Each year, Michigan State University welcomes undergraduate students to participate in the Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP) where they work with current MSU faculty to study in-depth research from May-July. This eight-week program is designed to prepare and develop underrepresented students who have a desire to continue their education at the graduate level.
For many students, SROP offers their first experience with intensive research throughout various fields. Working with MSU faculty/mentors, students can gather valuable information to aid their ongoing education and professional development. Faculty/mentors also use SROP to assess each student before they begin their graduate program applications.
“This is my first internship doing extensive research, presentations, and making valuable connections,” said Northern Kentucky University undergraduate student Cedric Evans. “When I first arrived, I did not know what I was getting myself into. I knew that I was going to do research, however, I did not know that I was also going to develop better leadership skills, professional development enhancement, or build on my public speaking skills.”
SROP provides students free room and board on MSU’s campus, paid travel to and from East Lansing, and a stipend for their consistent work throughout the program. In addition to the program’s financial accommodations, students are given an opportunity to study at one of the country’s most prestigious research institutions.
“The goal of the SROP program is to give undergraduate students a glimpse of the excitement that comes along with research,” said Esther Thorson, Associate Dean for Graduate Studies for the College of Communication Arts and Sciences. While the students are getting involved with important research, they are learning more about these research departments as well. Thorson added, “At SROP, students are also getting a look at their own knowledge and talents as they might be relevant to various fields.”
Beyond education, faculty and mentors hope students will take their learning experiences as a foundation to evolve and find their voices to make an everlasting impact on their communities. Every year, the program invites successful college graduates to connect with current students who are aspiring to be in their position in the future.
“Because of SROP, and the exposure they provided by connecting me with current graduate students and open houses for graduate programs, I will definitely be pursuing a graduate degree,” Evans said. “There are resources, mentors, and support systems that are here at Michigan State University to make sure that you will not fail. You cannot fail because programs like SROP make sure you have the skills to be a successful graduate student.”
To be considered eligible for SROP students must:
- Be enrolled in a US college institution.
- Be a US citizen or permanent resident.
- Have an accumulative GPA of 3.0 or above.
- Have completed at least two semesters of undergraduate study.
- Have at least one semester of undergraduate study to complete after participating in SROP.
Approving program applications is a conscientious task for the admissions team. However, Thorson believes there is one quality that ranks above the others when she is reviewing student applications: enthusiasm.
“People tend to believe being smart is more important, but I am looking for someone who is excited,” she said. “If you are excited, then you will be looking for what's new. Excitement is a wonderful gift; it is a motivator. When you are excited about something — whether you are an athlete, scholar, or a chess player — excitement will always remain key.”
All undergraduate students are encouraged to apply. The application portal will open this November and will close in February of 2024 for next year’s summer program.
2023 SROP Student Interns:
- Cedric Evans — Northern Kentucky University
- Cesar Gonzalez — Roosevelt University
- Danielle Jones — Michigan State University
- Victor Milanes — University of Central Florida
- Marcus Ward — Alabama State University
Photo: SROP student interns outside of the Gilbert Pavilion entrance at MSU’s Breslin Center
By: Miles Sloan