Graduating PRA Spotlight: Lauren Rudin ’22

Lauren - PRA Grad Reflections.Lauren Rudin ’22
Major: Exercise Science; Minor: Biological Sciences
2021-22 OUR Peer Research Ambassador

My Journey:

I can’t say that four years ago I entered college with the intention of pursuing research. However, I can now say that my undergraduate and future careers have been shaped by my research experiences here at UConn.

When I first met my primary research mentor the summer before starting sophomore year, Dr. Molly Waring, PhD, I didn’t know how much her dedication towards her undergraduate students’ success would impact my professional life. Before entering her lab in the Department of Allied Health Sciences I had minimal research experience overall and none related to her field, but I had a strong interest in her passion to leverage social media to better the lives of pregnant and postpartum women and mothers.

For my first year with Dr. Waring, I learned about her research projects and contributed to any part of the process that I could; I was eager to absorb as much knowledge as possible from her and her graduate students. After some time learning the ropes, Dr. Waring slowly offered me greater and greater responsibility in the lab, and this was both a blessing and curse. Through her limitless opportunities I learned how to prepare IRB documents and manuscripts for publication, how to create informational videos and poster presentations for conferences, how to write SAS code for data analysis, how to write a grant proposal and follow through with entire independent projects of my own, and most importantly, where my own boundaries and skill sets lie. I learned to acknowledge and embrace my dual role as a student researcher and to prioritize each depending on my current course load and time points in each semester. I learned to be patient with myself when learning and perfecting new tasks. I learned to speak confidently about my thoughts and ideas.

Throughout my three years working with Dr. Waring, I’ve also learned what research means to me: research is IRB revisions and amendments, research is manuscript rejections, research is conference posters with never enough time to present, research is combing through data analysis code for bugs, research is reading other research, research is generating more questions than you answer, research is exciting, research is curiosity building, research is confidence building, research is enlightening for both participants and staff, and research is everything I hope to pursue in my future career.

What’s Next:

Now that I am graduating from UConn, I will be attending medical school at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine-Harlem in hopes of pursing a specialty sparked by Molly’s passion, OB/GYN. However, I have no plans of my research endeavors ending here; I hope to one day become a regularly contributing author to publications in the same field I started to build my name in here as an undergraduate. As I say my goodbyes, I cannot express my gratitude enough to Dr. Waring and the staff at the Office of Undergraduate Research for pushing me to reach my full potential as a student researcher during my time at UConn.

My Advice:

One final thought for any student looking to get involved in research or thinking about pursuing an independent project: keep saying yes, but put yourself first.

Click here to learn more about Lauren.