CFANS Research Apprenticeship Program (RAP)

Think back to when you were a first-semester freshman at the University….can you even imagine contacting a professor you’ve never met to express interest in working on a research project in his/her lab?  Well, that’s exactly what CFANS freshmen are doing!

The Research Apprenticeship Program (RAP), established in 2008, is a unique program for entering CFANS freshmen that provides an early opportunity for students to engage in undergraduate research.

Students are selected to participate in the RAP Program based on a written essay expressing their interest in undergraduate research and academic qualifications as demonstrated in their undergraduate application for admission. 

Students accepted into the RAP program are awarded a $1500 CFANS research scholarship and $300 for supplies and expenses.

The Research Apprenticeship experience is meant to stimulate incoming students’ minds, broaden their perspectives, expand their intellectual and social networking skills, and strengthen connections in the University and global community.

During the first year of the program, RAP students have the opportunity to learn about the research process through interactive workshops delivered by members of the CFANS Undergraduate Research Program Committee (4 faculty members, RAP coordinator and UM librarian), identify a CFANS professor to work with, and develop a research proposal. During the second year of the program, RAP students will conduct their research and summarize their findings in a formal research paper. They will end their program by presenting a research poster at the annual University-wide Undergraduate Symposium .

RAP students’ research projects and the faculty with whom they work can be in any department or discipline in CFANS.  A few examples of research projects completed by RAP students in the past few years include:

  • “The Effects of Humidity on Rooting and Survival in Hybrid Hazelnut Hardwood Stem Cutting”
  • “The Eradication of Feral Swine Prior to their Total Environmental Destruction and Unwarranted Spread of Disease to Native Populations”
  • “Metabolic Flux of Nitrogen in Dark and Light Grown Spirodela polyrhiza”
  • “Tree Performance in Brownfields: Short-term and Long-term effects”
  • “Effect of Organic Herbicides on Suppression of Kura Clover”
  • “The Utilization of Social Media in the Classroom”

RAP Program alumni tell us that they highly value the experiences they had in the RAP Program.  In many cases, students went on to complete a second research experience in their undergraduate careers.   Others indicate that they most valued the opportunity to gain problem-solving skills and to work closely with faculty members and work as part of a team.

Learn more about RAP and other undergraudate research opportunities here