Student News

Make Research Part of Your Undergraduate Experience

UK professor Robin Cooper, Ph.D. with undergraduate student researcher Cecilia Pankau.
UK professor Robin Cooper, Ph.D., with undergraduate student researcher Cecilia Pankau.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Sept. 3, 2021) — As a top-tier research institution, the University of Kentucky has hundreds of opportunities for undergraduates to engage in research and creative work alongside world-class faculty, researchers and scholars.

Undergraduates looking to participate in research and creative work should start with UK’s Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR). The office, which serves as a year-round resource to help connect students to research opportunities, will host information sessions every week this month for students interested in making mentored research and creative work a part of their college experience.

“The sessions are intended for undergraduate students across all levels and all majors, even those who are still undecided,” said Jesi Jones-Bowman, student program and marketing specialist with OUR. “Participating in undergraduate research is not only linked to career and academic success, it helps students discover what they are passionate about. Students don’t have to come here knowing exactly what they want to do. Research allows them to dip their toes in different areas to figure out what they like. It opens their eyes to new interests and new possibilities.”

In addition, research at UK is not only for students interested in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields, it extends across all disciplines.

At the events, OUR Undergraduate Research Ambassadors who represent 19 different research areas on campus, will be on hand to guide students through the process — from identifying opportunities to connecting with faculty mentors. As peers currently undertaking mentored research and creative work, the ambassadors give a student perspective to the experience and address some common questions and misperceptions about undergraduate research.

The student ambassadors support OUR’s efforts to connect students to research opportunities throughout the year. The office also links students to presentation, internship and funding opportunities. OUR currently funds seven competitive awards programs including Virtual Research Travel Grants and Summer Research Fellowships.

“UK is uniquely positioned as one of only eight institutions in the country with liberal arts, engineering, professional, agricultural and medical colleges and disciplines on one campus,” Jones-Bowman said. “We encourage students to take advantage of the innovation and discovery taking place here early on and we’re here to help them discover what’s wildly possible with research at UK.”

Students can register for information sessions here or visit for more information.

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.