Indigenous Undergraduate Summer Research Scholars (IUSRS) Program: invaluable experience for students, supervisors
The McMaster Indigenous Research Institute (MIRI) in conjunction with the School of Graduate Studies (SGS), the Indigenous Studies Program (ISP) and Indigenous Student Services (ISS) is spearheading the IUSRS, which is heading into its third year since inception. The IUSRS provides an opportunity for students – and McMaster faculty members – to be immersed in a unique research experience. In 2017, approximately 15 Indigenous undergraduate students will be accepted into the program.
Chelsea Gabel, Acting Director of McMaster’s Indigenous Research Institute and assistant professor in the Faculty of Social Sciences, supervised five visiting Indigenous Summer Scholars during the two-year pilot program, beginning in 2015.
Invaluable experience for students
“As an Indigenous scholar, I felt that it was very important to mentor, train, and better prepare Indigenous undergraduate students,” she says. “The IUSRS is an opportunity to get them excited and interested in graduate school.”
Gabel describes her IUSRS supervisory experience as transformative, a description she hopes is shared by her former IUS Scholars.
“This is a program that facilitates mentorship and training. It enables students to make more informed choices as they prepare for graduate school.”
Invaluable experience for faculty supervisors
As a supervisor, Gabel says she was forced to think about issues in ways she hadn’t previously, thanks to the expertise and knowledge brought by the IUS Scholars. The provocative and insightful questions often changed how she thought about a particular issue.
Gabel says a program like the IUSRS would have been a benefit to her during her undergraduate degree.
“Having a relationship and being mentored by faculty would have been so beneficial for me. Mentorship often isn’t present in an undergraduate environment,” Gabel says. “Research often involves group work, more in-depth interactions with colleagues, and improved communication skills. This program provides opportunities for students to learn to work as a member of a research team.”
She adds that it also provides an opportunity to improve writing, communication and presentation skills – all necessary tools for success at the graduate level.
The 2017 IUSRS program runs from May 23 to July 21.