Student Highlight: Grace Plonsky

Grace is part of the Student Undergraduate Research Council and an F-LEARN alumna. F-LEARN (and its sister program for transfer students, T-LEARN) are learning communities that were established at UCF in 2011. They offer a select group of new undergraduates the sorts of hands-on research experiences that are normally only conducted by upper-level students. The students, their graduate student mentors, and peer mentors also form a community that bond during classes and extra-curricular socials.

As part of F.-L.E.A.R.N., Grace researched and presented a paper on The Influence of Middle School on Latinx Girls’ Self-Esteem and Confidence. Her mentors were Her biggest advice for students interested in undergraduate research?

Don’t be afraid to cold-email and ask your professors for help!

In addition to acting as research mentors, faculty are great resources for answering questions, advising on further readings, and helping students find resources. UCF is lucky to have world-renowned professors studying everything from ancient Babylonian communication systems to jet skis. Often, students gain mentors and positions in labs/ independent research experience simply by emailing faculty whose research they find interesting. This can be daunting process, but the Office of Undergraduate Research can help! The Research Roadmaps webcourse and peer mentors can help guide you in writing and refining emails to faculty, to maximize your chances of success.