The following is the transcript of an interview conducted with Melissa Princehouse
1. Give a brief description of your research:
The research I’m assisting with is a diet and exercise intervention working with premenopausal women trying to reduce the risk factors of Metabolic Syndrome.
2. What do you like about research?
My research opportunity has given me a much more hands on approach that can often be missed in a classroom. I am able to interact frequently with participants who are in a process of trying to change their dietary habits, which is very hard for many. I am getting a firsthand approach of what is working for different individuals and what they are struggling with. What I’m learning from talking to participants is easily going to be applicable to my future career aspirations.
3. What are your struggles with research and what have you done (if anything) to overcome these struggles?
One of the biggest issues I’ve faced is time management. With the research I’m working on there are definitely weeks that require more hours than others and it’s making sure you’re able to balance school, research and any other activities so I can give my best effort at everything I’m a part of.
4. Did you work closely with a mentor? If so, what are the benefits you have gained from this kind of relationship?
I’ve been working with both the lead research and even more frequently the doctoral student for the study. This is an excellent opportunity to get to know faculty and staff within your college which isn’t something many students at a college this size are able to experience. They are able to share advice from a perspective of someone who knows exactly what you’re going through. Also, you are able to gain meaningful letters of recommendation which are crucial when applying for certain scholarships, awards, internships and further schooling.
5. What are the benefits, in your opinion, of participating in undergraduate research?
Research has given me a firsthand look at what goes into research and how much work it really is. This is an eye opening experience when trying to decide whether I want to go onto graduate school, or begin working. And if you have completed some kind of research opportunity in your undergraduate career, it will definitely make you competitive amongst other applicants.
6. What advice would you give other undergraduates seeking research or preparing to participate in research for the first time?
Be proactive. If you have any kind of an idea you are interested in research, start talking to people and looking at different opportunities. It takes time to get involved with research and you don’t want to miss an opportunity because you second guessed if it was for you. If you have any interest, talk to a faculty member, they can probably help you figure out if a research opportunity is a good fit for you at the time.
7. Any other thoughts?
If you are interested in research at all, begin to pursue opportunities today. It’s a very unique learning opportunity that you don’t get from a classroom setting.