So… you want to join our Lab?
We study balance and locomotion in humans. It comes as a surprise to many that these simple behaviors are not well understood because we all stand and walk so easily… at least when we are healthy. But with injury or aging, these “simple” behaviors degrade and just moving about the world becomes a challenge. These are rich and complex behaviors that require studies in basic and applied science. Basic studies investigate how the nervous system processes sensory information (vision, inner ear, …) to produce neural activity leading to activation of muscles and thus, movement. It is very poorly understood and there is lots to be done. We also apply our basic findings to develop devices that can help people with balance and movement problems. For a quick overview, take a look at our projects page.
What kind of students are we looking for? Highly motivated, curious, and independent individuals. You must be persevering, tenacious, resourceful, responsible, attentive to detail, responsive to guidance and fun! You will not be told exactly what to do on a day to day basis, but you are expected to follow advice and maintain a reasonable rate of progress. You are not expected to know anything coming in to the lab, but you are expected to learn what you need to know (read papers, learn Matlab programming…).
So before you contact anyone, take a minute to think about what kind of research would excite you. Why should we be excited about you joining the lab?
The best students are enthusiastic and curious!
- Freshmen and sophomores preferred, juniors considered. Seniors need to do some serious convincing that senior projects, grad/med school applications, job searches, and senioritis, will not be impediments to research progress.
- Research is not like a class; it usually takes a semester to get oriented to the ways of the lab, and acquires basic knowledge and skills to finish a project. Therefore: a minimum of 2 semesters and 3 credit hours or 10 hours/week commitment is required. Summer work is encouraged. The first semester is probationary; if things are not working well after 1 semester, I reserve the right to terminate the project.
- You can volunteer, receive academic credit, or receive a fellowship to work in the lab. Check the University for opportunities. You may be considered for paid work in the lab only after 2 exemplary semesters working in the lab.
- Funding opportunities – the Udel website has information about undergraduate fellowships or research. Students have received Senior Summer and fellowships for research in our lab.
- Your grade will be based on your final presentation at a lab meeting, your periodic presentations at lab meetings, contribution to discussion of lab meetings, net results of your semester’s work, and the usefulness and clarity of your final report. Consistent progress over the semester is more highly regarded than a push at the end of the semester.
- You will be assigned a graduate student mentor to whom you will report directly and receive guidance. In return for their mentorship, you will help the graduate student with their research. This will allow you to familiarize yourself with the lab and gain a background to pursue your individual projects.
What to send:
Please send an e-mail with the following information to Dr. Jeka and to the grad student listed in the project description.
- Your name and contact information
- Your major, GPA, and expected graduation date
- Courses taken and grades (or attach an unofficial transcript)
- A short essay (1 page) on why you want to do research and some information on what kind of research you would like to do. For example, do you like building things, programming, writing, electronics, any previous research experience or projects, any work or volunteer activities you have had. Give us an idea of something scientific that you read about and thought was interesting.
- Which projects are interesting to you? Why? Any comments or questions you have about the projects.
- Name of some references and contact information
- Anything else you would like to tell us about yourself