The MSRE Project that Keeps on Giving

by Jenn Andersen, McNair graduate assistant and UNL McNair Alum

My MSRE project kept me busy, not only during the first summer, but also during my senior year, the summer after that, and through my first year and a half of graduate school. My project isn’t something I’m now studying (I switched disciplines for graduate school), but it gave me a head start on my graduate school work. Here are some ideas for making your MSRE project the gift that keeps on giving.

  1. Use your MSRE project as a senior thesis (dependent on department). UNL’s College of Arts and Sciences requires a senior thesis to graduate with the highest distinction, and to ensure graduating with high distinction or distinction. I used my project (with some added work) as my senior thesis. Check with your department on how your paper might help you work towards this goal.
  1. Use it as your writing sample for graduate school applications. You have worked very hard on getting your MSRE project done. Why not use it as your writing sample for graduate school applications? This is especially important if you are applying for graduate school the Fall semester after MSRE.

  1. Think about a second study/project. You have access to the data from your first project, why not use your project as a launching pad for a second study? This was an idea my faculty mentor came up with for my study, and it allowed me to keep presenting my paper long after I graduated. I also gained experience working with other undergrads while completing the project. As an added bonus for my graduate student mentor, she was able to talk about her work with me in her job talks.
  1. Keep on presenting. Given that I had a second study, I could present my MSRE research at two more conferences after Berkeley; one poster presentation at an international conference while an undergraduate and one paper presentation at a regional conference during graduate school. You present your research projects a lot while in graduate school (class presentations, conference presentations, brown bag/colloquium presentations), so get all the practice you can! An added benefit is the added lines on your CV.
  1. Publication! After I completed my second study, my graduate student mentor and my faculty mentor helped me to prepare it for publication. While this can be a long process (it took almost two years for mine to be accepted), it is a good start to your publication achievements in graduate school. Plus, it’s pretty cool to look yourself up in Google Scholar for the first time!


With a little bit of planning and a little extra work, I made the most out of my MSRE project. Talk with your faculty mentor and graduate student mentor about how you can make the most out of your MSRE project!

Explore posts in the same categories: Graduate School, MSRE

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