This article is published in the March 2024 issue.

Opportunities to Engage with UR2PhD: Instructor Openings, Institutional Partnerships, and Student Course Applications

By Julia Sepúlveda Ávalos, Program Associate, CRA-E

Did you know that, according to CRA Taulbee data, only 22.9% of computer science PhDs who graduated in the 2021-22 academic year identified as women? And the overall fraction of doctoral students in CS programs who were neither Non-resident Aliens, Asian, nor White was 5.3%.

CRA launched the UR2PhD program with the goal of increasing the number of women and gender-marginalized folks, especially those identifying as Black, Latinx, and/or Native, enrolling in CISE PhD programs. In order to affect change, the UR2PhD program created three virtual activities: an undergraduate research methods course, a graduate student mentor training course, and a series of workshops. Through these activities, the team hopes to: 

  • Increase the number of mentored research experiences undergraduates have access to
  • Improve the quality of mentored research experiences for both the mentees and mentors
  • Sustain student interest in research after their first research experience, and encourage them to consider graduate study

Whether you’re an undergraduate student, graduate student, faculty member, or department chair, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved in this program. 

For department leaders: if you’re looking to scale the number of undergraduates participating in undergraduate research, we highly recommend considering applying to be an institutional partner. By participating in UR2PhD, you can dramatically increase the number of researchers without increasing the training workload. You’ll also be able to elevate the quality of mentorship provided by and to students. We’ll be accepting applications until the start of the courses, but will give priority to institutions that apply by March 15, 2024

For faculty members: are you interested in serving as a research mentor? If you’ve been considering creating research opportunities for undergraduates, but you don’t have the time to provide the foundational training required to onboard a new researcher, the UR2PhD program can help enhance the research competence and confidence of your mentees. Consider encouraging your students to apply for our summer or fall undergraduate research methods course. Additionally, our team is also currently hiring instructors for the summer and fall terms of our courses. Learn more about the positions and apply; positions will remain open until filled, with a preference for applications received by March 31, 2024.

For graduate students: is mentorship and service important to you? Are you looking for an opportunity to grow professionally, and develop your own style of mentoring? The UR2PhD program offers the graduate student mentor training course to mentors of participants in our undergraduate research methods course. We encourage you to speak with your faculty advisor about participating in the UR2PhD program. 

For undergraduate students: are you curious about research, but not sure where to begin? Would you benefit from having peer and faculty support when embarking on your first research experience? The UR2PhD program was created to train and encourage students like yourself! We hope you’ll positively consider applying for our undergraduate research methods course; the deadline for the summer term is March 29, 2024.