‘A first foray’: URAP involves students in academic research

July 14, 2023

Rhea Senthil Kumar did not have prior research experience at UC Berkeley before applying to the Undergraduate Research Apprenticeship Program, or URAP, during her freshman year. Though she did have a love for learning; she knew that the space sciences fascinated her.

Like Senthil Kumar, Karoline Almeida knew she wanted to pursue research. As a transfer student, she said she was introduced to URAP through her counselors whilst looking for opportunities to explore politics and law.

URAP, which pairs undergraduates with faculty working on research projects, allows applicants to apply to a maximum of three projects. The application process includes a written statement and a subsequent interview if selected. Following acceptance, students can earn up to four credits per semester.

Senthil Kumar began working at the Berkeley Space Sciences Laboratory on a project revolving around the Compton Spectrometer and Imager, a gamma-ray telescope. Her role specifically entailed applying machine-learning models to predict particle interactions in telescopes. Wanting to conduct more hands-on research, Senthil Kumar said she later worked with the general antiparticle spectrometer, where she helped observe dark matter.

The Daily Californian