As a University Science Scholar, you will be a member of a small learning community consisting of a select group of science and math majors. You will take many of your major courses with other Science Scholars and work together, help each other, and learn from each other. You also will develop friendships, which will help you adjust to college quicker. You will get to know faculty through interactions and research opportunities, which will help you develop professionally. You also can live in a residence hall with other scholars and continue to develop your peer group support. Furthermore, we have social events (pizza Fridays, picnics, Earth Day celebration, Darwin’s Birthday Party, etc.), which help you get to know students and faculty better.
If you enter the program as a freshman, you will take a three-credit course, “Science Skills.” This is a freshman experience course that will help you adjust to the college environment and get a head start on your science or math major. You will work on projects to improve your computer data analysis skills with Excel and presentation skills with PowerPoint. You will learn how to read scientific papers, interpret statistics, and do basic statistics. You will become aware of the wide variety of research being conducted at UALR and elsewhere through faculty presentations and become aware of opportunities for undergraduates. Experience at UALR and other universities has shown that these types of courses dramatically help new college students adjust to college, perform better academically, and develop career plans.
You also will have opportunities for additional professional growth through special sessions. The USSP provides optional workshops (for example, resumé writing, computer applications, or applying for internships, jobs, or graduate school), field trips to employers (for example, The UALR Nanotechnology Center, UAMS Molecular Biology Department, the Arkansas Crime Lab, The Nature Conservancy, the Arkansas Geological Commission, etc.), and research seminars by visiting scientists. All of these special sessions are tailored to the needs and interests of the students in the program.
You will have research or internship opportunities with UALR faculty or other mentors. We encourage you to participate in research because it teaches you valuable scientific and work skills, and it helps you make important connections. Conducting research teaches you to teach yourself–a premier tool for success. It also helps you improve your knowledge, thinking, self-discipline, and problem-solving skills. Each year, many University Science Scholars participate in undergraduate research or internships across the country and present their work at local, regional, and national conferences. See the link to Scholars Research Presentations in the left menu. We encourage everyone in the program to conduct research and present their projects at conferences.