Alumni Spotlight | April 2016
KU major: Psychology, Class of 2004
Current occupation: Education Consultant
Research mentor while at KU: Dr. Scott Eidelman
Describe the undergraduate research experience that you had while at KU: While an undergraduate, I worked with Dr. Eidelman to conduct psych research at Fraser Hall. Most of the research was conducted with volunteers from the Psyc 101 courses, and was related to bias, stereotypes, and status quo perceptions.
Q: What do you think was the most important thing you learned while doing undergraduate research?
A: Consistency and attention to detail. Whether it is in conducting psychological studies, relationships, education, baking, etc., consistency and attention to detail are vital components to successful replication of efforts, and vast insights can be made from both successes and failures.
Q: What advice do you have for undergraduates who might be interested in doing research or creative scholarship?
A: Start small, but be thorough. Even if the research you conduct isn't in your eventual professional field, the lessons learned through the application of your knowledge will certainly be transferable.
Q: Do you use any of the skills or perspectives gained doing research in your current occupation? How so?
A: Currently, I work with public and private schools to improve their systems and practices. This requires putting research-based educational practices into action, and monitoring the fidelity of their implementation. Helping to conduct research while an undergrad gave me the skills to better interpret research, as well as bridge the research to practice gap - and ultimately improve the learning of students.
Q: Many undergraduate researchers are making decisions about what to do after they graduate from KU. Having been in those shoes, what do you know now that you wish you’d known then? Do you have any advice?
A: It probably sounds a little strange, but work some really cruddy jobs before trying to get to the top in your field. I know right out of college I was ready to take on and run the world, but now I am very thankful for having worked my way up through some rough, and low paying jobs for a little bit. You will have infinitely more understanding, empathy, and credibility as a professional in your field if you have cut your teeth doing the groundwork for a few years. Save yourself the frustration of thinking you deserve the job you really want in management right out of college, and just learn the heck out of being a grunt for a while.