By Erik Gomez, Voiland College of Engineering & Architecture

PULLMAN, Wash. – Unlike classes where there is often a right answer, the summer research program at Washington State University introduces students to a messy world where they have to ask the questions themselves – and where the answers are often unclear.

The Office of Undergraduate Research will host an information session for students in all majors about summer research opportunities for undergraduates at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 25, in CUE 319. Opportunities are available at WSU, throughout the U.S. and abroad.

Jared Ribail with the poster from his summer research project. At top, Nathan Sparks.

WSU offers research experience for about 100 undergraduates every summer. Working on real research with professors is exciting – and stressful – as the students learn about, do and then present their research in a few short weeks.

“It was intimidating (working so closely with professors and graduate students),” said Nathan Sparks, a WSU civil engineering student who worked last summer on carbon dioxide flux and the surface energy budget in rural and urban environments. “I was going into their world, and I didn’t know anything. But I got past it. You just have to ask for help.”

“I learned what it takes to be a good grad student, how to manage working on many projects and how to stay on task,” said Jared Ribail, who worked with hydrologic models in his second undergraduate research project last summer. “It is a great opportunity to see if research is for you. It exposes you to the research lifestyle.

“The common misconception is ‘it’s too hard to do,’” he added. “It’s not too hard, but there is a learning curve.”

To learn more about summer research opportunities at WSU, visit https://summerresearch.wsu.edu/.