Future Students

Office for Undergraduate Research and Artistry

What is research? What is artistry?

Research is a systematic inquiry or investigation that makes an original intellectual development in the discipline. When you hear the word “research,” you might think of STEM fields and picture work in a research lab, that results a new understanding of the field, or a new technology or product. That may be common for some fields, but it is not the complete picture of research. In some disciplines, research could include the design and distribution of surveys and analysis of the results to understand the financial marketplace or different social viewpoints. In other fields, research could involve searching through archives and to provide a new interpretation of a text or historical event, perhaps from a previously silenced view.

Artistry is a creative contribution to a discipline that aims at greater understanding of self and the human experience through the lens of that field. Projects in artistry involve synthesizing content from coursework or independent investigations into an end “product” that engages the imagination and emotion of those that experience the work. Some creative inquiry projects are best distributed in print form, but other projects may require visual, auditory, or other sensory engagement with an audience.

Undergraduate students present their research at the Celebrate Undergraduate Research and Creativity symposium.

Why become involved in research and artistry?

Participation in undergraduate research and artistry gives you the opportunity to make original contributions to disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge as a student. In becoming involved, you have a chance to apply your learning from courses to a project with real-world relevancy and applications. You will come to understand your field better by understanding how knowledge in your field is generated. Participation in research and artistry joins you to a network of individuals – peers, staff members, and mentors.
Connections you form with your peers may result in friendships and professional relationships that last a lifetime. If your project is part of a large and collaborative project, you will probably meet other undergraduate students that are working on related pieces. Even if your project is more individual than collaborative, you will still have the opportunity to network with peers at workshops conducted by OURA or other offices and organizations that support undergraduate research and artistry. You will also likely meet peers when you showcase your project’s results at CSU symposiums, or at venues external to CSU (community, regional, national, or even international events).

Participation in research and artistry also connects you to staff members dedicated to expanding the opportunities and quality of undergraduate research and artistry experiences. These people root for your success and guide you along the way. Resources from our office are available to help you connect with a mentor, develop a research question or define a project’s scope, disseminate your work, and more.

Arguably, the most important networking as you conduct a research and artistry project is with your mentor(s). Mentors help guide and focus your work, and they help you develop ways to share your results. They should also become important resources to you professionally in ways beyond your project. Mentors could help you identify coursework related to a goal. They could also support an application for an external scholarships, fellowships or internships. They can help you define your long-term goals and your post-graduate path (eg. graduate programs, professional schools or employment). You might join a faculty mentor’s existing research program (either by inquiring with a course professor if a position is available or answering a “job” posting). You could also add your own “twist” to an existing program or choose to develop a more independent project with mentor guidance. You might work in a facility on CSU’s campus, with an industry partner, or with a local community agency through the integration of a research project into a service-learning experience or internship; some students even work on their own. Finding a mentor for your project is different for everyone, and OURA is here to help.

Programs open to incoming students

Community of Scholars:

The Office of Undergraduate Research and Artistry provides special programming to students in our community of tightknit students from the Boettcher Scholars program and the Monfort Scholars Program. This programming includes social gatherings, community service events, and professional development. Other events are expanded to include students from our Honors Undergraduate Research Scholars Program.

JonathanBoettcher Scholar
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“What makes the scholar community unique at CSU is that it’s a high-achieving, driven group of students, but they’re more supportive and uplifting than they are competitive with each other.”
LeahBoettcher Scholar
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“There’s a real feeling of authenticity in this community, and we have so much fun with each other. It’s so crucial that we get time to unwind and be silly with each other.”
JanayeBoettcher Scholar
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“As a sophomore, I got a chance to travel to Nicaragua on a project that related to my Biomedical Engineering major. We worked at a local hospital, fixing up old equipment, cleaning, and creating a sterile area. I got a 1970s EKG machine up and running, and they started using it right away. It was so fulfilling to be a part of that.”
SpencerMonfort Scholar
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“We really get to stay connected with each other — which is great because your fellow scholars are going through what you are, like juggling a rigorous academic schedule, jobs, service work, and keeping your grades up.”

Boettcher Scholars Program:

The Boettcher Foundation awards 42 scholarships ($20,000 per year for 4 years) to Colorado students, and CSU will then use institutional, merit, and/or need based support (or a combination) to support up to the total cost of attendance for each Scholar minus travel and other expenses. CSU benefits are described in detail here: Boettcher Scholar Program

How to apply: Entrance into the program is through an external application to the Boettcher Foundation: Colorado Scholarships.

Monfort Scholars Program:

The Monfort Scholars program, established by the late Kenny Monfort and his wife Myra in 1999, recognizes superior scholastic ability, leadership, service to community and school and outstanding character. Monfort Scholars receive funds for tuition and fees, a room and board stipend and a book allowance for four years.

How to Apply: High school seniors can apply for the Montfort Scholarship through the Colorado State University Scholarship Application (CSUSA). You must be a CO resident admitted by March 1, and submit all your CSUSA materials (including letters of recommendation) also by March 1. You should rank in the upper 5 percent of graduating class or No. 1 or No. 2 in a class of fewer than 40 students, with evidence of leadership, service to community and school, and outstanding character.

Programs open to incoming and continuing students


The TILT OURA Lab provides an opportunity for students to learn laboratory skills that can be transferred to future research experiences. The OURA Lab is intended to be a comprehensive experience that allows students to engage in the many phases of research, from conducting background research to inform the scope of the project to the development and execution of experiments. During this experience, students will learn and employ techniques and practices of basic research (e.g., maintaining a lab notebook, pipetting, preparing solutions). Students will apply critical thinking skills to analyze their data and evaluate their experimental procedures.

The OURA Lab fosters collaboration and community as students work with each other and OURA Lab staff. In partnership with United in STEMM, the TILT OURA Lab has been designed to support historically excluded students in STEM, and considers diversity, equity, inclusion and justice to be inseparable from the research experience.  Cohorts are offered every term.

Mentored Research and Artistry Program:

The Mentored Research and Artistry Distinction recognizes the learning experiences of undergraduates who are engaged in research, artistry, or other forms of creative work. The experience allows students to distinguish themselves as undergraduate scholars in their disciplines.

This opportunity is open to all undergraduate students in good academic standing who have at least two full semesters remaining before graduation (there is no enrollment cap on participation). The criteria for completion of the program are rigorous, ensuring that only the most dedicated students receive the Mentored Research and Artistry Distinction on their transcript. Students earn the right to wear the Mentored Research and Artistry Distinction’s Silver Cord with their graduation regalia and of listing this distinction among their academic achievements.

Learn More: Mentored Research and Artistry Distinction

Undergraduate Research Academies:

Undergraduate Research Academies are faculty/staff-led cohorts of students from diverse fields that work collaboratively on a common problem or theme throughout the academic year and/or summer. Their purpose is to provide interdisciplinary research and/or engaged learning opportunities for undergraduate students across a range of disciplines. These programs are supported by the College of Liberal Arts, the Office for the Vice President for Research, and the Office for Undergraduate Research and Artistry.

Learn More: Undergraduate Research Academies