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Undergraduate Research: Assistants

College of Liberal Arts

The College of Liberal Arts runs a Research Assistants Program with funds set aside from the Complete College Georgia grant.  Faculty members select undergraduates to work with them throughout the academic year on their scholarly and creative projects. This unique opportunity shows students what professors do outside the classroom and gives them experience conducting field-specific research.   RAs transcribe field notes & letters & oral interviews, summarize primary & secondary literature, read research reports, create genealogy charts, analyze data, create maps, compile bibliographies, adapt citations, and identify photographs.  Students develop new skills and make close connections with their mentors.  All CoLA RAs meet monthly with the UR Coordinator to discuss relevant topics and build relationships with each other.  Many RAs create their own independent studies with their professors and pursue a sub-field area of interest to delve into their own questions.  All RAs present their findings at the Student Scholars Symposium in April.  For guidelines and requirements, see the RA Handbook and other links here. For information about current RA positions available, please follow the Human Researches link below. 

Research Assistants

Melissa Bates '15

Political Science/Liberal Studies in Philosophy

Being an undergraduate Research Assistant (RA) has been an amazing experience for me. Under the guidance of Dr. Lara Wessel, I have acquired the necessary skills to conduct academic research on a professional level while getting paid for it.  Our current research undertaking is an ambitious project of measuring agenda effectiveness of all post-Cold-War, two-term U.S. Presidents (Reagan, Clinton, Bush 43, and Obama). In short, our research focuses on each president’s capability to accomplish their agenda priorities, in light of identified constraints, as stated in their State of the Union addresses and measured through their Weekly addresses. At this moment, our research is still ongoing with the intent to be ready for publishing in spring 2016. This will be a major professional accomplishment for me that would not have been possible without the undergraduate RA program at Armstrong.

It is through participating in the Undergrad Research Assistant program at Armstrong that I have found a genuine mentor in Dr. Wessel. Additionally, through the exceptional facilitation of the program by Dr. Allison Belzer, I have been given the opportunity to attend RA sessions that focused on how to create my professional profile for potential employers through Career Services, how to utilize research resources at Lane Library, and how to effectively present papers at academic conferences.  I definitely recommend this program to any student who is serious about their academics and career path, especially for those considering graduate school.

Justin Farquhar '15


Being a research assistant was a great experience that opened the door to a lot of opportunities for me. I worked with the Department Head of my department as well as some other professors on various research projects over my time as a research assistant. I now have one paper that has been sent off to be reviewed for publication and two other papers that are almost ready for review as a direct result of my work in the Economics Department. Additionally, Armstrong paid for me and the other research assistants in the Economics Department to go present our research at a conference in Jacksonville, which was a lot of fun. I was also invited to attend various events such as the annual Savannah Economic Outlook Luncheon downtown. On top of all that, I was given first pick on internships and was able to land a paid one that allowed me to quit my job at Little Caesars. That being said, the greatest perk that came with the job was the personal relationships I was able to build with my professors. Being a research assistant helped me develop myself as a scholar and also guided me along the path to figuring out what I wanted to do after I finished my undergraduate degree. My only regret is that I didn’t take the job sooner!