New Freshman Pre-Orientation Program: Discover UROP

by Sara Nelson, Staff Associate, UAAP

This summer UROP staff offered a new Freshman Pre-Orientation Program (FPOP), Discover UROP. The four-day FPOP was created to help expose freshmen to key aspects of undergraduate research at MIT. The program’s goal is to help introduce freshmen to research early in their undergraduate careers, and provide them with the tools and knowledge needed to thrive in rewarding UROP experiences throughout their undergraduate years.

freshman pre-orientation programEighteen freshmen participated in Discover UROP, many with limited or no prior research experience, but keen interest in conducting undergraduate research. The participants’ research interests included physics, artificial intelligence, biological engineering, mathematics, and chemical engineering.

The four days were full of lab tours, workshops, presentations, and networking opportunities. Led by upperclassmen and other lab members, students toured a variety of labs across the Institute, including labs in the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research; the lab of Professor Hugh Herr in the Media Lab; the Little Devices Lab; and the Senseable City Lab. In addition, students interacted with UROP faculty supervisors during a dinner, and Professor Michael Short of the Nuclear Science and Engineering department spoke to the group about his work with UROP students and his department’s available UROP opportunities. Current UROP students presented their research and spoke with students over lunch to answer questions and share their own firsthand knowledge and experiences. Several workshops were also offered to provide students with tips on crafting a resume, how to find a UROP, and facilitating effective research. Despite the full schedule, participants also had time to tour the MIT Museum and see President Reif complete the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge!