Student Spotlight | Winter 2015
Department: I am double majoring in sociology and psychology.
Describe your work in a few sentences that we can all understand: For sociology: I am doing research on 2nd generation Iranian Americans to understand how they form their identities in the dominant American culture. This research will also help us better understand how the 2nd generation interacts and relates to people still in Iran, the 1st generation, others who are 2nd generation, and to Americans who have no foreign ties. For psychology: I am doing research on the effect of race on age perception and how this has negative implications for Black girls, particularly in legal and health related settings.
Q: Who mentors your project?
A: For sociology: Dr.Freiburger. For psychology: Dr. Crandall and Mark White
Q: What surprised you about doing research?
A: I was surprised to learn no matter how smart or experienced you are, research involves a lot of trial and error. I probably re-worked study ideas and research materials with my mentors about a dozen times before we got something that we felt would work. Even at that point, you can run the study and find out your materials did not work the right way, but that is a big part of what research is about and that is how you learn.
Q: What do you like most about your research?
A: I love how much creativity research involves. With my research in sociology, for interviews you have to be really creative in crafting questions in a way that get people to open up how you want and you have to be flexible enough to follow up with their responses even when it was not what you expected. I really like that part about qualitative interviews: it's a lot of fun. For the experiments I'm working on in psychology I am creating all my materials from scratch, creating the vignettes, and the questions. I really like how much creative thinking that allows me to have.
Q: What advice would you give to a friend wanting to get involved in research?
A: I would tell them to make sure they really love the research idea they have because they are going to spend a lot of time on their work and you need to enjoy it to be dedicated to it. Also, to be okay with messing up: that is part of the research process.
Q: How do you spend your time when you’re not working on your research?
A: Homework and sleeping as much as possible! I also like to spend my free time at the gym or with my friends and family.