Michelle Richards-Babb (West Virginia University, USA)
Studies have demonstrated that involving undergraduates in research increases the probability that they will be retained within the STEM major and graduate on time. Providing opportunities for undergraduates to experience research aligns with institutional goals of improving student retention, improving the quality of graduating students, increasing student diversity and enhancing student recruitment. At our institution, NSF and state-funded summer undergraduate research experience sites have been offered since 2007. We have found that a successful site provides participants with research that is intellectually stimulating and increasingly interdisciplinary. In addition, exposing participants to skills necessary for communication and collaboration and offering opportunities for career mentoring and networking are requisite components. Best practices for administering a summer undergraduate research experiences site as well as evaluative summary data of our current summer undergraduate research experiences programs will be presented.