Former Undergraduate Research Assistant, E-SIMSS Lab at UC Davis Civil and Environmental Engineering
over 1 year ago
I did undergraduate (engineering) research many times throughout my undergrad. I also took a full course load and had a part-time job to pay for living expenses.
It was hard work keeping on top of things, but doable. It really taught me time management and how to prioritize whats important. A good Prof, with advanced notice, will let you schedule around academic commitments and ease up on work during busy times. Academically, it has also been some of the most invaluable experience I've done, led me to many of my interests in the field, and provided great mentor-ship.
However, while academics like my work, I found many companies were less interested in research and more interested in my part time job and coursework. This is to say, keep your end goals in mind as you decide if it is worth your time. If your unsure, I would highly recommend trying it out.
Former Environmental Engineering Laboratory Assistant at Oregon State University College of Engineering
over 2 years ago
The laboratory I worked in tested a particular bacteria as a potential solution to ground water. That included seeing how this bacteria interacted with different substances and environments. One of my biggest projects was setting up a series microcosms, or selected combinations of "bacteria food" for both the studied bacteria and the native bacteria. I would test samples on the GCMS to see what was consumed and produced. Working in a laboratory, I also did my fair share of cleaning dishes and excel work.
Civil Engineering Undergraduate Researcher at Auburn University Department of Civil Engineering
over 2 years ago
Most of my time as an undergraduate researcher consisted of 2-3 hours of fieldwork followed by 2-3 hours of lab work once every 1-3 weeks during Summer, Fall, and Spring. A partner and I collected stream water samples, flow rate and stage measurements, and stream photos, and then we analyzed the water samples in the lab using various technical equipment before cleaning our workstation. During the first few months of my research (during Summer), I also spent 20-40 hours per week to develop a GIS and HEC-HMS watershed model of the stream with the help of a PhD student. Every month I compiled all the stream data and around the beginning of each semester I analyzed the data with the help of my professor and PhD student and prepared and presented a research poster on my findings. This part was the busiest since I spent 20+ hours/week for 1-2 weeks, while also taking classes, analyzing data and preparing my poster presentation. Overall, my time as an undergraduate researcher was easily manageable with a full course load and was a valuable learning experience.