New program means more freshmen gain research experience

June 9, 2014

At UW-L freshmen are finding research experience. During the 2013-14 school year four UW-L freshmen were selected to do research with a UW-L faculty mentor through a new Eagle Apprenticeship program. The program will expand, offering the experience to 25 freshmen in fall 2014. Those students have already been selected.

Jaclyn Lilley, one of the first, four Eagle Apprentices, is an international business major with an emphasis in marketing. She discusses what the program has done for her:

Headshot image of  Jaclyn Lilley

UW-L Student Jaclyn Lilley

Q&A with Eagle Apprentice Jaclyn Lilley:

Q: What did you learn from being an Eagle Apprentice?
A: Being an Eagle Apprentice taught me the process used to conduct research. In high school, they only talked about researching topics involving science, but the apprenticeship taught me how research is conducted in other fields of study.

Q: What was the highlight of your apprenticeship?
A: The highlight of my apprenticeship was the fact that I was immediately involved on campus upon arrival. It made me feel like I fit/belonged on campus right away.

Q: How does being an Eagle Apprentice help you with your future plans?
A: Being an Eagle Apprentice has given me insight and knowledge about my future career field. I explored different aspects of marketing, which has allowed me to determine what I like best. I will now focus on those aspects while looking for internships and jobs in the future.

Program background:

Eagle Apprenticeship pilot program started in fall 2013. The program pairs freshmen with faculty mentors who provide them research or other assistantship experience for two to three hours each week over the course of two years. Work is often related to a student’s career goals. Freshmen receive a $1,000 award for the year, and, as sophomores, they receive $2,000.

Research experience is not common in early undergraduate years. However, UW-L is a university known for its undergraduate research experience. UW-L was one of only 39 institutions nationally in the U.S.News & World Report’s 2014 “A Focus on Student Success” for undergraduate research and creative projects.

Eagle Apprentices are selected based on a number of academic factors including, rigor of courses, class rank, grade point average, and ACT/SAT scores. No application process is involved. Instead, information provided on students’ applications for admission is used to select recipients.

“These students are certainly among the very best of our entering freshman class,” says Corey Sjoquist, UW-L director of Admissions.

Sjoquist adds that the program has been a successful recruiting tool.

A similar program is in the works for fall 2015. The Offices of Veterans Services and Undergraduate Research and Creativity (URC) are running a pilot project to match 5-6 student veterans with faculty mentors for fall 2015.