The Grind: Sparking your Interest in Research

Posted On October 5, 2017 by Caleb Smith, Honors College Class of '19

It’s Lit! Let’s spark your interest in research.

You’re interested in research, so what’s next? You want to begin conducting research, but you’re just a little unsure about how to get started? I’m here to help!

While catching up with Undergraduate Research Program Coordinator, Jacob English, during his lunch break, we discussed some new initiatives that the Honors College is currently implementing to enhance undergraduates’ research experience.

Throughout this past summer, English collaborated with Georgia State faculty and staff along with Honors students to create a series of educational programs. During the heart of the planning process, it became apparent that there was a need to include students’ voices. Thus, the Honors College formed a peer research ambassador group.

After coming together and brainstorming, the Research Ambassadors found their sole purpose as a group – provide their peers with their personal experiences as undergraduate researchers.

English stated, “If students are a part of the process, they’re able to provide insight on what their peers need…and serving as ambassadors gives them a voice, and the coffee talks serve as their platform.”

On September 5, the Georgia State Honors College hosted its first Research Coffee Talk, hosted by three research ambassadors, Midori Naolu, Phillip Loan, and Ashley Lauterbach.

Nadu explained to me that the purpose of hosting the coffee talk was to “help students get involved in research and to realize their potential within the world of research.”

The vibe was very calm and welcoming. Students were networking, laughing and enjoying the company of one another.

One student in attendance expressed, “Today, at the Coffee Talk, I learned that when conducting research, you have the freedom to do what interests you while receiving help from your mentor.”

Another student stated, “I learned the importance of creating a work-schedule, time-management and seeking a mentor to help you with your study.”

When sitting down with Nadu, she informed me that she was reluctant at first to participate in research due to it appearing as “something strict, boring, and a lot of work.”

Later throughout Nadu’s college career, she said that she became intrigued by research accredited to events such as GSURC and seeing how her peers achieved substantial success by creating studies. Recently, Nadu has served as a chemistry lab TA, a University Assistant and participated in GSURC.

Nadu went on to say, “Research helps solidify your experience at in the Honors College, and reveals its importance to your success after school. When asked what advice she has for students interested in research, Nadu responded: “Browse and see what’s available; simply by reaching out to your academic advisors, peers, and faculty about research, they can spark your interests in a research topic.”

Although this was the first official Research Coffee Talk, I can firmly reassure you that the best is yet to come. The Georgia State Honors College is evolving, and we need your voice to propel this movement. To wrap up, I leave you with the words of William Pollard who once said, “Without change there is no innovation, creativity or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable.”  Be on the lookout for future Research Coffee Talks and Research Skills Workshops to help you on your path toward influencing change within your discipline.

If you’re interested in learning more about what the Georgia State Honors College has to offer for research, visit the Undergraduate Research page.


About the Author
Caleb Smith is currently a junior at Georgia State University. He is a Journalism major with a minor in African-American studies. If you would like to find more of his works check out his A&L podcast, “Necessary Knowledge & Nonsense” on YouTube provided by the GSU Signal. You can also follow Caleb on Instagram @Mindofsolomon.