Research assistants work closely with a faculty mentor, sometimes part of a larger research team, collecting and analyzing data. These positions are good resume-builders as they demonstrate teamwork and help students improve their data literacy skills. While some positions are paid (as faculty funds permit), other students complete research work for course credit and some students have used unpaid RA positions towards a student's service hours.
Fill out this Google form to apply and read about ongoing research opportunities for undergraduates (form currently under revision, so please check back later). Below are a link to some research opportunities for students, along with stories of political science majors who won these awards.
Freshman Research Scholars
Highly motivated school seniors who plan to attend OSU are eligible to apply for to the Freshman Research Scholars (FRS) Program. Administered through the Office of Scholar Development and Undergraduate Research, this scholarship supports students who would like to work with OSU professors on cutting-edge research. Students assist faculty mentors with their current projects, and any student is eligible for any research project regardless of their intended major. Many FRS students go on to receive Wentz Grants (see below), developing their own independent projects.
This program has a priority early deadline on November 1 each year, with a final deadline on February 1.
To give an example of eligible political science research, during the 2018-2019 academic year, Dr. Stephen Nemeth mentored two recipients, Dara Evans and Caleb Cothern. Their project examined terrorist group fragmentation and they presented this research during the Freshmen Research Scholar's Symposium in April.
Robert E. McNair Scholars
Created to help prepare talented juniors and seniors from low-income, first-generation, and/or underrepresented groups for graduate programs, the McNair Scholars program provides federal funding for undergraduates working with a faculty mentor.
In 2019, senior Kiaralexis Rogers became one of the first OSU participants in this program, working under the guidance of Dr. Rebekah Herrick. Her project was titled “Are Hispanics who have negative attitudes toward law enforcement more likely to have lower levels of trust toward the government?”
Wentz Research Grant
Thanks to funding from the Lew Wentz Foundation and Oklahoma State University, every year the OSU Office of Scholar Development and Undergraduate Research awards roughly forty undergraduates a Wentz Research Grant to conduct independent research with the guidance of a faculty mentor in any field of study.
Applications for the Wentz Grants are due early in the spring semester, usually at the end of January or in early February.
Junior Cody Green received this award in 2019. He worked with Dr. Stephen Nemeth to complete his project, “Rules of the Game: Congressional Representation Under a Theoretic Election Reform.” Demonstrating the excellence of his research, which compiled and reconfigured almost 100 years of Congressional election data. He received Honorary Mention in the Best Poster Competition during the Wentz Research Poster Session on April 26, which included a further cash prize.
Women's Faculty Council Research Award
Every year, the Oklahoma State University Women's Faculty Council awards prizes to graduate and undergraduate students conducting their own independent research projects. Open to any major, the goal of this prize is to support a new generation of researchers, scholars and professions. The only requirement is that the student must be a current OSU student, the work was conducted at OSU and the project is either complete or nearing completion.
The application deadline for this award is March 1.
Political science has been very successful in recent years in winning these awards. Recipients include Isabel Mulino (2016) for her senior/honors thesis "Does Microcredit Actually Reduce National Poverty Rates?", Chelsey Johnson (2017) for her senior/honors thesis "Do Women Peacekeepers Keep Peace? An Analysis of United Nations Peacekeeping Missions and the Duration of Peace after Civil Conflict," Taylor Todd (2018) for her Wentz project and senior/honors thesis "Who Rules the Rulings? Disputant Strength and Legal Preparedness in World Trade Organization Dispute Settlement Proceedings," and Bridget Flynn (2019) for her senior/honors thesis "Feminism Done Wrong: What Motivates Women to Join Terrorist Organizations?" All of these students were mentored in their projects by Dr. Holley Hansen.