The Center for LifeLong Learning and Design (L3D) established an Undergraduate Research and Apprenticeship Program (URAP) in 1998 as an effort by to provide a means for engaging undergraduate students in a real research environment. The underlying philosophies of the URAP are based on the fundamental objectives of the Discovery Learning Center as outlined in the Discovery Learning Initiative. Specifically, projects have a vertically and horizontally integrated structure. Project teams are interdisciplinary by nature and include undergraduate apprentices, Ph.D. students, post-docs, research scientists, faculty, and industry partners from various fields. L3D emphasizes the importance of learning-by-doing. Each apprentice will have a personal mentor and will work on on-going projects. Our model emphasizes a long-term working relationship in which apprentices receive close guidance at first, but over time are expected to engage in more self-directed research as well as serve as mentors for younger apprentices.

Our apprentices have achieved a great deal of success in both industry and academia. All of our graduating apprentices have left CU with jobs at companies such as Northrop Grumman and Ball Aerospace. We have had apprentices publish their work at major peer-reviewed conferences and one of our current URAs, Genevieve Hudak, was awarded Honorable Mention in the Computing Research Association's Outstanding Undergraduate Award for 2004.