Research Opportunities

Research Experience is Important

Biology majors whose future plans include post graduate work should strongly consider getting research training. This is most crucial for those interested in getting accepted into top level doctoral programs in biomedical research. Opportunities exist for undergraduate research experience at virtually all major universities and small colleges including Geneva College.

In general, the student spends about 10 weeks in the summer months getting actual research training at the institution. They will work closely with a faculty member and graduate students in a research lab setting. The student will essentially be a full time research assitant directly involved with collecting data, performing laboratory procedures, attending journal club, and giving presentations. A stipend of about ($2,000 to $3,000) is paid and at some institutions, free room and board is provided.

Research Experiences at Geneva College

In the Department of Biology, individual faculty members will sponsor 1 or 2 students per year to do research.In some cases students can elect to do an independent study during the school year which might include part of school holiday. However, most of the research opportunities occur in the summer months.

In the summer, a stipend is usually provided but room and board have to be arranged by the student. It has been the policy of Geneva′s Biology department to only accept Geneva College biology majors. Priority is given to those who a) demonstrate excellence in their coursework, b) intend on applying to graduate school, c) are fulfilling their requirement for the biotechnology certificate and d) have taken courses prerequisite for the research project.

At Geneva, there is no formal or centrally organized application process for summer research fellowships or independent study research. Instead, interested students should contact the faculty member with whom they might want to work. Not all faculty will mentor students in a given year. In addition, some faculty members may require that you take certain coureses before the summer research experience. Students who can make contact early on with a faculty member can usually expect a greater chance at getting research experience.

Geneva Biology Department faculty members and their current research interests.

Dr. David Essig -- muscle diseases; genomics
Dr. Brian Yowler -- neurotoxins
Dr. Daryl Sas -- immunology
Ms. Marjie Tobias -- bird behavior

Research Experiences at Other Schools

Past Geneva students have greatly benefited from being in these types of summer research programs.Virtually all of them were able to get into top tier graduate programs.However, these programs have become extremely competitive. The following is a list of steps you should take to make application. It is important that you pay close attention to the timing of these steps in order to be successful in your application.

By late November/early December of your sophomore or junior year:

1. Consult the list of programs below and visit the respective web sites. Print out or download the application for each.
2. IMPORTANT: Find out when applications can be received (not the deadline). You may have to call to find out.

Before the Christmas holiday:

1. With the blank application forms of possible places you would like to apply, make an appointment with your advisor and let them know that you desire to make application. They may also have some suggestions on where else you might apply or where not to apply.
2. Ask the required number of faculty members for a letter of reference. Tell them when you want it submitted. Provide them with the forms, postal addresses, web site address, email address and a fax number for the programs.
3. Fill out the application forms. Allow time to let your advisor see them. A little editing can go a long way.
4. Make copies of the forms or print out before you submit
5. Submit the applications by the dates when they can first be received.
6. It is important to apply early since these programs are very competitve. Often students who submitted completed applications receive and accept offers to some before the advertised deadline.

After the Christmas holiday:

1. Call the program office and make sure your application is complete. If a letter of reference is missing, contact the faculty member and ask them to fax it in.
2. Call or email faculty members you selected on the application form. Tell them that you are very interested in working in their lab this summer. It is vital that these faculty members know you are excited about getting experience. Be persistent but not obnoxious.

List of Summer Undergraduate Programs (Note: This is not an exhaustive list). Some programs may cease without notice when external funding is no longer available. If you do not see any programs which are near your home, search websites of major universities near you using the key phrase "undergraduate summer research experiences" Those schools with an asterisk (*) denote those who have previously accepted Geneva College students.

*University of Pittsburgh
Carnegie Mellon University
*Case Western Reserve University
Ohio University
Duquesne University
Pennsylvania State University
University of Pennsylvania
*Miami University (OH)
*Ohio State University
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory