ASK A RESEARCH AMBASSADOR: HOW TO GET INVOLVED IN RESEARCH AT EMORY DURING COVID-19

by Ana Rivadeneira
1/21/20, Opinion

The Emory Office of Undergraduate Research Programs provides students with the opportunity to meet with

Research Ambassadors—select undergraduate students with significant research experience dedicated to promoting

research and helping connect students with various opportunities.

For many students at Emory, contributing to research they are passionate about is an important part of their

undergraduate experience. Unfortunately, with social distancing guidelines in place and the majority of students

attending classes from their homes, the COVID-19 pandemic has placed severe limitations on undergraduate

research. However, in spite of these hardships, research at Emory continues and the opportunity to participate still

exists.

I spoke with junior Tiffany Hung about her role as a Research Ambassador to gain insight on how to navigate

research at Emory in general and more specifically, during a pandemic.

Connecting with a Research Ambassador

Can you tell me about your position as a research ambassador and what it consists of?

Tiffany: Research Ambassadors are a group of upperclassmen, representing a wide variety of fields from STEM to

humanities, who have significant experience in undergraduate research and have a passion for promoting

undergraduate research at Emory and helping students find research opportunities. We do one-on-one advising

sessions with students to find research opportunities and tailor individualized research plans. We also host

workshops—most recently, we held a bunch of “How to Get Started with Undergraduate Research” workshops—visit

classes to discuss research opportunities, and plan and organize the Fall and Spring Undergraduate research

symposiums. Definitely hit us up if you have any questions about the research process, and we would be happy to

help!

What made you want to become a research ambassador?

Tiffany: I wanted to be a research ambassador because I wanted to help my peers find research opportunities on

campus and connect with mentors who will help them grow as researchers and advance their personal and career

aspirations. I wanted to help students unleash their talent and potential in research in their respective areas and

share their passion for research with others. Research has been and continues to be a major highlight of my college

experience, so it is essential that I do my part in cultivating and sustaining the research community at Emory.

How does someone book an appointment with a research ambassador?

Tiffany: Login to College Connect and make an appointment with any research ambassador at a time and day most

convenient to you! Visit the Undergraduate Research Ambassador College Connect page to make an appointment.

What kind of advising occurs during a meeting with a research ambassador?

Tiffany: We help students who are at all stages of the research journey. Students can make an appointment to craft

drafts of cold emails to send to mentors whose research interests them or discuss topics like how to get started in

undergraduate research and how to find lab opportunities or labs to reach out to on various departmental websites.

Initiating Research during the COVID-19 Pandemic

What is some general advice for finding research opportunities?

Tiffany: Definitely reach out to myself or one of my fellow research ambassadors to make a one-on-one advising

appointment, and we would be happy to help you out. Attend office hours for your classes and get to know your

professors better and share your research interests with them. Even if they do not have space in their lab, they may

be able to direct you to other professors whose research better aligns with your interests or have space for

undergraduate researchers. Be open to exploring new areas of research within your field even if you have an idea of

what kind of research you want to pursue. But most importantly, just go for it! The worst thing that can happen is a

rejection, but there are plenty of research opportunities on campus for students to take advantage of if they are not

discouraged by rejection.

Because of the current pandemic leading to limited research opportunities, some students may have

concerns about finding research. What advice do you give these students?

Tiffany: Breathe, take care of yourselves, and don’t get stressed about having trouble finding research right now.

In-person research opportunities are beginning to slowly open back up, but there are still ways you can get involved

with research opportunities remotely. Continue learning about the field through your classes or reading papers and

identifying faculty members whose research interests you and drafting cold emails. Additionally, consider learning a

programming language (which could help with finding remote research opportunities).

Since many labs are limited in capacity and not all students are able to come back, can you suggest some

research project ideas for students to work on remotely?

Tiffany: There are many projects that can be done remotely: annotated bibliographies, literature reviews, data set

analysis, meta-analysis, coding data, data collection, online training (CITI, lab safety, programming languages, etc),

and research proposal writing.

In addition to research ambassadors, the Emory Office of Undergraduate Research Programs offers information

about research programs such as SURE and SIRE and their applications along with instructions and advice on how

to find research opportunities and mentors. Visit Emory's Undergraduate Research Programs page for more

information about research at Emory.