Students conduct independent research in IntroSems Plus program

Feb. 14, 2022, 9:50 p.m.

Alongside balancing schoolwork and extracurriculars, students participating in Stanford’s IntroSems Plus program have begun working on independent projects with their former Introductory Seminar (IntroSems) professors, gaining new experience with university-level research.

IntroSems Plus is a program designed for students whom faculty believe would excel at research given extra mentoring and support, according to the program’s website. IntroSem professors nominate students to participate in the program, and each selected student receives up to $1,000.

Student researchers said that they appreciate the versatility and creative freedom they have in creating their projects.

Aadya Joshi ’25, who is writing a paper on the conservation of Southern Ocean albatross, said that IntroSems Plus has “given [her] a lot of research experience, and getting to work with [her] mentor has been so cool.”

Other participants are working in groups on broader projects. Mia Schaubhut ’25, for instance, is working with a team of eight other students from her IntroSem, EDUC 115N: “Mathematical Mindsets,” to plan a Stanford-hosted data science summer camp for underprivileged high schoolers.

“I’m really grateful to have a structured experience to navigate my first research project,” Schaubhut said. “Getting to be mentored by a faculty member that I am close with makes the experience more rewarding.”

IntroSems Plus is also a mentoring opportunity, and participants are encouraged to return to the program later in their undergraduate career as peer mentors. Kelsey Wang ’22 said that being a mentor to the student researchers has been a full-circle moment for her, because she did the program her frosh year.

The program cohort was abuzz during their recent mid-quarter lunch check-in on Friday, invigorating the community of research-oriented students at the program’s first in-person event. For Lauri Dietz, the program’s associate director, the lunch was a valuable opportunity to have students and professors connect in person, especially during online programming.

“It was so great to hear from students at the lunch about how their projects have been going,” Dietz said. “The virtual format has made it difficult for us to build a community within the IntroSems Plus program, but the student researchers and their mentors are doing a great job of communicating between each other.”

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