College of Arts and Sciences

Undergraduate Research

Undergraduate research is a cornerstone of the student experience in the College of Arts and Sciences. All students are encouraged to do research, whether they are in the humanities, social sciences, arts or STEM. Working one-on-one with faculty members helps students become practitioners of their disciplines. In a chemistry class, for example, students learn about chemistry. In the research lab, they become a chemist, acquiring the patience and skills needed to study and investigate an area of interest in order to discover new knowledge about that topic.

Students majoring in any of the sciences—biology, physics, chemistry—are required to do a research project with a written thesis, where they put into practice the theories they study in class. Xavier faculty members supervise and mentor students in traditional labs using the latest research equipment. Lab groups often form communities with strong bonds among their peers and faculty leaders that last beyond graduation. There are also opportunities for students to do summer research projects with Xavier faculty both on and off campus, and local connections provide other research opportunities for students.

Every spring, the Celebration of Student Research showcases students’ research projects and scholarly endeavors. Their projects cover a wide range of topics and majors—psychology, political science, biology, economics and art—to name a few. Some students also have the opportunity to travel and present their projects at national conferences, providing additional professional experiences surpassing the typical college education. The research skills students gain are critical components of their Xavier education and provide a foundation for success in their chosen careers. For more information about the undergraduate research program at Xavier, please visit the University's Undergraduate Research page.

For information on how to get involved in research, please contact David Gerberry. To support Xavier student researchers, please contact Kerry Murphy at murphyk6@xavier.edu or make your gift now

 


"I have very fond memories of working in the lab with my peers during various times of the day and night, traveling to conferences to present our progress, and even having a good time outside of the lab. Just like friends, parents, siblings, boyfriend/girlfriend etc, your lab group also has a unique relationship that is very fun to grow and develop throughout the college years."

Adeleke Oni
B.S.,Chemical Science ('08)
Emergency Medicine Physician
Durham, NC


"[My advisor] did an excellent job of not only training us in the basic techniques of organic synthesis, but also with understanding the process of problem solving that is absolutely fundamental to research. I arrived at grad school a step ahead of my peers in terms of understanding the "big picture" for academic research. Research in his lab helped me to understand that progress takes time and can be mired with setbacks that are often unexpected. In scientific research, as in life, failure is important and can be meaningful if seen as a learning opportunity. At the end of the day, the technical skills that I learned over the years in his lab were valuable, but those bigger lessons about grit and tenacity were the most impactful."

Amy (Grote) Short
B.S.,Chemistry ('08)
Research Chemist
Cleveland, OH


"Undergraduate research... taught me not only how to think carefully and critically about my research, it also taught me how to be efficient at it."

Michael Danneman
B.S.,Chemical Science ('10)
Post-Doctoral Research
Columbia University

 


"The ability to travel and present my research at the 241st American Chemical Society's National Meeting in Anaheim, CA gave me the opportunity to discuss my research with other scientists [and] allowed me to have a greater appreciation [for] the quality of my research and other research that was presented. [I mostly value] the guidance and encouragement given by my advisor. [She was] patient, honest, and caring [and] the method she used when mentoring me has allowed me to model how I train others within my laboratory group."

Michelle Veite
B.S.,Chemical Science ('11)
Ph.D. Candidate
Miami University


"The most valuable aspect of my undergraduate research experience was the opportunity I had to throw all of my undergraduate learning into something practical and hands on. I was able to confirm without a doubt that scientific study is a passion that sets my soul on fire and this specific Xavier experience is one of my proudest moments as a Musketeer."

Kaite Brown
B.S., Biology ('15)
M.S. Student, Biomedical Sciences
Marian University


"My undergraduate research experience ... forced me out of my comfort zone early in my Xavier career [and] challenged me to learn beyond my course material in the classroom. The bond formed between the mentor and student is so important for student development. I can honestly say I would not be where I am today without the steadfast guidance and expectations of my advisor."

Andrew Ray
B.S.,Chemical Science ('16)
Graduate Student
University of Cincinnati


"I really enjoyed being able to work with other scientists and having a role in planning how my project unfolded."

Emily Kerr
B.S., Chemistry ('16)
Graduate Student
Harvard University

 


"In addition, seeing the application of organic chemistry lecture to a lab setting... fostered my critical thinking skills on how to solve a problem that appears to be unsolvable. I believe my undergrad research really set me up for success in this field in understanding how to trouble shoot. It wasn't until my senior year when I really got involved in my research that made me realize I actually wanted to pursue a PhD in organic rather than an MD."

Cassie Zaremba
B.S., Chemistry ('16)
Organic Chemistry Technician
Spartanburg, SC

 


"Often in college students are doing work for a class and for a grade, but research isn't evaluated the same way, and so it allows there to be a greater ownership of the project. I cared about my research not because of a grade I might get but because of what the research was and the value it independently offered to the scientific process."

Emily Prebihalo
B.S., Chemistry ('16)
Jesuit Volunteer Corps Northwest
Portland, OR



"I feel much better prepared at approaching science in a laboratory setting but also at being able to tackle a problem, get results, and interpret results that come from experimentation and tests. I valued getting to see what collaboration between people in different fields looked like, and of course the cultural aspects of being in Paris from the Eiffel Tower to the beaches of Normandy which expanded my horizons in so many ways."

Adam Purvis
B.S., Biophysics ('17)
Current Xavier Student


"[Undergraduate research] provided me an opportunity to explore the unknown by living in another country for 2 months. The thing I valued most about the research experience was able to work with a team of multinational people and be a part of a great collaboration of scientists working together. "

Derick Burdick
B.S., Biophysics ('17)
Current Xavier Student


"Undergraduate research has taught me how to look at a situation or a problem, ask a question about it, and then find my own answers to that question or problem. Having a project that I worked on for two years allowed me to understand the time it takes to do research, and it also gave me a better appreciation for how much revision, adjusting, and evaluation also goes into research. "

Tori Doss
B.S., Chemistry; B.S., Biology ('17)
Current Xavier Student