From finding a cure to breast cancer to exploring voter behavior, Michigan State University (MSU) research is being conducted not only by people in “white coats” or professors in labs. More often it is explored by the youngest members of campus life – undergraduates. Undergraduate Research at MSU offers opportunities to work collaboratively with faculty on their scholarship and to gain a deeper understanding of the research process for a particular field. MSU is renowned nationally for its support of undergraduate researchers with programs, funding and support available across the colleges.

As one international student puts it, “research is a medium for creating good change in the world.”  Students who are involved with research have a lot of valuable information to share.

But just how do you gain interest in research and how will it help you? To begin, you have the option to work with a faculty member’s current research project or develop an independent project guided by a faculty member. Whether you would like to find out more on the effects of being sleep deprived or linking Electrical Engineering to the Central Nervous System, you have the autonomy to explore various ways in which you can generate knowledge and, as they say; knowledge is power. Students spend hours a day yet may not be aware of the continuous added benefits of research. Researchers develop enhanced analytical skills, improved oral and written communication skills, self-confidence and it can even help you identity a career focus. Research experience can be a vital qualification for admission into advanced education and could also earn you several letters of recommendation from faculty members. Where else can you learn so much and gain even more?

This year, MSU will continue to host the annual University Undergraduate Research and Arts Forum (UURAF). This is an opportunity for undergraduate researchers to showcase their creative activity that they have spent a substantial amount of time and effort in. During the 2013 forum, about 545 students presented oral and poster presentations to members and guests while receiving constructive feedback from numerous judges.

When it comes to international students, they are not left behind when it comes to research. In this year’s UURAF forum, roughly 26 students from a range of countries including Egypt, United Arab Emirates (UAE), China, South Korea and the Dominican Republic will be presenting a variety of topics within their majors; from Journalism and Lifelong Education to Human Biology and Finance. These students are generating knowledge to further our understanding of various subjects.

So, how will you make your impact?

For more information about Undergraduate Research and UURAF visit:

36b07b7Wendy Emali is an Undergraduate Senior from Nairobi, Kenya pursuing a degree in Finance from the Broad College of Business. She is currently the Experiential Learning Intern at the Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS). Her campus activities include involvement with organizations that promote African culture and unity.