Kansas State University


The Pilots Program

Undergraduate Research is NOT just for Scientists

Conducting research as an undergraduate is an excellent way to gain experiences and skills that will benefit you both academically and professionally. In addition to exploring your areas of interest in-depth, undergraduate research develops skills in collaborative learning and critical thinking. For students interested in pursuing grad school, undergraduate research is a way of expanding your education outside of the classroom and better preparing yourself for the rigors of graduate study. Even if you are unsure about graduate studies, conducting undergraduate research is a way of exploring your research interests and testing the suitability of a research career to your interests. Visit the Office of Undergraduate Research and Creative Inquiry to see what opportunities are available and how to get involved!

Two of our very own Pilots students are currently working as undergraduate research assistants.  Read below to see how they got started and how valuable the experience can be.


Jacob Sanderson – Psychological Sciences Jacob Sanderson

Jacob is currently working in the Department of Psychological Sciences with Dr. Pickens conducting experiments with rats.  Dr. Pickens research focuses on alcohol and decision-making associated with learning tasks.

Why do undergraduate research?

“There is real world relevance to all the terms and theories outlined in your classes so participating in research solidifies these principles through application.”

What do you like about doing research?

“Learning by watching and participating. Asking questions about the process helps me understand how to construct a research design.”

How do you suggest getting involved?

“Cast a wide net that goes further than your specific interests. One of the best ways to learn something is to understand what you don’t know.  If you are curious about participating in undergraduate research, I encourage you to just jump in. I personally have no special skills that make me the ideal researcher, but what I lack in skills, I make up for in curiosity.”

Lauren Sullivan – Business Management

Lauren Sullivan

Lauren currently works in the department of Management Information Systems with Dr. McHaney. She is gathering information from social media sites from people she can connect with on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to assess the differences in lingo used on these three sites. Later, Lauren will input the data into a program that will analyze patterns of words to identify different emotions and personality types.

Why do undergraduate research?

“It can help broaden your interests and go beyond what your major entails.  My major is business management, but I can find ways that the information I gain in research can be applied to my future career.”

So the College of Business faculty do research too? I didn’t know that!

“I didn’t either! I never thought I’d be able to be a part of a research team since my major is business management, but after networking with my Pilots PA, I found out that even fields that aren’t science-related have problems that need solved. Even Professors from different universities are collaborating with us on this project!”

How do you suggest getting involved?

“Just reach out to professors.  Even if they aren’t currently in the middle of a project, they likely know someone who is. Be open minded because it can provide some really great connections for the future.”



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *