Student Spotlight | February 2017
Describe your work in a few sentences that we can all understand: My study concerns itself on religious affiliation and its effect on charitable donation. It aims to find whether religiously affiliated families act more charitable than those who are non-religious.
Q: Who mentors your project?
A: Dr. Donna Ginther
Q: What surprised you about doing research?
A: I was surprised on how specific your topic can be. I found that when I first started, I wanted to examine too much, my topic ideas were too large to handle. It takes a lot of thought to finally refine your topic to a manageable size. Then after it is sizable, you have to make sure that you have the data that can support your topic.
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?
A: For me, it was finding data to support my topic. For my study, I had to learn a lot about statistical software (STATA). When I started my project, I had little understanding of STATA. So it was challenging to learn enough about it to comfortably and confidently work on my project. I would suggest reaching out to your mentors for help, they are going to be there for you. Personally for me, my mentor directed me towards a very useful STATA course offered over the summer and got me in contact with her graduate research assistant to help me with obstacles I faced.
Q: What do you like most about your project?
A: I like being able to apply my economics coursework to my research. It keeps me more attentive during class because I understand that the information can both benefit my success in the class and my project. I have now had enough experience to be comfortable with STATA, and managing large data sets is quite fun. You come to appreciate the software and all its capabilities.