Undergraduate Research

Finding A Faculty Mentor

Students and professors discuss the benefits of working together for the Summer Scholars program.

Finding a faculty mentor to sponsor and inform your research is one of the best routes to success. Here are some tips on finding a faculty mentor; also see our page of advice on interview tips.

  1. Search department and program websites. Most departments and programs maintain webpages that describe current faculty research and creative projects. Many faculty maintain their own pages too.
  2. Talk to your professors! Ask questions or visit their office hours to introduce yourself, as most professors prefer to work with students they are familiar with. Ask your teachers what projects they are working on, especially if they are teaching a class you enjoy. Most people love to talk about their research, and will be happy to tell you about it. Many faculty also look for student assistants in the courses that they teach.
  3. Ask your academic advisor. Most professors know about other research happening in their department. They can introduce you to one of their colleagues, if you have not met someone whose research interests you. Your faculty mentor and your academic advisor can be different people.
  4. Does your major use peer advisors? Talk to them, or to other students in your major a year or two ahead of you. Ask them about research they've worked on and the professors they've collaborated with. Another student can introduce you to a professor you haven't yet taken a class from.
  5. Ask your friends and classmates about the interesting projects they have done or know about. Don't hesitate to ask friends in majors other than your own, as some professors participate in multidisciplinary projects that may have a facet to fit your interests.
  6. Look at some examples of projects other students have pursued at Oswego.
  7. Attend the college's Quest day in April to look at the projects other students have worked on. You may be able to continue a project begun by a student who is graduating, or you may be able to start a new but related investigation. Or you might find someone with ideas you like, and work together to come up with a new project.