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OVC Collaboration in Action

Finding the Right UROP Workshop participants

The Finding the Right UROP Workshop drew 20 first-year students.

CAPD’s Prehealth Advising and the Office of Experiential Learning UROP office designed a new fall workshop to help students find research opportunities that fit their unique academic interests and career goals. Prehealth Assistant Director Akunna Rosser and UROP Program Coordinator Sara Nelson met in August to discuss the strong interest prehealth students have in doing a UROP during their first year and strategize on how to help students find UROPs that will let them explore careers.

“We offered a workshop on choosing a major last spring, and the conversation delved into the benefits of being in a large lab versus smaller, how to go about gaining independent projects, and good strategies for networking in a lab,” Rosser noted. “Given the many opportunities available to MIT students, it’s important for them to start thinking earlier about the types of work environments they prefer and how to acquire the professional skillsets needed to succeed.”

Rosser and Nelson facilitated an interactive workshop on October 10 that reviewed how valuable undergraduate research experience is to medical schools, especially for those considering a dual MD-PhD degree, and also how to identify research opportunities that align with academic and career goals. Approximately 20 first-year attended and had the opportunity to not only hear from them, but also from a panel of upper-level prehealth students who discussed their UROP experiences. Panelist Steven Truong, ’20 emphasized that “MIT is THE place to do research. It’s easy to take it for granted that MIT is one of the very few places in the world that has an office devoted to helping you find an undergraduate research opportunity and funding it.”

This program’s success highlights the benefits of collaboration across offices in OVC and our increased effort to promote career exploration and professional development, especially for first-year students, many of whose first hands-on research or professional experiences come via UROP. This workshop is just one of the new programs prehealth offered this fall focused on early career exploration and professional skills development. Others include Finding a Physician Mentor and Shadowing Experience and a Peer Mentor Mixer for first-years.

—Meaghan Shea, CAPD