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Undergraduate research opportunities open doors for College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources students.

eagon holding a snake

Lauren Eagon

March 3, 2021

When Lauren Eagon came to the University of Missouri to study natural resource science and management, one of her goals was to complete her own research project.

With the help of faculty mentors in the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources (CAFNR), Eagon, who is now a senior, has been an active participant in undergraduate research throughout her collegiate career. She has gained hands-on experience through various research projects, where she has partnered with CAFNR faculty, staff and graduate students. She has also accomplished her goal and conducted her own research.

“Providing undergraduates with such a valuable opportunity is so important in education,” Eagon said. “MU, and specifically CAFNR, are so good at offering hands-on opportunities to students, but research experiences are so much more than that. Working closely with my professor while gaining so much independence was something that I could not have done in a typical classroom or course setting.

“Additionally, this opportunity prepared me for my future in a new way that I couldn’t have gotten anywhere else. For me, this is one of the most important experiences I have had in my college career.”

Eagon’s most recent research project is focused on reptiles and other small mammals at Prairie Fork Conservation Area. She conducted coverboard surveys at the site, which allows for the long-term sampling of species.

“There are a lot of unexpected things that come up when conducting your own research project that can’t be taught in the classroom,” Eagon said. “Dealing with weather or technical issues or any number of things that can go wrong only allowed me to grow as a researcher and student. I gained a lot of confidence in my abilities and knowledge when I was collecting data on my own, and I am really grateful for that opportunity.

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