Sure enough, as the summer heat has arrived here in Lincoln, time has flown by and we are to the halfway point of the McNair Summer Research Experience! Scholars in the past weeks have been dedicated to preparing the framework needed for a successful summer research project, and are now beginning to reap the rewards. The McNair cohort has completed drafts of their Abstracts needed for the Berkeley conference, as well as a draft of their Introduction and Method sections. Many students have even begun to write their results!
One scholar, political science major Brian Schreck, has been particularly immersed in learning the specifics of writing an academic research paper. With guidance of his faculty mentor, political science Professor Sara Michaels, Brian has been focused on accelerating his writing from the level of a typical undergraduate term paper, to that of a formal academic research paper. This is an important distinction that McNair scholars learn during the Summer Research Experience. One significant change from typical undergraduate paper writing is the intended reading audience. Brian mentioned that he has been focused on applying this idea to his writing and, “thinking in terms of the audience for which I am writing and stepping back to make sure it would make sense to someone not completely immersed in the research like myself.” As scholars become “experts” on their topics, this lesson is one that will definitely serve them well in their future roles as graduate students!
As research papers begin to turn into polished PowerPoint and poster presentations , students will undoubtedly begin to feel a bit of “research fatigue”. This is typical, and hopefully scholars can use events like the one the McNair Scholars program hosted Monday night to take a break from all their hard work. Students gathered at El Portrero in the Haymarket and had the chance to informally meet their new Graduate Student Mentors. More on the important role these mentors will play in preparation for graduate study in the the future. For now, Scholars, keep up the good work, and keep working hard! We’re officially in the downward stretch!