According to my research…

In my second year at U of T, I did the Research Opportunity Program (ROP). I assisted a professor in the department of Art History who was working on a book about illustrated haggadoth (the Jewish ritual book of Passover). Through this experience, I got a glimpse into how research works, some experience for my CV, the opportunity to work closely with a professor, and an academic credit. The ROP is specifically for second year students who apply into the program after first year. It’s designed to give students access to research experience early in their undergraduate degrees. And, as demonstrated by my experience, it’s not only for science students! In the ROP, I learned a lot about working with others. I was on a team with two other students and we were basically doing a year long group project together. I also learned about working with professors, doing research in the U of T libraries system, and writing for publications. I got in touch with some other students who went through the ROP to hear about their experiences. A portrait of Julia. Julia, third year, criminology and psychology ROP: Earth Sciences - project in Geophysics “From my point of view, the ROP program is one of the best course-based opportunities for students at U of T. In so many fields, it can be hard for everyone to gain research experience, and this gives many students a chance to do so. It's extremely refreshing to get out of the classroom and into the field every once in a while too!" A portrait of Jimmy Jimmy, first year, life science ROP (current): BioChemistry “An eye opener. Never thought school could be so enjoyable.” A portrait of Enxhi Enxhi, fourth year, health & disease specialist ROP: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology “Fieldwork was a grueling and exhausting experience, working with a group of amazing and friendly people. I was very good at it, but I hated it — and I wouldn't change it for the world, because it taught me more about myself, about discipline and work ethic, than I could've ever hoped. 10/10 would recommend.” A portrait of Kezia Kezia, third year, life sciences ROP: Environmental Studies “This program was invaluable to my university experience as it provided me with a unique perspective on the research process and the importance of a collaborative environment within the lab… I highly recommend this experience to any and all students interested in research!” A portrait of Hilary Hilary, third year, laboratory medicine and pathobiology ROP: Physiology “My ROP experience was an important enrichment to my lecture courses at U of T where I was able to work as a team member in a collaborative research environment. It helped me develop my critical thinking and analytical skills through solving problems in a lab setting. Most importantly, the ROP provided me with the opportunity to conduct original research in a scientific field I was truly passionate about.” Jordan 1 Jordan, third year, chemistry and math ROP: Chemistry “For the most part, I spent my time in the lab making these compounds and trying to characterize them in a variety of ways. It was a really wonderful experience, and through it I learned so much about working alongside others as well as what it means to pursue a career in research. After the project finished, I applied for and was given a scholarship to work in the lab over the summer, and it’s been my most interesting and exciting job yet!” A portrait of Tae Tae, first year, life science ROP (current): Physiology, based at SickKids “Amazing opportunity to learn and become familiarized with modern laboratory techniques. This course provides an enjoyable learning environment, with ample chances to interact with notable researchers... I have gained so much from this experience, much more than any other courses have provided to me so far.” A portrait of Cindy Cindy, third year, pharmaceutical chemistry specialist ROP: Chemistry “The ROP is a great networking opportunity. You get to know professors and graduate students. You also get to practice lab techniques, ask meaningful questions, and pick up tips and tricks on how to do things in a lab." A portrait of Morgan Morgan, third year, immunology and genetics ROP: Psychology "The ROP I took part in was amazing because of how many transferable skills I picked up. My ROP was based on cognitive psychology, but I found that the skills I gained in organization and interacting with people have already helped me perform better at my current job in cardiovascular surgery research. Don't underestimate  how far an ROP can take you!" Interested in the Research Opportunity Program, or other forms of undergraduate research? Appreciate my Magic School bus reference in the title? Reach me in the comments below or on twitter at @lifeatuoft!

2 comments on “According to my research…

  1. Hi Danielle it was interesting reading this blog. Going to u of t this fall really had me worried if i would be able to find any research opportunity here. I looked up ROP and they said they allow research experience only for second year students, but then how come so many of your friends were able to get a research position in their very first year. Is this possible for everyone, if so how?
    Would really appreciate your response.
    Thank you

  2. Hi Wasset! I can definitely see how that would be confusing – my mistake! Those students who are in “first year” are actually technically taking the course as part of their second year – they are enrolled in ROP299 for the summer session between their first and second years. So while you can’t enroll in the program in your first year, you can in the summer ahead of your second (which is technically your second year!). You can apply to take part in the program in the summer semester ahead of summer course selection – just keep an eye on the Arts & Science website for when the summer ROP courses go up, likely early in the second semester!

    Hope this helps!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *