“A TASTE OF GRADUATE SCHOOL WITHOUT REALLY FULLY COMMITTING TO IT" THE UNDERGRADUATE EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING PROJECT AT OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY
Undergraduate research experience has been proven to improve student learning and retention. Since 2018, Oregon State University Department of Wood Science and Engineering has offered Research and Extension Experiences for Undergraduates (REEU) through support from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Education and Workforce Development program. Between 2018 and 2020, 31 undergraduate students conducted research and/or gained experience in Extension projects during a 12-wk summer internship. The goal of this work is to assess the success of mentor–mentee relationships and how the program benefits the mentees’ career. Data for this research consists of transcribed interviews of seven mentor–mentee pairs. Transcripts are qualitatively analyzed to capture insights regarding participants’ experiences in the program. Students who participated in the REEU program improved their research skills and soft skills such as adaptation, writing, and communication. As a result of their participation, students are more likely to attend graduate school.
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