Introducing the CDS Undergraduate Research Initiative

Whenever you acquire a new skill, there’s a period of time where you quite frankly don’t know what you’re doing. It practically goes without saying that this is a natural part of the learning process. Obviously, having a roadmap makes this process a much easier and more enjoyable one. Our new Undergraduate Research Initiative is that roadmap for our undergraduate students when it comes to research.

The Initiative was launched this spring primarily as a way to help our undergraduate students learn how to effectively conduct research. The effort is spearheaded by our Assistant Director of Undergraduate Programs, Tim Baker. “Over the past year I received numerous inquiries from students who were struggling to find research opportunities…Taking a page from our Career Development Initiatives, I thought what if we modeled a program after our Company Information Sessions, where we invite companies with openings/internships to meet with our students almost serving as a match-maker.” Tim explained. “Instead of sending our students out to navigate the entirety of the NYU research community, I could use my position within the university to find labs and faculty that are looking for help from undergraduates and bring them to our students.”

Recently, the Initiative held Research 101, a panel of CDS faculty, moderated by CDS Associate Professor of Data Science, Kyunghyun Cho. “It is not our goal in the data science program to merely teach students a fixed curriculum of data science knowledge but to provide them an opportunity to experience, learn and internalize how they should view, think of and act on problems from a data-driven perspective,” says Kyunghyun. “This new Undergraduate Research Initiative precisely serves this goal by presenting undergraduate students majoring in data science opportunities to experience data-driven approaches to problem solving.” The event covered steps students can take to pursue a career in research. Faculty also offered advice and shared experiences from their own research careers following a Q&A segment. “The whole event was very informative. The undergrad fellows mentioned that NYU has several funding opportunities for us, all of which will be crucial in enhancing our research experience,” says CDS undergraduate student Yukai Yang.

In addition to hosting panels and educational events such as Research 101, UGRI also hosts informational sessions with external companies and organizations to expose students to other helpful research resources and opportunities. Notably, UGRI recently held a mix of remote and in-person informational sessions with researchers from Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health, the Courant Institute of Mathematics, NYU’s Furman Center, and labs from NYU Langone.

It would be an understatement to say there are many exciting things on the horizon for the UGRI. To learn more about research efforts at CDS, please visit CDS Research Home.

By Ashley C. McDonald

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Official account of the Center for Data Science at NYU, home of the Undergraduate, Master’s, and Ph.D. programs in Data Science.

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NYU Center for Data Science

NYU Center for Data Science

Official account of the Center for Data Science at NYU, home of the Undergraduate, Master’s, and Ph.D. programs in Data Science.

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