Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

Don’t underestimate research opportunities

Avery Thorpe

Finding opportunities outside the classroom to advance your career goals can be daunting. Whether looking for internships on Handshake or browsing through campus organizations, finding experience to supplement your education can be difficult — especially if you don’t know where to start. 

Undergraduate research is an under-utilized tool, generally pursued by students who plan to apply to graduate school. Students should take advantage of the tools UT offers and utilize research to advance their careers, even if they don’t have a postgraduate degree in mind. 

“Many students do have this on their radar. A lot of them have it on their radar, specifically, because they already have grad school or med school or another postgraduate degree in mind,” said Robert Reichle, director of the Office of Undergraduate Research. 

Research can be a wonderful way to help students grow academically and professionally, offering insight into what your major and field are like in practice and helping expand your skill sets. UT is one of the best research universities in the nation, with groundbreaking technology and expert faculty. 

“Doing research is a form of, what they call, experiential learning,” Reichle said. 

Experiential learning is the process of learning by doing. It provides students with opportunities to apply the knowledge gained in their classes to real-world problems. Many studies prove the benefits of experiential learning

“That’s a really unique opportunity for learning,” Reichle said. “In terms of how people learn, you almost have to carry it out to learn in this way. So, (research) is incredibly valuable for that.” 

The Office of Undergraduate Research provides ample information on undergraduate research opportunities. 

“The model for getting involved in research usually comes down to the student (becoming) aware of a research opportunity or research that’s happening that some faculty is doing, and they start a conversation with a professor, really just asking them whether they can become involved in that project,” Reichle said.

Asking UT faculty about their research can be intimidating, but the Office of Undergraduate Research provides a template for students to follow. They also suggest using research as an opportunity to learn more about one’s desired field. 

Research allows students to make informed decisions about their future endeavors, providing certainty regarding their aspirations. 

“I am confident about using my coding skills in other settings, even if it’s not STEM related,” neuroscience sophomore Arshia Verma said. 

Participating in research helps cultivate both specialized and broad skills, applicable to classroom and real-world scenarios. This includes writing skills, presentation skills and extensive knowledge of the academic literature within the research topic.

“Reading through so much scientific literature is a big thing that you learn from research, knowing what is important, what’s not. And being able to condense that when you’re writing papers,” Verma said.

The skills cultivated by engaging in research can also boost your GPA. According to the National Library of Medicine, participation in research for more than a semester correlates with an increase in GPA. 

Whether you pursue higher education or want a job at The New York Times, research is a wonderful tool for helping you reach your goals while making a meaningful contribution to society and possibly getting your name on a published paper. 


Kondaveeti is an English junior from Austin, Texas.

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