Office of Undergraduate Research
Fall is the busiest part of the academic year for office staff. Research fellows in their junior year present their research to the college community from September through December.
Likewise, sophomores are invited to apply for the Oberlin College Research Fellowship Program, the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, or both—depending upon the student's eligibility. Applications are due in early November. Interested students are encouraged to identify a mentor in their eventual major (or a related field): faculty mentors from 2008 can be found here.
In November, the Committee on Undergraduate Research reviews the applications and selects the ten Oberlin College Research Fellows and five Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows for the following two summers. Students are notified by the end of fall semester.
During their sophomore year, students are advised to use their winter term deliberately, either to explore a possible field site of interest, to work with their proposed faculty mentor, or both. During their junior year, students are advised to use winter term as an opportunity to re-visit some of the questions left unaddressed over summer or, if they are interested in taking their research a new direction, to explore the relevant academic literature.
From February to May, students who are in their second year of either fellowship present their research to the college community. Juniors take more advanced coursework in their major fields of study, and thereby prepare themselves for a second and more intensive summer of research.
The Oberlin Summer Research Institute
For students on either fellowship, the Oberlin Summer Research Institute begins the first week of June, and ends the last week of July. The Institute comprises the students and faculty coordinated through this office, as well as dozens of students working on collaborative projects with faculty members in the natural sciences and mathematics, the social sciences, the arts and humanities, and the conservatory. (Students interested in learning more about on-campus student assistantships, during the summer and the school year, should talk to the appropriate department chair.) Each summer, more than 100 students conduct research on campus and participate in the professional development workshops coordinated largely by this office. These workshops explore the construction of academic arguments, the writing process, faculty research programs, proposal writing, and strategies for taking the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). This office also coordinates social and cultural activities in greater Northeast Ohio for summer research assistants, to provide a nice balance to the long hours spent in the lab, the library, and the community.