The Undergraduate Biology Research Program (UBRP) is an educational program designed to teach students science by involving them in biologically related research. Students are paid for their time in the lab where they develop an understanding of scientific method and receive a realistic view of biological research. They also acquire the tools necessary to be successful in post-graduate studies in biology should they choose careers related to biology or biomedical research. UBRP demonstrates how the resources of a major research university can be brought to bear on undergraduate education.
Students are added to the program once a year, at the beginning of the summer. Applications to the program are electronic. Students access the application by creating an account via the UBRP home page. The electronic application for the summer positions is posted October 1 each year and the deadline is February 1. A committee composed of scientists from several departments that participate in the program evaluate all of the applicants and select those who appear to be able to benefit most from this experience. These students are sent acceptance letters instructing them that their participation in the program is contingent upon finding a faculty mentor with whom to work. Students set up interviews with potential mentors and by the end of March each year the mentor/student matches are made. Payroll meetings are done in April and UBRP orientation occurs in May.
Once students finish the day-long UBRP orientation, they negotiate with their mentor which 12 weeks they will work during the summer. Because the summer is roughly 14 weeks long, students can take a break and still fulfill program expectations. Students meet weekly through the summer, alternating between small group discussions where they learn to present their work to their peers, to scientific lectures and workshops with all UBRP students. On weekends the UBRP Ambassadors plan activities such as hikes and picnics to supplement the research experience and build community among undergraduate researchers.
Program evaluations and evaluations of participating students are done at the end of each summer. Those students who have 15 hours a week to devote to research during the academic year can apply to continue their participation in UBRP through the Academic Year for pay (if they are work study eligible, for credit, or on a voluntary basis).
All UBRP students are expected to present their experimental results at the annual UBRP Conference, held in January. In addition to discussing science, the Conference provides a forum for recognition of Outstanding UBRP mentors.