Student Spotlight | August 2016
Department: I am double majoring in Social Welfare and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.
Describe your work in a few sentences that we can all understand: We sought out to analyze the relationship between GSM (Gender and Sexual Minorities) youth and the safe spaces available in relation to the individual’s community size. This specific topic is very under-researched and our study will contribute to minimizing the research gap.
Q: Who mentors your project?
A: Dr. Megan Paceley in the School of Social Welfare.
Q: What surprised you about doing research?
A: The thing that surprised me the most was comparing the quantitative data to the qualitative interviews using the chi-squared. Reading the interviews, I would assume that the relationships were substantial, but when we looked at the numbers, they were more minor than I expected to see. There was more of a learning curve regarding understanding the statistics than I expected.
Q: What did you find most challenging about getting involved in or doing your project? What advice would you offer to students facing similar challenges?
The most challenging part of doing research for me was balancing my time. Between class, work, the research, and my personal life, I had to be more cognizant of how I was dedicating time to each. For advice, I would say that it was extremely helpful to keep a planner and map out times to work on the research. It was also helpful to schedule regular meetings with my mentor.
Q: What do you like most about your project?
A: I loved being able to read through the interview transcripts that Dr. Paceley collected because it reminded me of when I was in that age range and discovering my identity through the use of online forums and social media as well.
Q: What advice would you give to a friend wanting to get involved in doing research or creative work?
A: I would recommend that they approach professors that they like and share similar study focus with and ask them if they do research or know of any research opportunities that relate to that topic.
Q: How do you spend your time when you’re not working on your research?
A: Aside from work and school, I enjoy watching TV/movies and critically thinking about the representation and social commentary. I also love spending time with my adorable miniature pinscher, Greta. When I have downtime, I am most likely to be found sitting on the couch watching TV while Greta naps next to me.