Skip to main content

Getting Started with Undergraduate Research

Where Do I Begin?

I want to gain hands-on experience, but I don't know when, where, or how to begin. Help, please!

You aren’t alone, and you’ve come to the right place! CRF is here to help you navigate the world of research at Villanova and beyond. 


1. Start Small

We generally recommend that future researchers connect with faculty in their academic home base. Visit your department’s website and find its directory of faculty members. Say you are a biology major. Here is what you will find for your department:


Villanova faculty profile
Villanova faculty profile

2. Do Your Homework

Browse the list of faculty profiles and make note of publications, research projects, or labs (if applicable) that intrigue you. 


3. Reach Out

Draft a quick email to this faculty member (or members). Here is an example to get you started:


Dear Professor Wildcat,

I am a rising sophomore who recently declared a major in biology. Last semester, I learned about A [topic, breakthrough, innovative approach, application, etc.] in B class. I am eager to learn more about the fascinating work you have done in C area [research project, lab work, etc.]. Could we find a time to chat?


Diligent Student


4. Connect

Find a time to meet with the faculty member. Add the day, time, and location to your calendar. Spend some time preparing for this informal meeting by drafting questions you might ask. Always have questions at the ready as this demonstrates your interest and initiative! The professor will likely assume you are interested in working with them. If they do not broach the topic, ask how and when students typically get involved. 


5. Follow Up

Send a short thank you note after your meeting. Be sure to include something you learned through your exchange and reiterate your interest in conducting research. 


The Road Ahead

Research Opens Doors!

You will hone your skills in self-advocacy, communication, collaboration, problem solving, networking, and more. Villanovan student researchers also benefit from mentoring and professional development opportunities. Looking ahead, you should consider competitive fellowships, grants, and scholarships to support your research activities. These include internal opportunities like the Villanova Undergraduate Research Fellows Summer Program (VURF) or national competitions like the Fulbright Student Program.

Campus door

Meet with Us

Remember that CRF is here to support you for the duration of your academic journey! We will help you identify opportunities, make connections, and pilot your next steps from internships to graduate school.

Contact Information

Center for Research and Fellowships
Garey Hall 200 (top floor) 
800 Lancaster Avenue
Villanova, PA 19085
Phone: 610-519-8803
Fax: 610-519-6623

Catherine Stecyk
Director, Center for Research and Fellowships & Presidential Scholars Program

Chelsea Benincasa
Associate Director, Center for Research and Fellowships & Presidential Scholars Program

Kelsey Fenner
Assistant Director, Center for Research and Fellowships

Gray Kidd, PhD
Assistant Director, Center for Research and Fellowships

Emily Wetzel-Ulrich
Assistant Director, Center for Research and Fellowships

Kate Vicente
Sr. Administrative Assistant, Center for Research and Fellowships