Resources for... William & Mary
William & Mary W&M menu close William & Mary

Ambassadors on mission to make research accessible

Grayson Hoy '23 and Abigail Taylor '24 welcomed more than 500 guests to the Fall Undergraduate Research Symposium in Swem Library September 30, 2022. (photo by Kate Patterson)For students, the word “research” can be intimidating.  Many are interested in research, but knowing where to start can be challenging.  Research Ambassadors can help!

The Ambassadors are a new peer resource based in the Charles Center for Academic Excellence. Their mission: make research more accessible and help students get involved in undergraduate research.

Research Ambassadors are available for one-on-one meetings or to answer questions through email. They can be contacted through a form on the Charles Center website. No matter a student’s research interests, the Ambassadors can help point them in the right direction.

Grayson Hoy ‘23 and Abigail Taylor ‘24 applied to be Research Ambassadors this year to help other undergraduates access on-campus research, which has transformed their academic careers.

“I got involved with research as a freshman and it has totally changed the course of my time here at William & Mary,” said Taylor, “and I wanted to be a Research Ambassador to give other students a chance to have the same experience.”

Navigating academic research can be a challenge, especially for a new student, but the Charles Center has resources to help.

Hoy, who is involved with chemistry research on campus says that “the Charles Center helped me on every step of my research journey, from learning about the opportunities through the Charles Center website to getting funding for summer research and starting an honors thesis.”

So far this semester, the Charles Center has hosted several events aimed at introducing research to undergraduate students. The “how to get involved with research” sessions discussed topics such as finding a faculty mentor and funding opportunities. Scheduling a meeting with Research Ambassadors is also a great way to learn more and receive personalized guidance.

“I love talking to other students about research and helping them get involved,” says Taylor. “Research ambassadors help by advising students how to reach out to a mentor or helping them narrow down ideas.”

Kate Patterson, Undergraduate Research Program Administrator in the Charles Center, believes the Research Ambassadors offer a unique perspective. “Grayson and Abigail know what it’s like to look for a mentor, apply for grants, and present and publish their work. They offer a first-hand perspective on these processes and can say to other students, ‘don’t worry, I’ve been in your shoes.’”

Research at W&M can transform the experiences of any student, even those who aren’t planning to pursue academic research in graduate studies or in their career.  Taylor said, “Doing research as an undergraduate helps you build many important skills for all types of jobs.”

Whether you’re an experienced student researcher or just getting started, set up an appointment with a Research Ambassador!