The projected, increasing gap between expected workforce staffing needs of those with science technology and engineering (STEM) training and the anticipated graduates with STEM degrees demands a re-examination of how to increase the number of STEM students graduating and remaining in STEM careers. Given the continued acute under-representation of women and some racial minorities, these groups warrant additional consideration, as their further engagement may help fill the shortfall. In debates and research surrounding these challenges, the issue of retention has received relatively little investigation both in terms of bachelor's level retention for degree completion and longer-term retention within STEM activities (either educational or industrial). Anecdotal information would indicate that undergraduate students engaged in research are more likely to complete their degrees, improve their grades after participation, enroll in STEM-based master's programs, and remain in STEM careers. This paper outlines various models for undergraduate engagement in geotechnical research, as a means to develop curricular and non-curricular, short- to medium-term opportunities to promote such efforts.