Working with a professor or graduate student as an undergraduate research assistant can be a very rewarding educational experience. It allows students to explore topics in which they are interested to greater depth than is possible in a classroom setting, and can lead to an interest in graduate school. UG Research Assistants typically work 5-10 hours per week, and are either paid an hourly rate or earn technical elective credit.
There are often opportunities in the summer, as well as during the fall and spring semesters. Students are encouraged to contact professors directly to inquire if they have any undergraduate research positions available. Often faculty will hire a student who shows initiative and interest in their research. Please feel free to use the MechSE faculty e-mail directory to contact professors. It is best to make an appointment with them to discuss their work and to see if they have any openings.