Annie CrawfordYear in School: Senior
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Jane Greer
Why is undergraduate research important to you?
Undergraduate research is important to me because it offers exciting academic opportunities outside the classroom. While the classroom is a great place to learn about a field of study (in my case, English rhetoric and composition), I’ve found that undergraduate research allows me to push myself by exploring topics that interest me with my faculty mentor. Plus, undergraduate research provides lots of ways to develop valuable skills. Researching has helped me improve my time management; moreover, presenting and writing about my research has helped me become a better communicator.
How did you find your mentor?
I took Dr. Greer’s Women and Rhetoric course, and I discovered that I really enjoy that area of study. My work in that class focused on the writing styles used by Angelica Schuyler Church, a woman who lived during the 18th and early 19th centuries and was featured as a character in the musical Hamilton. Dr. Greer recognized my passion for this research and encouraged me to join her at the Naylor Workshop for Undergraduate Research in Writing Studies in York, Pennsylvania. This experience gave me new insights about undergraduate research in rhetoric, and I decided to expand my work into a senior honors thesis and apply for a SUROP grant with Dr. Greer as my faculty mentor.
What advice would you have for someone who wants to get started in undergraduate research?
First and foremost, reach out to professors who teach classes that interest you. Ask them about what research they are doing, visit them during their office hours, etc. Talking with your professors might even spark an idea for a potential research project. Also, visit events on campus that showcase undergraduate research in your field of study, including SEARCH and SUROP poster symposiums. These events provide opportunities to talk with researchers about their experiences, and you might also get an idea about where your research could eventually be presented. If you have any additional questions about what it’s like to embark on an undergraduate research project, don’t hesitate to reach out to an Undergraduate Research Ambassador!