Engaging Students

GVSU faculty play a critical role in supporting undergraduate students interested in research, scholarship, and creative work as well as fellowship at the undergraduate and graduate/post-commencement levels. Faculty serve as research mentors, introducing students to inquiry within the disciplines and supporting their growth as scholars and researchers. Faculty also encourage students to consider research as an avenue to better understanding career choices, developing skills of inquiry, and exploring careers in research and creative inquiry.

If you are working with a student who is interested in research or scholarship, please refer the student to the Getting Started Guide and the Undergraduate Research Fair. Or, fill out our Referral Form and we will connect directly with the student. If you are working with a student who may be a candidate for a competitive national or international scholarship, see the Fellowships Primer for Faculty for ways to support the student and help them connect with resources in our office.

If you are interested in bringing students into your own scholarship, consider OURS programs and services for faculty mentors as a place to begin.

First Steps
Every GVSU student can get involved in undergraduate research and scholarship, and every GVSU student is capable of identifying and pursuing fellowship opportunities.  Whether they are a first-year student or a year from graduation, there are many opportunities available in any field or discipline.  For many students, finding an opportunity or project is the hardest part.  While many students find research or fellowship opportunities immediately, finding a research project can be a long process and they may need to contact many people. Be patient and persevere with students who are just getting started. The best way to advise a student is to help them. Please remember that national fellowships are available to GVSU students to help defray the cost of GVSU-administered study abroad, to pursue undergraduate research at major national labs, to engage in research at public and private libraries, and to study critical need languages such as Russian, Hindi, Farsi, Arabic and Mandarin (and more). Fellowships are not just for our graduates - we want to be sure our students know that there are opportunities for undergraduates while they are undergraduate. And some of the major post-commencement fellowships require thoughtful preparation beginning in the winter semester of the junior year if a student intends to go seamlessly from senior year into the fellowship experience (Fulbright U.S. Student Awards would be an example).

Find a subject that interests them
They should think about classes that they have enjoyed or ideas that interest them that do not fall within their major.  Is there something that left them wanting to know more?  What about it was enjoyable?  Think about classes that they have enjoyed. Was there a project, paper, lab, idea, or experience that really left them wanting to learn more about it? Why did they enjoy it? What do they want to learn more about? Finding a topic, problem, idea, or activity that really excites them is a great place to begin.

Participate in the Undergraduate Research Fair
The Undergraduate Research Fair acts as a forum for students to meet faculty from various disciplines and learn about different research and scholarship opportunities at GVSU. It is held annually on the first Tuesday in October.

Visit with Fellowships advisors and attend Fellowships Information Sessions.

Why should a student do research and/or pursue a fellowship opportunity?
The literature demonstrates that students who participate in undergraduate research and other high impact experiences that provide a compelling foundation for a strong fellowship application benefit in the following ways:

  • Better understanding of career and education path
  • Greater problem-solving skills
  • Greater self-understanding of values and personal priorities 
  • Greatly improved oral communication and writing ability
  • Better understanding of research methods
  • Deeper understanding of the discipline
  • Greater confidence and independence
  • Deeper intercultural awareness and intercultural communicative abilities

In addition, the literature also indicates that student who participate in research and scholarship:

  • Are more satisfied with their college experience
  • Are retained and persist at a higher rate, both at university and within their major
  • Are more likely to be accepted to graduate and professional school and graduate.
  • Are more competitive for fellowship awards and in the job search

If I have a student who is interested in research for a fellowship opportunity, how do I make a referral to OURS or to the Office of Fellowships?
We would love to work with your students. Please fill out our Referral Form and we will connect directly with them and set up an appointment.

GVSU Student Researchers

Page last modified January 13, 2023