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Undergrad Research Experience

Kai talks about a key benefit of Carleton: gaining valuable undergraduate research experience.

Kai talks about a key benefit of Carleton: gaining valuable undergraduate research experience.

Professor-Student Relationships

On many admissions websites and brochures, colleges advertise the small class sizes and low student to faculty ratio. (Our school has an average class size of 15 students and an 8:1 faculty to student ratio.) But what does this mean in practice? In a caring community like Carleton, we have a fantastic learning environment. Don’t take it from me, the U.S. News and World Report consistently ranks us #1 in undergraduate teaching.

Professor Julia Strand carves pumpkins with her students.
Carleton profs are exceptionally welcoming and close with their students. Here, Psychology professor Julia Strand carves pumpkins with her class!

At Carleton, there is much more to academics than going to class and finishing homework assignments. Profs want to get to know their students and contemplate matters beyond what’s covered in the course. I have found ample opportunity to get to know my profs, in part because many introductory classes are capped at 30 students!

My Experience

My Carleton experience has been defined both by the relationships I have built with my classmates and with my professors. I’ve already talked in a previous post about my Positive Psychology course with Professor Neil Lutsky.

Neil is nationally-recognized for his ability to teach Psychology. He always encourages us to come to his office hours to chat. Neil and I first bonded over our shared interest in baseball! Once we got talking, we shared our ideas about various topics and studies covered in his class, eventually discussing his research lab and its latest studies. This Spring, not only has Neil become my major advisor, but I now work in his Social and Personality Research Lab. It is super cool because the research that Neil does matches my interests well. He also makes sure to get us involved in every step of the process.

professor and student in lab
Professors and students work closely in lab research environments.

In Sum

Elsewhere, undergraduate research opportunities might be hard to gain access to. However, the focus on the undergraduate student experience (both in STEM, humanities, and social sciences) affords Carleton students incredible opportunities. It has been a highlight of my spring to engage with questions that fascinate me and turn them into experiments. This is just another example of the benefits of going to a liberal arts school, especially Carleton!

<p>Students have a conversation during a poster session for student research and externship positions</p>
There are many opportunities to present your research findings as well! This is a photo documenting a research symposium in the Weitz Center for Creativity.

Kai is a sophomore from Charlottesville, VA, who probably spends too much time enjoying meals (and desserts) with friends in the dining halls. He is a prospective double major in Political Science and Psychology, potential Public Policy Minor as well. He loves working in the Lutsky Social and Personality Research Lab, volunteering for Project Friendship, playing piano at the Weitz, hanging out at Sayles, taking walks around the Lakes or in the Arb, and pitching/playing infield for the baseball team. Meet the other bloggers!