Research is foundational to obtaining knowledge in science and an important component of the biology program at Luther College. For students, obtaining research experience as an undergraduate is an essential part of preparing for a career as a biologist and necessary when applying for graduate programs. Faculty are expected to maintain an active research program involving students which helps keep us current in our field, impact our teaching, and is an important part of our work as scholars.
Biology students collaborate with Luther biology faculty on research in the lab and the field, collecting data and presenting their results at regional and national conferences and in papers published in scientific journals. Students can apply for research assistantships to conduct research with Luther faculty during the summers. Many students also obtain NSF-funded REUs (research experiences for undergraduates) to work with scientists around the country. During the academic year, students work with faculty and may obtain academic credit or get paid depending on funding available, or work as a volunteer.
"The Luther biology department does a great job at helping undergraduate students get involved in research. Already in my junior year I have had the opportunity to work with two different faculty members on two totally different research projects, and I am currently designing my own independent research that I hope to carry out over the next year." —Kirstin Manges '09
Luther biology students regularly participate in a wide variety of on-campus and off-campus summer research experiences. Investigative research projects may be part of regular courses, may be faculty-directed research, or can be independent research designed by students. Students interested in participating in research with Luther faculty should contact faculty to find out the types of projects in which they might be involved.
A number of Luther biology faculty host summer research students in their labs. These summer research opportunities may be funded by extramural grants, or research assistantships through the Luther undergraduate research program funded by the Provost's office. Summer research assistantships typically provide an hourly wage, on-campus housing, and funds for project expenses.