Universities across the country are looking for ways to attract the best and brightest students and to provide them with the most enriching and valuable undergraduate experience possible. The Dietrich School offers its undergraduates an unparalleled array of faculty-mentored research opportunities.
Many students choose Pitt because of its reputation as a leader in research and scholarship. They come to the Dietrich School eager to participate in high quality faculty-mentored undergraduate research experiences. Today, undergraduate research occurs through research-based courses, self-directed projects, field studies, service learning, and more.
Access to these opportunities is critical to the success of our students. They differentiate our graduates and are critical in many of their post-graduation successes. They enable our students to apply their education in real-world scenarios. Unfortunately, too many students must choose between meeting their immediate financial needs and investing in the long-term life benefits afforded through undergraduate research. It is the priority of the Dietrich School that no student must choose to fulfill their current needs at the cost of their future successes.
One of the major goals of the Big DIG is to raise sufficient financial support to ensure that all Dietrich School students who want an undergraduate research experience can have one.
Nick Johnson (A&S '16)
Nick Johnson (A&S ’16) knew he wanted to attend a university that would support his desire to engage in research as early in his academic career as possible. In his first year at Pitt, Nick worked with a professor in the Department of Psychology to study social and emotional regulation among children at risk of autism.
“Research is at the cornerstone of academic endeavor, whether that’s in medicine where I am focused or another discipline; it is really the heart of new discovery,” said Nick who is attending medical school at Duke University.
Early exposure to research is invaluable, no matter what field you are entering.
After several semesters expanding his own research project, Nick began working in the Office of Undergraduate Research, Scholarship, and Creative Activity. The office encourages all undergraduates to participate in research, regardless of GPA or prior experience. Nick helped match students with faculty advisors and mentored the budding researchers who were often nervous pursuing an unfamiliar path. Nick watched them grow throughout the experience, frequently solidifying their academic and career goals. He believes it is important to expose students to academic research as early as possible.
"I cannot express in words my gratitude to those who made my undergraduate research experience at Pitt possible,” said Nick. “It paved the way for my career, opened endless doors, and set me up very well for my road ahead. Thank you!"