In my teaching statement, I argue that releasing my students' inner scientists is my primary educational goal. Thus, it shouldn't be surprising that I view involving undergraduate students in meaningful research as an integral part of what I do. Having wore the hat of an experimental generalist at several smaller schools, my research interests are broad enough to attract students with a wide range of intended specializations. I've also had a lot of experience mentoring students with research interests beyond my own.
My experiences involving students in research have taught me that there's no better way to help students understand the scientific method and its value. When working at institutions with ongoing research I have required students in my lower level courses to either serve as research participants or complete alternative assignments exploring the methods of recently published, peer-reviewed experiments. As I get to know my students, their interests, desires, and abilities, I invite students who show particular interest in pursuing graduate education or strong potential to collaborate with me on my own research.
Although I do engage in cherry-picking when inviting students to help me with my own research, I have yet to turn a student away that has approached me wanting to work in my lab or on my projects. I've also never turned a student away who was looking for a mentor to help explore their own ideas. Working as a mentor, I have helped students formulate their research questions, implement appropriate methods, and analyze data.
Having worked in a variety of schools with varying budgets, I've learned how to involve students in research regardless of the resources available to me. When I've had access to resources, I've trained students how to use MATLAB and E-Prime to run experiments. When I haven't, I've trained students how to use YouTube and paper-pencil techniques to experimentally investigate psychological phenomena. In just the last year I've involved 11 students in research exploring embodied cognition, visual attention, and decision making.
In addition to involving students in my research, I've had success competing for external funding. As a primary investigator, I was awarded nearly $100,000 for a programmatic line of research exploring the behavioral mechanisms underlying visual search. As a member of an interdisciplinary team that was charged with establishing a neurotechnology laboratory, my team successfully competed for nearly $300,000 of grant money. Once I've settled into my next permanent position and know what facilities and equipment I have available to me, I fully intend to continue my pursuit of external funding.