate records to see if winters really were colder and snowier back in the good old days?
The Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program (URAP), sponsored by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the university's Undergraduate Special Opportunities in Artistry and Research (USOAR) program offer undergraduates the opportunity to participate in short-term, mentored research projects. Faculty in the Department of Geography and staff in the Cartography Lab and GIS Lab regularly sponsor URAP and/or USOAR projects. Project descriptions vary from semester to semester, but in all cases students work one-on-one with the faculty or staff person in a department research lab.
If the idea of expanding your horizons beyond the classroom or participating in cutting-edge geographic or meteorological research intrigues you, please explore LA&S Undergraduate Research and Artistry Day and NIU's USOAR