LSU Freshmen Explorers Program

The LSU Explorers program is a one-year preparatory program for freshmen with Work Study funding who are interested in participating in faculty-mentored research.  This entry-level program prepares students for faculty mentored research experiences through a series of weekly activities including research area tours,workshops, peer mentoring, seminars, and excursions.  In their second semester, students will be matched with a faculty mentor who will train the student in research basics specific to their field.  All Explorer participants are paid an hourly wage for their time spent in the program through their Work Study funding. 

Application Information

Program Information

The Explorers will meet every Friday at 3:00-5:00 p.m. for program activities.  This time will be compensated with hourly wages through your Work Study or President's Student Aid funding.  Activities include:

  • Faculty-led tours of research areas on and off-campus
  • Workshops, presentations, and seminars on various topics
    • College 101
      • Study Skills
      • Time Management
      • Financial Literacy
    • Understanding Research
      • The role of Research Faculty at a university
      • Hear from Research Faculty about their current work
      • Hear from upperclassmen undergraduate researchers about what it's like to work with faculty on research
      • Take tours of research facilities on campus
    • Developing Research Skills
      • Understanding the basics of research
      • Research ethics
      • Information Literacy
    • Peer Mentoring: discussions led by advanced student researchers
      • balancing schoolwork and research
      • advice on college involvement

The Explorers will go on several excursions during the semester to meet research faculty in their labs and research spaces.  Past excursions include:

  • Dr.Sam Bentley's lab (geology)
  • Center for Advanced Microstructures and Devices (physics) with Dr.Sprunger and Dr.Kurtz
  • Center for River Studies (coast and the environment) with Dr.Clint Wilson
  • LSU Museum of Art public and storage collection with curator Michelle Schulte
  • FACES forensics lab with Dr. Ginesse Listi
  • Special Collections tour of rare books and archives at Hill Memorial Library
  • Media Effects lab with Dr.Chun Yang
  • Pennington Biomedical Research Center
  • Dr.Erin Oberhaus's equine reproduction lab
  • Panel discussion with Dr.Chris Barrett (English), Dr.Ogunc Kurtay (Finance), and Dr.Darius Speith (Art history)
  • Tour of the Vet Med facilities with Drs.Tammy Dugas, Will Beavers, and Rebecca Christofferson
  • Lab tours with the Peer Mentors

Explorers can also participate in these optional activities (time spent in these activities also qualifies for hourly wages)

  • Science Café - monthly presentation of a professor's research held at the Varsity; discussion with Explorers to follow
  • Additional visits to creative and research spaces around campus planned outside of regular weekly meetings

In your spring semester, you will be matched with a professor and begin training and conducting hands-on research.  Time spent on these research hours will be compensated with hourly wages.  Tours and excursions will continue in the spring, but participation is optional depending on your spring course and work schedules.

  • All Explorer students must complete the annual LSU employee trainings within the first month of the fall semester each calendar year (time spent on these should be added to your timesheet).  Certificates of completion should be emailed to  Visit the LSU HRM website to access trainings:
    • Title IX Training
    • Louisiana Code of Governmental Ethics Training
    • Digital Resource and Content Accessibility Awareness Training
  • Research training (time spent on these should be added to your timesheet).  This must be completed before the end of the fall semester.
    • In addition to any trainings assigned by your faculty mentor, Explorer students are expected to complete the CITI Responsible Conduct in Research Training online module. This training can be accessed here.
      • There are 7 options for this training.  Choose whichever is most closely related to your faculty mentor’s area of research.  If  you’re not sure which to choose, ask your faculty mentor.
      • Certificates of completion for CITI should be emailed to

The goal of the Explorer program is to acquaint freshmen students with university research activities and support their success.

  • First year goals
    • Fall semester 
      • 100% attendance at all weekly programming meetings
      • Complete all assigned trainings
      • Meet with Peer Mentors
      • Select research mentor for spring
    • Spring semester
  • Sophomore goals
    • continue research with faculty mentor or request to switch to new mentor
    • apply to university & summer research programs
    • present at Discover Day
  • Advanced goals
    • Presentation at a professional conference/event or a co-authored publication with faculty mentor
    • Off-campus summer research opportunity – details to be provided by LSU Discover