Student research and professional development

Undergraduate majors are encouraged to participate in neuroscience research or outreach activities for credit.


A research experience allows you to build critical thinking skills by applying classroom theory to a real life situation. Under the guidance of a neuroscience faculty member, you can research a neuroscience topic of your choice.

Undergraduate students may work in state-of-the-art laboratories to conduct basic research on campus as well as in neighboring research organizations at Legacy Research Institute in Portland or clinical research at OHSU. They may research hearing in the zebrafish or bat labs on campus, study addictive behavior or neural information processing. You will work directly with a faculty member as well as a team of laboratory staff and other students.

Neuroscience mini-grant — Undergraduate students conducting original research in a WSU Vancouver neuroscience faculty member's lab are eligible to apply for a neuroscience mini-grant. The purpose of the mini-grant is to fund a portion of your research project. All submissions must be approved by your faculty mentor. Please download and complete the form (.docx), and email it to Allison Coffin, Ph.D., at Applications are due by October 1 each year.

Additional undergraduate research opportunities

Legacy Research Institute— For opportunities to be involved with research on clinical outcomes at Legacy Research Institute in Portland, contact Debra Wilmington, Ph.D. at 360-546-9611 or

Oregon Health & Science University— For ongoing opportunities to be involved with clinical research at OHSU in Portland, view OHSU's office of visitors and volunteers.

Oregon Health & Science University Neuroscience Post-Baccalaureate Initiative— A one year post-baccalaureate training opportunity in the neurosciences.

Oregon Primate Research Lab— Fellowships for undergraduate students who will enter their junior or senior year of college after this summer program.

Summer research— The Vollum Institute/OHSU neuroscience graduate program is offering a 12-week stipended summer research internship in neuroscience. Preference is given to students with strong interest in Ph.D. training in neuroscience. 503-494-5478,

Summer Research Internship at the Allen Institute— In Seattle. View internships and apply.

Summer Student Program at Legacy Health— For undergraduates. View opportunities through Legacy Health.Professional development

SWAGS — Scientific Writing Association for Graduate Students, a student club at WSU Vancouver, created by science graduate students. Students meet once a week to discuss writing issues, peer review, and support each other in the writing process. Workshops are organized on a regular basis to have faculty and postdocs discuss topics such as grant writing, strategies to successful writing, and ways to communicate for your research. Club sponsor: Christine Portfors, Ph.D. For more information:

Toastmasters — Join Toastmasters, an international communication and leadership organization with over 330,000 members worldwide. Many WSU Vancouver students (both graduate and undergraduate) belong to the local Salmon Speakers Toastmasters Club, which meets every Monday evening at 7:05 p.m. at the Legacy Salmon Creek Hospital (usually in the 6th floor conference room). Club members practice their communication and leadership skills in a fun and supportive environment. Their improved skills are a benefit in the classroom, job interviews, and the workplace. Guests are always welcome and the club is open to anyone 18 and up, regardless of campus affiliation. For more information: or check out the Communicatalyst blog.

Write-on-Site— A meeting of graduate students across campus to write together once a week. The first session will be March 28 (3 – 5 p.m.) and the group will meet every Monday for the rest of the semester. This is a support group and not a peer review group. However, informational resources about writing strategies will be provided to students by the associate vice chancellor for research and graduate education. For more information see Write-on-Site.


The WSU Vancouver Neuroscience club is heavily involved in Neuroscience Outreach. These events allow our students to engage in scientific communication and exploration with children in grades K-12. They are specifically designed to 1) introduce local youth to STEM science through explorative hands on activities and open discussion and 2) facilitate an environment where our undergraduate students can participate in general science communication. Some of the explorative activities have included, electromyography of biceps, explorative microscopy of tissue sections, assessment of brain processing speed, gross comparative neuroanatomy of human, sheep, rat, bat and mouse brains, and everyone’s favorite illusions.