In the past, it was often intimidating to become involved in research, as students would have to send multiple emails to different researchers. Composing the emails alone was daunting, as it was difficult to know just what information to include. Due to the inconsistency of information included, it was also difficult for researchers to comb through the applications they received and choose students. Moreover, many of the researchers that students would email weren’t even looking to mentor undergraduates so the entire effort was wasted. As a result, in the past, it would take weeks for professors to respond to students if at all.
From this dilemma, UNLEASH was born. At its core, UNLEASH is a matching service that pairs undergraduates to mentors of their choice. The service streamlined the entire process into one application that allows undergraduates to present their interest to a variety of mentors in an organized manner. The system allows those mentors to easily compare multiple undergraduates to find the student who will best fit in their lab. The waiting time has been drastically reduced, so undergraduates can very quickly know if they have been accepted to the labs that they have applied to.
Undergraduates from all disciplines are encouraged to apply. UNLEASH undergraduates will work one-on-one with faculty and post-doctoral fellows for the genesis of new knowledge. UNLEASH allows undergraduates to sharpen their critical and analytical skills. In addition to complementing and extending their classroom knowledge, UNLEASH will provide a foundation for future graduate-level research and study.
UNLEASH applications will be forwarded to a faculty mentor(s) based on a student’s selection of a specific faculty member and the discipline of interest that the student has chosen. Research experiences are widely variable and the details should be discussed once the mentor responds to the student. Many students will start as volunteers in a laboratory and as their knowledge grows may eventually qualify for a stipend. Others will choose to participate in research as part of their course work. In this latter case, the student must always consult with their undergraduate program advisor.
The UNLEASH service was initially focused on biomedical research opportunities. The UVa Provost’s office has requested that the service be expanded to all University Departments and Programs. Current listings are rich in opportunities from GSAS science departments and the School of Medicine.
The UNLEASH program is open to currently enrolled U.Va. undergraduates. Non-UVa applications are not considered at this time.
UNLEASH Contact Information:
UNLEASH Undergraduate Research Program
2205 Fontaine Ave, Suite 305
Charlottesville, VA 22903