1. How do I get started in student research?
There are two principal mechanisms by which a student may conduct research:
A. Student Summer Research Fellowship Program
Every year, approximately 10 Fellowships are awarded to students and their mentors to conduct research over the summer. The Fellowship provides a stipend of $1,500 for each student (the stipend is split if two students participate in a single project) as well as a small budget for supplies ($750). Most often, students who apply are between their D2 and D3 years. Although students between their D1 and D2 years can conduct research over the summer break, they only can do so after National Boards Part I are completed, which often leaves little time (or energy!) for research. A request for applications is made in October and January for application submission in March to the Office of the Associate Dean for Research.
B. Informal Research
On occasion, a student works with a faculty mentor on a project that is not funded by the Student Summer Research Fellowship program. In these instances, the student may volunteer his/her time or may be paid by his/her mentor. Research conducted informally is often very rewarding to the student and the mentor. Specific arrangements should be determined clearly at the beginning of any student-mentor relationship so that misunderstandings do not occur. Regardless of which mechanism a student chooses to conduct research, it is the responsibility of each interested student to identify a mentor and work closely with the mentor.
2. How do I find a research mentor?
The first step in becoming a dental student researcher is to find a research mentor. In finding a mentor, you should think about what type of research interests you. Once you decide on this, you can find a faculty researcher who may be an appropriate mentor for you. If you have questions regarding mentorship, please contact Dr. William Johnson, the faculty advisor for the ANDSRG. Dr. Johnson is aware of the majority of student research possibilities at the College of Dentistry and can direct you to the most appropriate potential mentor(s). In addition, previous and present student researchers (see list below) are also a good source of information and may be able to answer questions for you.
3. Will I be able to present my research findings?
There are local, regional, national and international venues in which students can present their research. Local, state and regional venues include the College of Dentistry's Professionals Day, the Midwest Student Research Forum (Omaha, NE), the Nebraska Dental Association Annual Session and the Nebraska Academy of Sciences (Lincoln, NE). The American (AADR) or International (IADR) Association for Dental Research Annual Meetings, the American Dental Association Annual Meeting and the Hinman Student Research Symposium are examples of national and international venues. Recipients of a Student Summer Research Fellowship are obligated to present their research findings at a national or international meeting. A listing of national and international presentations made by College of Dentistry students in the past decade is included below. At these meetings, students are making either a poster presentation or an oral presentation of their results.
Note: Travel funds are available for students who present their research at national/international meetings.