A new online platform launching this fall aims to connect University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa undergraduate students with a faculty mentor who is willing to introduce and/or guide them in their faculty-mentored research or creative work project.
ForagerOne is being introduced to UH Mānoa through the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP). The platform is a searchable database of faculty and student profiles and opportunities to help students determine which UH Mānoa faculty member may be best-suited to serve as their research or creative work mentor. Faculty members and students must create their own profiles to be added to the database. It features a built-in messaging system to help students communicate with potential mentors, and also contains a searchable database of on- and off-campus undergraduate research and creative work opportunities.
“Our goal with this program is two-fold. One, to lower the barrier for students to engage in research and creative work by helping them discover and connect with a potential faculty mentor, and two, to make it easier for faculty mentors to post, search for and recruit undergraduate mentees,” UROP Director Creighton Litton said.
UROP awards more than $500,000 in scholarships annually directly to students to support faculty-mentored undergraduate research and creative work projects and presentations, including opportunities for students with interest but no prior experience in research or creative work. Faculty-mentored undergraduate research and creative work is a high-impact practice, which means that students who engage in this practice have shown to be more satisfied with their degree programs, more likely to stay in school and finish their degrees on time, and more likely to excel in the workforce post-graduation.
While faculty-mentored research and creative work is a high-impact factor, a primary barrier to student engagement in this practice on our campus is the ability for a student to identify a faculty who is willing to mentor them. Litton is hoping that ForagerOne will help to reduce that barrier.
“We encourage all UH Mānoa undergraduate students and faculty mentors to try ForagerOne,” Litton said. “We hope that more students and faculty utilizing this platform will result in more scholarship funding awarded, and more participation in our increasingly popular programs, such as the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience, project and presentation funding, and Entering Research and Creative Work funding.”
UROP is currently collating faculty mentor profiles, and the entire platform will become available to the UH Mānoa campus, including all undergraduate students, in fall 2023.