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:
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?
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.
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.