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Graduate Student and Postdoc Resources

Supervising the work of others is an important component of graduate students’ and postdocs’ professional development and readiness for the job market. Most graduate students and postdocs who choose to mentor undergraduates do so for a combination of reasons, both altruistic and practical. Graduate students recognize how much they have learned in their own transitions between undergraduate and graduate work, and want to help their younger colleagues prepare for such transitions. Many graduate students and postdocs were helped along the way by important mentors, and they want to “give back” by mentoring others. Alternatively, graduate students may recognize deficiencies in their preparation for graduate school (“if only I had known…”) and want to provide timely advice. On the practical side, graduate students and postdocs report that after learning to supervise, they understand their own faculty mentors better.

The mentoring experiences help them to reflect on their teaching skills and deficiencies and help them become better professionals. The experiences can provide practical benefits in the humanities and social sciences such as review of an area of literature relevant both to the interests of the undergrad as well as a requirement for a graduate comprehensive exam. In the sciences, the practical benefits can extend to one or more additional co-authored publications as a consequence of the undergraduate project, in addition to demonstrating one’s abilities to manage the work of others.

Database of Research Opportunities

Faculty, post docs, and graduate students can use the OUR website to post available research positions for undergraduates in our searchable database of research opportunities for undergraduates. This database has allowed faculty members, post docs, and graduate students to connect with interested and capable undergraduates across the campus.

All postings must have a UNC faculty advisor, but research opportunities may be directly supervised by post docs or graduate students, who should be listed as the “Research Supervisor.” Many posters use the “Description” section not only to provide specific detail about the opportunity but also to list any prerequisites or particulars of applying for the opportunity. Faculty can share a research position on our Post an Opportunity page.

Graduate Research Consultant Program

The Graduate Research Consultant (GRC) helps faculty integrate a research project/assignment into one of courses with support from advanced graduate students. We compensate advanced graduate students (Graduate Research Consultants, or GRCs) to work with instructors and undergraduate students during the concentrated period of many Research Exposure courses, when the students are planning, carrying out and communicating their research.

A GRC can provide faculty and classes invaluable support by guiding students through their research projects from beginning to end. They can help students learn particular research methodologies and be available for consultation throughout the semester. Some faculty also choose to involve their GRC in the planning/designing of the research project.

Learn More about the GRC program and how to apply to be a GRC here.

Additional Ways for Graduate Students to Be Part of OUR

There are a variety of additional opportunities to contribute your expertise throughout the year in workshops and symposia organized by the OUR (such as teaching undergraduates how to prepare a talk or a poster, and offering advice to undergraduates on finding a research mentor and developing a summer fellowship proposal, in addition to advice about graduate school and career choices). If you have an interest in such “one-time” activities, please contact us at our@unc.edu.