1. What is your major and where are you from?
I’m actually studying several things: Political Science, Economics, and Finance. I love all of them! And I’ve actually lived in a lot of places; I was born in North Carolina, but only lived there for 4 months. I spent the rest of my childhood in Florida and Columbia, MO, and most recently Saint Louis for the last two years, where I’ve been attending Washington University.
2. Describe your work for our readers.
I work as part of a research group at Washington University called the Democratic Institutions Research Team, led by Brian Crisp, a professor in the Political Science department. Right now, I’m helping organize data for a project that examines how certain constituency-level characteristics like nationalization can explain electoral competition and results. It involves working with data software like R, as well as lots of work in Microsoft Excel.
3. What have you gained from your undergraduate research experience so far?
I think that doing research as an undergraduate student is one of the best opportunities I’ve taken advantage of. It not only makes me more competitive in the job market by building marketable skills, but it allows me to contribute to what college is truly about: expanding knowledge and scholarship.
4. What do you plan to do after graduating?
After I graduate, I hope to attend law school and do a JD/Masters joint degree. I am not sure what area of law I will end up entering, but for now I am interested in criminal law.
5. What was your experience using ScholarBridge like? What did you search for, when did you contact your potential mentors, what were your next steps after using ScholarBridge?
I knew I was interested in doing research, so I created a profile on ScholarBridge and searched for professors at Washington University who were doing research in Political Science and Economics. By clicking on different professors’ profiles, I could see their research interests and whether they had any positions open. When I found one that I was interested in, I reached out via email to inquire about joining. After that, it was just a matter of working out the details. Overall the whole process went quite smoothly.
6. What advice would you give to a student that wants to get involved in research? Who should they talk to, and where should they go to start their search?
The likelihood is that if you want to get involved in research, there is a professor who is happy to have your help! There are tons of ways to find out which professors are looking for assistants—whichever department you’re interested in working in will likely be able to give you a list of people to contact and many universities have research departments that can help you out. And recently there are organizations like ScholarBridge that can help connect you with professors and make you better informed.
Interested in undergraduate research but unsure of where to start? Join ScholarBridge today and search our database of professors and opportunities to find the perfect research position for you!