As a student, Professor Daniel Whiteson used his undergraduate research experience to help him focus his interests on his future career, and he suggests that students can follow the same path. His strongest recommendation to students interested in pursuing research is to put a lot of thought into finding a topic that interests them, which will greatly increase their chances of success. Professor Whiteson was awarded the 2016 Chancellorís Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research for the School of Physical Sciences in recognition of the dedication and passion he shares with his students.

1. How did you develop an interest in mentoring undergraduate research or creative projects, and what type of projects have you directed?

I had some very fun research experiences while an undergraduate, and it helped me figure out what kind of research I was interested in. I mostly have students working on projects related to studying particle collisions at very high energies.

2. What do you look for and what are your expectations of undergraduates you select to conduct research under your guidance?

I look for students who have basic programming skills, their own source of motivation and can work independently.

3. Describe your level of engagement and style in mentoring undergraduates.

Iím a very hands-off mentor. I provide information, help and tools, but I want the students to drive the research from their own interests.

4. In your experience, how have your students improved or benefited as a result of their undergraduate research experience?

There is a lot of variation. Some have loved it and gone on to publish papers and attend top graduate schools. Others do not find the day-to-day work fun and move on to other topics.

5. What have you learned or benefited from guiding undergraduate research or creative projects?

I really enjoy getting to know the students and hear their stories and their personal scientific interests.

6. What recommendations and advice would you give students embarking on undergraduate research or creative projects?

Think about what you actually want to do with yourself. Donít sign up for research unless you are actually interested, and donít be shy if you find your project dull.

Research Interests: Experimental High Energy Physics

Faculty Profile:


Past Faculty Mentors of the Month

Dec. '16 Miryha Gould Runnerstrom
Nov. '16 Allison Perlman
Oct. '16 John Billimek
Sep. '16 Wayne B. Hayes
Aug. '16 Aimee Lara Edinger
Jul. '16 Katherine Mackey
Jun. '16 Daniel Whiteson
May. '16 Wirachin Hoonpongsimanont
Apr. '16 Michael T. Goodrich
Mar. '16 Lonnie R. Alcaraz
Feb. '16 Kimberley D. Lakes
Jan. '16 RocŪo Rosales