Internship gives undergrads a feel for graduate work
Several Queen’s undergraduate students are getting a taste of graduate research this year through a unique opportunity offered by the Matariki Undergraduate Research Network (MURN).
The MURN International Collaborative Program links undergraduate students at three universities in three countries and gives them an authentic research experience while broadening their international perspectives.
“So far, it’s been a great opportunity to get a feel for graduate work and try something new,” says Carly Winters (Artsci’14), a biochemistry student who is researching the experiences of women in science education and in scientific research labs at both Queen’s and Durham University in the United Kingdom. “It has helped me build a network and make connections, both here and internationally.”
Ms. Winters is one of six Queen’s undergraduates participating in the program. While Durham University is not part of the MURN program, it is part of the Matariki Network of Universities (MNU), which developed the collaborative program.
In the MURN program, students work through a series of workshops and online modules that give them introductory research skills, help them formulate a research proposal, and promote collaborative approaches with the other international institutions. Students then work with faculty members to develop their own proposal and conduct their research over the course of several months.
The MURN internships are coordinated by Inquiry@Queen’s and the Centre for Teaching and Learning (CTL) and sponsored by the offices of the Vice-Principal (Research) and the Vice-Provost (International). The program is not credit-eligible but students receive a stipend to complete the internship, which began in February and runs until July. The other universities participating in the program are the University of Western Australia and the University of Otago in New Zealand. Queen’s is participating for the first time this year and plans to offer more internships during the 2013-2014 academic year.
“This program is a great way for undergraduate students to gain valuable research experience and, through their interactions with students and faculty members at the partner institutions, explore diverse approaches and opinions,” says Jim Lee, Vice-Provost (International). “It helps them develop essential communication skills and pushes them to think critically and carefully while conducting research in a truly global setting.”
The MNU is a consortium of seven partner institutions including Queen's that promotes excellence in research, scholarship and education by sharing ideas and expertise, developing collaborations in teaching and research, and implementing international best practice.