North­eastern Uni­ver­sity under­grad­uate stu­dent researcher Mathew Cham­ber­lain doesn’t like to waste time.

In the morning, he parses The New York Times’ sci­ence news, reads the latest issue of Nature mag­a­zine and goes to cal­culus class. For the rest of the day, he inves­ti­gates prostate cancer, on co-​​op in Northeastern’s Inte­gra­tive Grad­uate Edu­ca­tion and
Research Trainee­ship nanomed­i­cine lab.

Cham­ber­lain, a third-​​year physics major, was one of five under­grad­u­ates who gave stu­dents advice on how to chart their own path to under­grad­uate research at a recent Town Hall-​​style meeting at West Vil­lage G.

Having a goal-​​oriented state of mind and a will­ing­ness to learn is crit­ical if you want to do good research,” said Cham­ber­lain, who expects to coau­thor up to three papers on his research in the nanomed­i­cine lab.

Read your pro­fes­sors’ pub­li­ca­tions,” he added. “You will be sur­prised by what they’re studying.”

Cham­ber­lain was one of three stu­dents on the panel who par­tic­i­pated in PRISM, an ini­tia­tive that con­nects North­eastern math­e­mati­cians, physi­cists and biol­o­gists with first– and second-​​year stu­dents who want to learn more about math and sci­ence research-​​related co-​​ops and internships.

The pro­gram is sup­ported by a five-​​year, $1.98 mil­lion grant from the National Sci­ence Foundation.

One of the main goals of this project is to increase the number of sci­ence, tech­nology, engi­neering and math majors at North­eastern,” said Christos Zahopoulos, the exec­u­tive director of Northeastern’s Center for Sci­ence, Tech­nology, Engi­neering, and Math­e­matics Edu­ca­tion, and an asso­ciate pro­fessor in both the Col­lege of Engi­neering and the Depart­ment of Edu­ca­tion.

We wanted to make sure stu­dents are aware of the research oppor­tu­ni­ties that exist through co-​​op at North­eastern, and we thought inviting stu­dents to talk about their co-​​op or research as under­grads would be a good way to do that,” Zahopoulos said.

Third-​​year chem­istry major Billy Smith coau­thored an article in Nature mag­a­zine about a promising treat­ment for a spe­cific car­ci­noma, based on research he did on co-​​op at Dana-​​Farber Cancer Institute.

Next year, he’ll do his second research co-​​op, starting at Dana-​​Farber and then com­pleting it at the Struc­tural Genomics Con­sor­tium, at the Uni­ver­sity of Oxford in England.

Pursue research in a field or lab that’s exciting to you,” said Smith, who cred­ited his lab work in class with preparing him for co-​​op. “Don’t just do it for the sake of doing research.”

Third-​​year mechan­ical engi­neering major Leo Byun is on co-​​op in biology pro­fessor Dagmar Sternad’s Action Lab, which explores the con­trol and coor­di­na­tion of goal-​​directed human behavior. He’s studying how humans per­form tasks with time delays.

I wanted to be part of designing cool machines and devices,” said Byun, who hopes that his research could be used to help NASA maneuver the Mars Rover with extreme pre­ci­sion from 36 mil­lion miles away. “PRISM helped me get started.”