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Aggie Research Scholars Program and Aggie Research Leadership Program


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FAQs for Potential Team Leadership

What is the difference between the Aggie Research Mentoring Program and the DeBakey Executive Research Leadership Training Program?

These two programs are complementary. The Aggie Research Mentoring Program is a collaborative leadership development program designed to enhance the teaching and mentoring skills of future faculty. Opportunities are available to postdocs, doctoral and masters students. The focus is on engaging in high-impact educational experiences through mentoring undergraduate researchers. The DeBakey Executive Research Leadership Training Program trains junior faculty, postdocs and doctoral students to successfully lead a multifaceted high-end research operation, conveying critical skills to lead, manage and direct high-achieving students and staff at all levels. The focus is on enhancing research capacity by applying leadership principles.

Must I be in a science or engineering discipline to participate?

No! The Aggie Research Leadership Programs support research teams in any discipline.

How long does the Aggie Research Leadership Programs last?

Both leadership programs run year-round. Team Leaders use the program to start their team-based research projects, and they are supported by the resources offered through the program. As a result, the length of any one participant’s involvement is ultimately their decision, as long as there is continuing support from the faculty mentor.

Do I pick my own team members?

Yes. The Aggie Research Program is designed to be an authentic leadership experience. As a result, Team Leaders address challenges associated with all stages of the team-development process, from candidate recruitment and screening, to leading your team. For postdocs and graduate students, faculty mentors must approve team members.

If I am a grad student or postdoc, must I have a faculty mentor prior to registering with the program?

Yes. Faculty mentors ensure research compliance, provide guidance to Team Leaders, and are a source of inspiration for undergraduates in your team.

Will I have to create a separate or special project just for my undergraduate team?

No. Team leaders usually include teams in in their ongoing research projects to increase their productivity. In the DeBakey Executive Research Leadership Training Program, it is expected that the research project is chosen to enhance the leader's research program. In the Aggie Research Mentoring Program, current or future high-impact teachers are encouraged to engage undergraduates in authentic research projects.

What are Team Leader Meetings?

Team Leader meetings are one of the most important resources the Aggie Research Program has to offer for Team Leaders. Team Leaders will inevitably encounter challenges that provide opportunities for them to better their team and grow as a leader. The Team Leader meetings are where participants discuss common challenges, debate solutions, and identify best practices.

How long are the weekly progress reports?

Weekly progress reports are designed to take less than 10 minutes.

What is a "Best Practices" report?

Leading research teams often requires decisions to be made quickly with limited guidance from your personal experiences or from more experienced peers. Some challenges you face as a team leader require rigorous approaches to not only plan interventions, but to honestly evaluate their effectiveness. Rigorously documenting “best practice” you have improvised, tested and refined also provides 1) evidence of excellence in leadership to earn certification, 2) material that can be disseminated to peers and 3) archival material for future letters of reference attesting to your abilities as a leader and value to the program.

FAQs for Undergraduates:

What is the difference between the Aggie Research Scholars Program and the two Aggie Research Leadership programs?

These two programs work together. The Aggie Research Scholars Program is designed for undergraduates to gain research experience. Undergraduates work with a team leader. The two Aggie Research Leadership Programs are designed to provide leadership experiences.

I'd like to register for a team, but I don't see any open slots. What should I do?

Sometimes our teams fill up entirely before we have a chance to register new projects. The best thing to do is to check back regularly, especially if you are looking towards the end of the semester in preparation for the next semester.

Must I have a high GPA to become involved?

The Aggie Research Scholars Program itself does not have any requirements for previous experience, classification, or minimum GPA. However, each team may develop its own set of qualifications. In general, students prove their potential to do research by joining the team. Those who show potential may be asked to return in following semesters.

How do I join a team?

Once you find a research project that you are interested in, contact the team leader and inquire about available positions. If selected as a new team member, you will be notified by email and will be sent a registration form. Team Leaders may accept you into their teams at any point in the year, although most students join well before the start of a semester.

Do I have to be a student in a science or engineering field?

No! In fact, the Aggie Research Scholars Program encourages non-STEM students to get involved in undergraduate research, even if the project they wish to join is outside of their course of study. While the requirements for participation vary for each team, non-STEM students are encouraged to reach out to the Team Leaders of projects they find interesting and match their educational or vocational goals.

Will I have the opportunity to obtain letters of recommendation?

The Aggie Research Scholars Program partners undergraduates with faculty in a meaningful way that allows them to  write meaningful recommendations. This is an opportunity to prove yourself outside of the classroom. Of course, it is wise to ask for recommendations well before a deadline!

Are undergraduate researchers paid?

The Aggie Research Leadership Program does not provide paid research opportunities to  participants. It is possible that your faculty mentor will provide you with an opportunity for a paid position. The opportunity for registration of undergraduate research for course credit will fit into most course programs.

How many hours per week will I have to dedicate to research?

Each project has a different hour requirement, set by the Team Leader. Please contact the team leader of the project of interest for more information on time expectations.