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Building a framework for inclusive undergraduate research

Published onJun 01, 2020
Building a framework for inclusive undergraduate research

Nearly all graduate programs for astrophysics give preference to applicants with prior research experience. However, not all universities are adequately funded to provide the resources necessary to aid undergraduates in the development of research skills to become ideal candidates for graduate school. To address the many barriers undergraduates face gaining research skills, we discuss the framework used by the student-led Undergraduate Lab at Berkeley (ULAB) and how this framework can be applied at other universities to bolster student accessibility, experience, and retention in research. ULAB provides an environment where students plan, design, execute, and analyze an experiment over the course of a year under the guidance of more senior students who have already acquired university-level research experience. Within this framework, ULAB also employs student-designed curriculum, resources, and mentorship programs through close relationships within the university's relevant departments. With departmental support, ULAB has direct access to faculty and graduate students to review quality and relevance within curriculum topics.

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