Undergraduate Research and Scholarship

Undergraduate research

About DSU Undergraduate Research 

Undergraduate research and scholarship is a unique opportunity for students to work with faculty to produce an original contribution to the knowledge or activity of a particular academic discipline. 


The mission of DSU Undergraduate Research is to establish services and programs which support students and faculty mentors in their pursuit of inquiry, creativity, scholarship, and research.

What is Undergraduate Research and Scholarship?

Undergraduate research is defined as an inquiry or investigation conducted by an undergraduate student that makes an original intellectual or creative contribution to the discipline (www.cur.org).

Undergraduate research can take multiple forms which include scholarly and creative activities that lead to new knowledge, improve student’s ability to solve problems, result in new theory, or create new art or an artistic performance. Research is a process of careful inquiry leading to the discovery of new information.

Students may work with a faculty member on a current research project or may develop an independent project of their own that is guided by a faculty member.

Benefits of Undergraduate Research

student in lab

  • Enhances student learning through mentoring relationships with faculty
  • Develops critical thinking, creativity, problem solving and intellectual independence
  • Develops an understanding of research methodology
  • Promotes critical thinking and problem solving
  • Improves collaborative working skills
  • Helps students explore new or existing areas of interest and determine career goals 
  • Builds communication skills and confidence 
  • Develops skills employers want – independent judgement, creativity, project-management, time-management, self-confidence, and strong written and oral communication skills. 

Getting Started

DSU encourages every student to get involved in undergraduate research and scholarship no matter what year you are in your program.  Start EARLY – as early as your second semester of study.  It takes time and effort to discover a research project, and the student may need to talk to several faculty members. 

Here are some helpful tips as you get started

  1. Find a subject that interests you. Think about classes that you have enjoyed or ideas that interest you.  Is there something that left you wanting to know more? What about it was enjoyable? Was there a project, paper, lab, idea, or experience that left you wanting to learn more about it?
  2. Find a faculty mentor.  Make an appointment with faculty members to share your idea. Prepare for the meeting. Outline your idea and your questions. Here are some questions and tips for your faculty meeting:
    • Know what the faculty member’s current research or project is focused on. Ask specific questions relating to this research area. What got you into research? What are you passionate about?
    • If you do not know about the kind of research a faculty does, ask. What kind of research do you do?
    • Share your research idea with the faculty member. Ask for their advice. Listen carefully and objectively as they give you guidance. 
    • Ask the faculty member if they are interested in being your mentor or if they know of someone that might be interested. 
    • You can also ask the faculty member for ideas.
  3. Identify funding opportunities. Work with your faculty mentor to identify some grants, awards, or scholarships that may help you with your project goals. 
  4. Develop a plan. Include goals, steps, timeline, budget, and purpose. 
  5. Attend the Undergraduate Research Fair. Every spring DSU has a research fair. Generally, this event is in March or April. If you have your research underway, be sure to participate. If you have not conducted research, attend the fair to see what other students have done. 
  6. HAVE FUN! This investment into your education and career will be invaluable. Have fun along the way. 

DSU Research and Scholarship Day

2018 Research SymposiumThe DSU Research and Scholarship day takes place every spring in March or April.  This day provides the space for students to showcase their work, including oral presentations, fine arts exhibits and performances, and poster presentations. 

Presenting at a research day provides an opportunity for students to share their findings and learn more about research being done across campus.  This event is an excellent way for students to develop presentation skills and gain confidence in feeling like a scholar.  

Undergraduate Research Coordinator

Pam Rowland
Pam Rowland
Pam Rowland

Position: Asst. Professor of Computer Science/Cyber Security / Co-Coordinator Center of Excellence / Undergraduate Research Coordinator

Department: The Beacom College of Computer and Cyber Sciences

D.Sc.IS., Dakota State University
M.S., Dakota State University
B.S., South Dakota State University

Dr. Pam Rowland is the Undergraduate Research Coordinator as well as an Assistant Professor at Dakota State University in Cyber Security, Co-Director of the Center of Excellence for Information Systems, and Director of the CybHER Institute. Pam’s area of research focuses around the gender gap of women in IT. Pam is the Co-PI for the GenCyber: Girls in CybHER Security Camp grant sponsored by the NSA and NSF. The grant allows middle school girls to attend a weeklong residential camp allowing girls to explore an interest in cybersecurity through learning about programming, networking, and security.