Testimonials from former Research Assistants

The past 3 years at Augustana I have had the opportunity to work with Dr. James Kariuki and his research group as an undergraduate research assistant. Through this experience I gained a variety of practical skills including the ability to problem solve, become an independent researcher, and be an effective communicator through my experiences with a variety of conferences and publications. My experiences as an undergraduate researcher strengthened my CV and provided me with a strong application to secure an NSERC funded grant for graduate school. Through my time working with Dr. Kariuki, I have also been given significant opportunities to train other students both from Augustana and international institutions. This has provided me with soft skills in teaching and placed me in a leadership position in the Kariuki research group.

Dr. Kariuki is an excellent supervisor and mentor. He provides us the creative freedom to guide our own projects while being there to troubleshoot when we need the help. His students come first and he is always willing to accommodate them when needed. He also approaches his group with humor, a trademark of his teaching and mentorship style. Working alongside Dr. Kariuki has been a highlight of my time at Augustana during my undergrad and has provided me with a passion for research I will continue to pursue as I go on to graduate school.

~ Benjamin Schmidt, B.Sc. Chemistry 2019, Kariuki Group Member from May 2017-August 2019.

Working as an undergraduate research assistant (RA) was the best experience of my entire degree. I worked as a RA for three years, and, as a result, I not only gained valuable laboratory and problem-solving skills, but got to present at over a dozen conferences and published three papers. Because of this work, I left Augustana with far more than a degree: I left with practical skills and knowledge, a truly amazing resume and absolute confidence in my ability to succeed in the workforce. I also forged lasting friendships with the other members of the Kariuki research group.

James is a fantastic supervisor. He truly cares about his students, and gives his RAs independence while always being there to help troubleshoot. As part of the Kariuki research group, you have the opportunity to make amazing discoveries and work with incredible people, including James himself. If you ever have the opportunity to be involved in undergraduate research, then do it! It will be the best decision you ever make.

~Emily Ervin, B.Sc. Chemistry 2014, Kariuki Group Member from May 2013-August 2014.