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Undergraduate Research Fellows
The College of Agriculture and Life Sciences(CALS) at Seoul National University offers a Research Fellowship Program which provides the opportunity for undergraduate students to participate in research projects together with graduate students. This grants them experience with research projects earlier in their career paths and serves to assist with development of knowledge in their majors and interests in research projects. Twelve rounds of the program have been offered so far.
Approximately 60 undergraduate research fellows are selected for each semi-annual round. All undergraduate students are invited to apply and the entry barriers are relatively low due to the absence of grade requirements. However, application does not guarantee acceptance as there are limited spots available for each lab (or project). Acceptance is also limited in the interest of including students from diverse backgrounds. Participants receive KRW 500,000 per month, with an additional KRW 50,000 paid to the project leader. Project usually last for two months, with participants eligible to receive up to KRW 1.1 million per project.
Benefits for undergraduate students really depend on how passionate they are and the intentions of supervising professors. Accordingly, the Office of Admissions & Career Development plans to introduce ways to develop the Undergraduate Research Fellowship further.
Besides personal satisfaction from their achievements, participants may also find their names listed among the researchers if the project is successful. Yoon-geum Oh, an undergraduate student who participated in the Program’s 12th round put it this way, “As I personally conducted tests during the Program, I was able to learn a lot and in detail, to a depth that I could not in a classroom. I also realize now how much effort goes into writing a thesis.”
Tae-whan Kim, the staff in charge of this Program at the university’s Office of Admissions & Career Development, said, “An undergraduate research fellow may feel positive or negative about ‘the research’ after he or she participates in the Program, but the essence of the Program is to allow them to research with their supervising professors and senior researchers. I think the participants will gain priceless experience, if they think deeply about their futures, such as going to graduate school.”
In addition to the Program, CALS also offers a Creative Research Program to promote undergraduate participation in research activities. Unlike the Research Fellowship Program, in the Creative Research Program, undergrads are asked to plan and conduct their own research projects, with seven or eight students selected for each round.
Student Reporter Lim, Dabin / Jeong, Min-jeong