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Summer Research Fair open to all levels of experience at Ohio State

Theresa Brady / For The Lantern

One of the only things to fear in research is doubting yourself.
But Mariam Hussain, a third-year in neuroscience and psychology, has been involved with research for four years and knows first-hand research isn’t for everyone.
A 2012 Undergraduate Pelotonia Undergraduate Student Fellow, Hussain said she thinks that students interested in research should approach it cautiously.
“It’s a very weird field to navigate but you have to kind of go for it, and just try to keep in mind that if it won’t work, it won’t work. If research is not for you, then that’s fine, but don’t get too afraid of just the fact of who you’re working with or the fact that you might not be good at it,” Hussain said. “(Research) might not be a good fit but you won’t know unless you actually do it.”
Summer research opportunities will be on display from 4:30-6 p.m. Wednesday at the William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library in Room 165.
The Summer Research Fair, hosted by the Undergraduate Research Office, was initially designed for students familiar with research. After about 150 participants signed up, the URO decided to alter this year’s event to accommodate those new to research.
“This is geared toward students who are already doing research and who want to do research in the summer, usually upperclassmen, but last year we had a lot of freshmen come, and we want to help them, too,” said Mara Penrose, URO program assistant.
The fair does not require that students bring anything, and many research programs do not have a GPA threshold.
“It’s more important for the students to gather information about the programs, than for the programs to gather information about the students,” Penrose said.
Jeff Mason, director of the Pelotonia Undergraduate Student Fellowship Program, an organization participating in the fair, said inexperience shouldn’t hold students back.
“I don’t want students to think they can’t come because they haven’t found a mentor, they haven’t updated their résumé, they haven’t figured out what their major is going to be,” Mason said. “People with no experience and no road map for where they want to go in research can come to the fair to talk to people that are in research and that can give them guidance.”
The fair will have research available for many majors, especially those that deal with science, said Chris Winslow, assistant director of the Ohio Sea Grant College Program, also an organization expected to have a presence at the fair.
“There’s molecular opportunities research there … pretty much all the STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) things I know are represented,” Winslow said.
While research traditionally lends itself to specific majors, there will also be opportunities for others as well, Mason said. The Pelotonia Undergraduate Student Fellowship Program provides students with a one-year job and $12,000 annual stipend, according to The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute website, and has in the past help funded students in fields such as history, communications and business.
“It might be a little more investigative work that (students) would need to do, but there are opportunities for research in any field,” Mason said.
Students should not let their presuppositions stop them from doing research, Penrose said.
“The actual doing of the research is not super academic, it’s another way of learning that’s hands on,” Penrose said. “Some people find that … they excel at research because it’s more doing and learning from doing.”

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