1. Tell us about your research!
I currently work with Professor Alan Lambert in his Attitude and Social Cognition Lab. We’re looking at rally ‘round the flag effects, such as when Bush received a boost in his approval ratings after the 9/11 attacks. Specifically, we’re investigating what underlies these effects and why Obama hasn’t received a similar boost in the current battle against ISIS.
2. Sounds really impactful! How did you get involved with your research initially?
Freshman year, I was enrolled in the Mind-Brain-Behavior Program, which allows students to match with a faculty mentor in their sophomore year. I reached out to a couple psychology professors in the spring of my freshman year, eventually matching with Professor Ian Dobbins. Even without being enrolled in an official program, it is possible to reach out to professors who are normally happy to talk with students who are interested in their research.
3. What advice would you give a student trying to get involved in undergraduate research?
Don’t be afraid to reach out to professors, but make sure to do your homework first. Reading up on professors is important both because it will help ensure that you find a good match and because it will show your potential mentor that you truly care about the research that he or she does. Check online resources that list professors’ relevant publications or published works.
4. What has been the most rewarding thing about your research?
Figuring out new solutions to interesting problems has been a great part of my research at Wash U. Instead of just learning information that has already been discovered like in classes, research provides the opportunity to be at the forefront of theory building, asking novel questions with unknown answers. I really feel like we are changing the world.
5. How has your research role shaped your career goals?
I am currently applying to PhD programs in judgment and decision making because of the amazing undergraduate research experiences I’ve had both at Washington University and during my internships. Research has proved invaluable both in shaping the coursework I’ve taken and setting a potential career path in academia.
6. What is the hardest thing about being involved in research?
Research can be a long, daunting process, so being self-motivated is extremely important. Sometimes, results might not turn out the way you hope, or a study might not go as planned. The long process can be daunting or frustrating, especially at first, but this reality makes finding exciting results even more rewarding.
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