Barrett College Fellows Program seeks participants for research fellowship opportunities

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March 30, 2021

Are you a Barrett, The Honors College student seeking a meaningful, hands-on research opportunity? Look at the Barrett College Fellows Undergraduate Research program.

April 2 is the deadline for students in Barrett to apply for the unique research program, which is a partnership between the honors college and the many research centers and faculty at ASU.

Under the program, Barrett students work with Research Centers and faculty based on the students’ interests. There are more than 300 research fellowships this year. These positions are open to all Barrett students. 

Though a few faculty mentors have indicated a preference for students with specific majors or skill sets, most positions are open to students with any major. The application is simple and short and requires no letters of reference or resumés.

Students apply for placements by the April 2 deadline and interview by the end of the semester. By fall, they start their research fellowships and attend a formal class, HON 394 Barrett Fellows 

The Centers and faculty, reflecting the diversity of ASU itself, range from the Center for Bioenergy and Photosynthesis, to the Center for Asian Research, to the Center for Political Thought and Leadership, to the Morrison School of Agribusiness.  

“The Barrett Fellows Program gives students the opportunity to do undergraduate research early in their ASU careers. For many of the research centers, the Barrett Fellows program is the only avenue they have for working with undergraduates. It’s a win-win for both students and the centers. It also helps Barrett build and reaffirm its network across campus using its best resource, students,” Ingram-Waters, one of the program’s co-directors said.

Get information about research opportunities and applications here. 

“The projects are amazing and range from a history of Jane Austen to sustainability efforts in Phoenix to all kinds of COVID-19 research to a study of online dating apps to Polish witches to global beef supply chains! I mean there’s something for everyone,” Ingram-Waters said, adding that students may develop honors theses based on their research as Barrett fellows.

Paul LePore, associate dean of The College and co-director of the Barrett College Fellows, said the program takes a multi-pronged approach to engaging students.

“We want students to participate in meaningful research, to reflect on what opportunities are in front of them and how they can leverage them. We are giving them the tools to be researchers, thinkers and contributors… skills they need to really thrive. And, we want to make sure students are meeting regularly with mentors and they are integral parts of research teams,” he said.

In fall 2018, Niccolo Giambanco, then a junior Barrett student double majoring in European history and English literature with a certificate in political thought and leadership, worked with faculty in the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership.

Giambanco assisted faculty members Adam Segrave and Paul Caresi with a study of civic education in Arizona’s high schools. The study looked at what was currently being taught and how new curriculum could be implemented to comply with a state requirement for civics education and to make students eligible to receive a certificate and special designation on their diplomas for completing civics curriculum at the high school level.

“I really loved it,” Giambanco said of his experience as a Barrett fellow. “It’s been really influential on my thought process and what I’m doing intellectually and what I may want to do professionally. I have written reports, learned how to present myself and my ideas, and how to work in a professional environment,” he said.

Mylene Alcayde was a Barrett fellow at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) in Phoenix, where she worked in the Han Lab researching the strengths of drug therapies against pancreatic cancer cell lines and how two or more drugs interact to destroy tumor cells.

“Prior to being a Barrett fellow, I did not think I was capable of having meaningful input at a scientific lab. I thought that meaningful research was only conducted by research technicians, post-docs, and PhDs. After the Barrett fellowship, I realized that students can play a significant role in research. The fellowship showed me that I can, in fact, “do” research just like a distinguished scientist,” she added.