Student Research Blog

Different Lenses: The Value of Multidisciplinary Research

By Alex Clonan, Peer Research Ambassador

Different Lenses: The Value of Multidisciplinary Research. By PRA Alex.Research is all about asking questions, each one viewed through a different lens and perspective. Our academic background, experiences, passions, and interests shape these different lenses. Together, a diverse community of investigators can work to ask questions and strive towards understanding.

I’ll tell you a little bit about my lens. As a first-year Electrical Engineering student, I applied to the Health Research Program and ended up having the opportunity to work at the Center for Quantitative Medicine at UConn Health. To be honest, leading up to my first day in the lab, I was terrified, having little to no experience in whatever ‘systems biology’ was, but I was eager to learn. I wasn’t quite sure how my engineering background would fit in, or what I would be able to contribute. Continue reading

It’s Okay to Change Directions

By Elisa Shaholli, Peer Research Ambassador

It's Okay to Change Directions. By PRA Elisa.When synthesizing ideas  – whether it be for a research project, a plan for a class paper, or even just an idea for something personal like a DIY project –  I fall into the line of thinking of ‘this idea needs to be completely thought out and perfect.’ The more fool-proof the plan, the better the idea, because if it changes directions, that means my project wasn’t great to begin with and I’m doing it all wrong, right?

Well….. It’s actually the opposite! Continue reading

Shifting Gears: The Importance of Questioning Your Research Interests

Shifting Gears: The Importance of Questioning Your Research Interests. By PRA Kynza.By Kynza Khimani, Peer Research Ambassador

When people talk about their research experiences, they often focus on the positives. But what do you do when your research experience is not what you expected it to be? What if your academic interests and career goals have shifted?

If you find yourself asking one of these questions, then you may be able to relate to my research journey. Continue reading

Let Your PI Know: The Importance of Communicating Your Needs

Let Your PI Know: The Importance of Communicating Your Needs. By PRA Lauren.By Lauren Rudin, Peer Research Ambassador

It’s the second month of school, midterms are coming up quickly and alongside studying you have your weekly research tasks. Everything seems to be a top priority, but you know that something will eventually have to give. Sound familiar? I’ve been in this position several times, and from my own experience I can tell you that (1) everything will be ok, and (2) you need to let your PI know. Continue reading

I Don’t Understand Anything in These Papers!

By Michelle Antony, Peer Research AmbassadorI Don't Understand Anything in These Papers! By PRA Michelle.

Imagine this scenario: you’re eager to participate in undergraduate research and find a professor whose work interests you. You come across one of their papers and once you open it up, it’s in an alien language. This situation is all too familiar to many undergraduates (including myself). Hopefully, this how-to guide with some tips that have helped me in my research journey will be of use to you. Continue reading

Not All Labs Have Four Walls

Not All Labs Have Four Walls. By PRA Drew.By Drew Tienken, Peer Research Ambassador

Think about what you envision when you think of a student research experience. You might imagine someone with a white lab coat hunched over a test tube and meticulously pipetting solutions in search of data. Maybe you think of the lab itself, a pristine little box of four walls full of intimidating equipment and complicated scientific machinery. When imagining what you want your research experience to look like, I challenge you to fight the stigma of this research stereotype, and realize that not all labs have to have four walls. Continue reading

Approaching Research With a Positive Mindset

Approaching Research With a Positive Mindset. By PRA Stephanie.By Stephanie Schofield, Peer Research Ambassador

It’s the start of another busy and hectic semester, and there’s no doubt that you’re probably feeling overwhelmed at that massive list of things you must conquer. Moving back into a dorm, figuring out where your classes are, reading syllabi, thinking about that first chemistry exam you want to ace…. It feels never ending, right?! And on top of all of that, you want to get involved in research. How on earth are you going to manage all of it?

The answer: you are, and you’re going to manage it all much better than you give yourself credit. So, take a deep breath, and know it will all work out! Continue reading

Research Reflections: Confidence and Capability

Research Reflections: Confidence and Capability. By PRA Alexandra.By Alexandra Bettencourt, Peer Research Ambassador

Think about a time when you have said to yourself “what else could possibly go wrong?” We’ve all had those moments. The moments that feel like we can’t figure a way out of whatever challenge is holding us back. When I started my journey in undergraduate research, I never imagined that the greatest thing that it would teach me would not be a clinical laboratory skill or how to present in front of hundreds of people. The greatest thing undergraduate research could have ever taught me was to have confidence in my own capabilities, and that I have the power to solve the moments where it feels like nothing else could go wrong. And that is just what it did. Continue reading

Research Reflections: Growing Through Unexpected Challenges

Research Reflections: Growing Through Unexpected Challenges. By PRA Kerry.By Kerry Morgan, Peer Research Ambassador

When it comes to research, I have found that every experience is different in its own way, and you can never walk into an opportunity with clear expectations of what it will be like. Personally, I’ve been part of several research experiences spanning across two different campuses, and within three different departments. I first got involved in research during my Sophomore year, and at that point I was just overjoyed to have even been given an opportunity to participate in research at all. However, my interests were not yet fully developed, and I had no idea what I could expect from research, or even what else existed in the world of research. I started my journey in the Kinesiology Department, and while this was research I found very interesting, I discovered that being involved in research should go far beyond just having an interest in the work. As I reflect back on my first two research experiences, I recognize the misconceptions that I had going into each opportunity, but I am also grateful for having learned what my refined goals as a student researcher were.    Continue reading

My First Research Experience: Being Open to the Unexpected

My First Research Experience: Being Open to the Unexpected. By PRA Claire.By Claire Fresher, Peer Research Ambassador

Many things surprised me when I started my first research opportunity. I didn’t know what to expect. I had heard a few things from upperclassmen about their own experiences and had attended a couple presentations from OUR, which is what got me interested in research in the first place, but I had no idea what my personal research experience was going to be like.

Something I hadn’t expected was how many people there are in a research group to support you and how willing people are to help. When I started my research position, I was introduced to a graduate student that worked in the lab station right next to mine. She showed me around the lab space and set me up on my computer. She was always there to ask quick questions or help me with any problems I encountered, as were the other people using the lab space, even if they weren’t in my specific lab group. Continue reading