English Language student Laura Armstrong tells us about this fantastic research opportunity open to all University of Reading students which she took part in during summer 2014 with Dr Christiana Themistocleous.
UROP stands for Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme. UROP’s are offered by the University to any second year student as a fantastic paid opportunity to work with staff on academic research during the summer holidays. In 2014 the English Language department conducted two UROP projects. One of which was run by Dr Christiana Themistocleous, with the help of UROP student Laura Armstrong, and explored attitudes towards old and new myths on multilingualism in Reading. Following the research, Laura created posters to be displayed at the annual Reading UROP conference. During the conference Laura achieved both category winner and joint overall winner. Consequently, Laura travelled to the international BCUR 2015 conference in Winchester and to the Houses of Parliament to present her research.
Describing her experience, Laura said “UROP appealed to me because you are offered invaluable research experience working with a professional academic, and get paid for it! This experience was great for my CV and so helpful for my third year dissertation. It was easy to apply for UROP. After filling in an application form, I was invited to interview which was really good practice for job hunting after University and learning how to demonstrate all your skills during an interview. It is amazing to have experience of working in academia, you get to put all the skills you’ve spent two years learning into practise. You work really closely with your supervisor for six weeks and no day was ever the same; I designed questionnaires, gathered 200 participant responses, input data, made posters and attempted some statistics! The Winchester BCUR and Houses of Parliament conferences were a once in a lifetime opportunity. I would recommend UROP for anyone who is able to get involved; there are projects from countless departments so there will be something for you. The experience of UROP was great, meeting new people, learning so much and adding something amazing to your CV. You never know where it will take you.”