Research Assistant Information

A Summer Research Assistant is a position with a faculty member that conforms to the Research Assistant Policies. The 2017 stipend rate is $430 per week for a 40 hour equivalent ($10.75 per hr).

Mentored-Research Tips For Student Research Assistants

To create a productive research experience with your faculty mentor, it is important to establish clear and agreed-upon roles and expectations for the project, whether during the summer or academic year. Here are some suggestions:

Understanding Expectations

  • Discuss with your faculty mentor the weekly schedule, including the number of hours and days/times you will be working on the research project.
  • Discuss the general and specific expectations your faculty mentor has of you, including any required readings, writings, meetings and projects.
  • Discuss the project timeline. Note specific milestones within the workplan and expected completion dates.

Your Responsibilities and Preparation

  • Discuss your responsibilities with your faculty mentor. What independent decisions can you make, if any? How should you document your work and in what format?  What is expected with respect to interim reports, regular meetings, final products, and presentations?
  • Talk with your faculty mentor about the relevant training and resources you need for this research. Do you need to be trained in chemical or other laboratory safety procedures?  Do you know how and where to access necessary resources for photocopying, ordering supplies, and signing equipment out from the department or general stockroom?
  • Have your been trained in the responsible conduct of research and research ethics? Students working on NSF-funded projects are required to complete relevant CITI research training modules. CITI research training modules are available to Middlebury students even if not required. Contact URO for more information.

 Ongoing Communication and Goal Assessment

  • Know how you can best communicate with your faculty mentor. Does she or he have an open-door policy? Does he or she prefer appointments? Will your faculty mentor be out of town for an extended period? Who can you contact if the faculty mentor is unavailable?
  • Have regular meetings with your faculty mentor to provide feedback on the quality and quantity of your work. Set these meetings up ahead of time, before problems develop, and use them as opportunities to ask questions and receive feedback about your work.
  • Talk with your faculty mentor about the role of your work in the bigger research project. Are there new skills you can learn to contribute more to the research?  
  • Think about your own goals—academic, personal, and/or skill-based—and what you hope to accomplish during the research. Assess your progress periodically and at the end of the research period.
  • Talk with your faculty mentor about the skills, competencies, and learning they see you develop during the research experience. 

 Building From Your Research Experience

  • Think about how your research experience is adding to your understanding of your field of study and your academic and possible professional interests.
  • Learn how to accurately and appropriately describe your contribution to the research and the skills and insights you gained in your resume, CV, and future cover letters. Your faculty mentor and a career counselor are both helpful advisors for this.
  • Participate in the summer or spring student symposium to share your work in the research.

Acknowledgements: Thanks to the Undergraduate Research Office, University of Missouri for many of these suggestions. See  https://undergradresearch.missouri.edu/faculty/getting-started.php