Megan Kasperczyk, Senior, Psychological Sciences
What are your experiences in research?
I started in research as a second semester freshmen. I decided to become involved because I was told as a psychology major that I would need research experience for graduate school. When I first started, I did not enjoy it because it was tedious, I was doing minor lab tasks such as typing up references and tasks that are not enjoyable parts of research, but necessary. Luckily, I have grown to enjoy it and have had an opportunity to become more involved in the projects. It has become a big part of my life, and I am happy about that.
What research did you conduct specifically?
I am working on a few different projects as I am working in three psychology labs on campus. My most meaningful project though is the one I have been working on in the cognitive psychology lab. My mentor and I have been studying learning in students, and have developed this study from the first stage and are currently on our third iteration. In this study, we looked at feedback and how it influences study learning. I am excited to conclude that we did find results that contributed to the understanding of how students learn.
What do you enjoy most about research?
I enjoy the relationships that I have built with faculty. I was intimidated approaching faculty my freshmen year, and now I feel very comfortable utilizing my relationships with faculty to best assist me with both my school work and research. I think the connections with faculty are also important as I plan to attend graduate school, and mentor future students with research.
What were one of the biggest challenges in research and how did you overcome it?
I have never been a good writer which is unfortunate as that is the best way to share my research. This is something that I am still working on, but by continuing to write and take the time to write multiple drafts, I have improved, and plan to continue to improve my writing skills with practice.
What would you tell a friend who would want to become involved in research?
Just do it. Do it as early as you can so that you can have a rich research experience. Don’t be afraid to work in multiple research labs or to approach faculty as faculty members most likely will want your assistance in the lab. Pick something you love and do it.
How have you grown as a student and/ and or as a professional as a result of research?
My time management has greatly improved. - as I am in three research labs and each of them expect me to be in the lab at least 6 hours per week, that’s 18 hours per week in addition to my classes and course-work. It has definitely taught me a lot about time management and taking responsibility, and stepping up and taking on tasks that are not always desirable. I also think that it has helped me grow as a communicator as I have had many opportunities to talk about my research.
What are the benefits of undergraduate research?
You need research if you are going to graduate school for psychology. It gives you an advantage in the graduate school application process. Also, I have met a diverse group of people, which I may have not met otherwise. These relationships have benefitted me on both a personal and professional level whether it be a friendship or a reference for graduate school, these connections have served as a support network that has pointed me in the right direction as I pursue my career goals.