Undergraduate research: An invaluable experience

Jared Mondschein '14
Jared Mondschein '14

Undergraduate research experience is a surefire way to accelerate a student’s success in a particular discipline, whether it’s neuroscience, chemistry, history or anthropology.

“Conducting undergraduate research really helped me build the foundation of my science identity,” said Jared Mondschein ’14, who majored in chemistry. “It made me feel like I could be a part of the scientific community. It also gave me a sense of belonging and helped me understand what it means to be a scientist.”

After earning his Ph.D. in chemistry at Pennsylvania State University, Mondschein joined the RAND Corporation. He’s an associate physical scientist who focuses on a range of national security and homeland security policy challenges.

He recently made a gift to the Michael E. Hagerman Endowed Fund for Student Mentoring & Professional Development.

“I wanted to make sure that the opportunities Professor Hagerman, the chemistry department and alumni extended to me would be available to benefit other students,” Mondschein said. “Conducting research and traveling to conferences helped launch my career.”

The Hagerman Fund supports students in the chemical sciences, nanosciences and engineering with costs associated with research and participation in professional and scientific conferences and seminars.

Yet every department across campus has a strong need for funding to help students pursue independent summer research.

According to Heather Watson, John D. MacArthur Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy, undergraduate research provides students with a “first-hand perspective on what it is like to make real discoveries and begin to answer previously unknown questions.”

“It also gives students a chance to experience a research environment similar to what they may encounter in graduate programs and helps them decide if this is the career path they want to pursue,” she continued. “For all students, it helps build confidence, independent thinking and problem-solving skills and often provides useful writing experience.”

The Powering Union campaign is helping to expand funded research opportunities for students. The cost of a summer research stipend is $5,000, and student research funds may be endowed starting at $100,000.

To support student research, please contact Steve Jo, senior director for Leadership Giving, at (518) 388-6913 or jos@union.edu.

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To make a gift or learn more about Powering Union, please contact Scott Rava, assistant vice president for principal gifts and campaign director.

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