Undergraduate Opportunities (UnO)


The goal of the Undergraduate Opportunities (UnO) program is to recruit and prepare undergraduate students for graduate study and research careers. All students will have introductory training and then experience concentrated research in their junior and senior years.

UnO students will participate in 1 credit-hour seminars each semester that emphasize academic skills, how to gain admission to graduate schools and other topics that will lead to a successful career in biology.

UnO undergraduates will work directly with a graduate student and faculty mentor.

Spring 2012 Cohort (Mentors and Scholars)

* Congratulations to MJ, April and Diego on their recent research scholarships!


What the scholars have to say about UnO:

"This experience made me more engaged in research and in the campus"

"It was great to see how undergrads think and work, and how they grew into the lab and research." - Mentor

" I was amazed how quickly I learned, my mentors trusted me a lot, more than I thought I deserved.  I learned a lot.  Watching the others working in the lab - at first I was scared - but now can keep right up with them."

"UnO helped create community. I had more time to think about biology through museum work, on-campus job, and presenting research. You can read about science and stuff, but when you have your own data, its yours.  You're invested in science."

"I got to plan my own project instead of being told what to do. I never saw the big picture before, but now anything is possible."


Upon graduating, Matt Peralta reflected on his experience in the program by saying "Thank you all for helping me getting more involved in research and the biology field. It’s really opened my eyes to what a college degree is all about. It’s important to have programs that provide a bridge from being a regular student and conduction research, it’s a good deal."

Monica Tellez had this to say after presenting her UnO research project at the North American Benthological Meetings (NABS)."It was great to see what other people are working on as well as getting feedback on my project. It's good to see that all the 'names' on the articles I've been reading for so long, are 'real people'. I also liked hearing what other labs are doing at different universities and trying to imagine myself doing MY grad work at different places. It was overall a very valuable experience and I look forward to future meetings."

--Monica Tellez, 2008

Justin Pichardo on how UnO has worked for him, "By plugging me into the department. I was a student in the biology program but I didn't feel like I was part of it. I feel much more involved in the scientific community here."

Natalie Blea on why she feels so positive about research, "It's given me the opportunity to aim for one of those jobs that people say, 'wow, that's your job?' I love fieldwork in the jungle."

"My undergraduate degree is almost complete and I really cannot tell you how much I appreciate the UnO program. The opportunities really helped shape my academic career, I am so thankful! I will be on campus next fall as a graduate student - keep me in mind for mentoring!"

--April Tafoya, 2010


This project is partially supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant NSF-DEB 0731350 starting 08/01/07 and continuing through 08/01/12

Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.