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  • Author or Editor: Merritt Drewery x
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A primary goal of undergraduate education is to provide a comprehensive and diverse educational experience to prepare and promote student success in their professional and personal pursuits. Increased academic success and program connectivity have been demonstrated when undergraduate students are engaged in research early in their degree programs. Despite the known benefits of undergraduates engaging in research, there are challenges associated with conducting undergraduate research programs. Reported barriers include the lack of student knowledge about research methods, lack of preparedness, and lack of student identification and understanding of their specific interests which may not facilitate research ideas and affinity to conduct research. Additional challenges are related to the lack of faculty resources (e.g., time, specific equipment, research space, etc.), the ability to train and supervise undergraduates who may have very limited or no research experience and those students who are true beginners lacking foundational skills. Moreover, involving, engaging, and supporting underrepresented students (e.g., first-generation college students, females, ethnic minorities) in undergraduate research experiences can require different approaches for mentors to be effective. The “Engaging Undergraduate Students in Research” workshop was organized by the Vice Presidents of the American Society for Horticultural Science (ASHS) Research and Education Divisions at the ASHS 2022 Annual Conference in Chicago, IL, USA. The workshop featured three speakers who described their experiences engaging undergraduate students in research. After each speaker provided comments for ≈5 minutes, the workshop attendees self-selected into three breakout groups with the speakers for roundtable discussions related to engaging students in research through coursework, engaging students via formal research projects, and engaging underrepresented students in research. After the breakout group discussions, a summary was given by each group, and whole group discussions and comments were facilitated. This is a summary of the information discussed and shared during the workshop, along with information that can assist faculty with developing and implementing undergraduate research experiences.

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