I hope you are all enjoying this beautiful spring weather. During these last several weeks I’ve been preparing for the UCSB 2014 Undergraduate Research Colloquium. This event will allow many of UCSB’s undergraduate researchers the opportunity to present their research to the public at large. And, for many of us, this will be our first time presenting our research projects in a formal setting.
Within the last week I was notified that my abstract had been accepted and that I would be allowed to present a poster containing information about my research project at the event. Although I’m thrilled to have been accepted into the event, I must admit that I’m a bit nervous. This will be my first time presenting information pertaining to my research project to a large and non-student based audience and I’m not quite sure what to expect. These last few days, I’ve spent much of my time collecting/sorting through a large amount of research data from which I will be choosing several pieces to present at the colloquium. Initially, I was fairly perplexed with regards to how to portray my data in such a way as to be understood by an audience outside of my field; I’ve since had a very insightful discussion with my mentor and will be attempting to create a readily digestible analogy between our research project and baseball, oddly enough.
I’ve also been spending quite a bit of time on my research project itself. My group has been seeing some greatly improved data as of late and as a result, I’ve been very busy gathering/analyzing data. Experiencing these improvements in our research project has helped provide me with a ton of motivation to keep charging through these last few weeks of my undergraduate career.
As I realize that this may be my last research blog as an undergraduate here at UCSB, I’d like to provide some advice for current/future UCSB undergrads. First off, I highly suggest that anyone curious about undergraduate research begin talking to professors whom they are interested in working with as soon as possible. Although it might feel uncomfortable approaching a professor at first, I’ve found the vast majority of my professors to be easy to talk to and welcoming of discussion pertaining to their research. Additionally, most appear to be very willing to let undergrads take part in their research projects, at least at some level. I would also like to add that, if you have room in your schedule, you might find it beneficial to take some challenging courses that are outside of your particular field of interest or major. I for instance, am an electrical engineering major but have also taken some courses in the mechanical engineering and materials departments. Though these courses were indeed challenging and time consuming, I’ve since found them to have greatly enriched my overall understanding of many of the basic concepts that one learns as an EE. Additionally, I’ve made some great friends through such courses and have also had some very insightful discussions with the professors of these classes.
I hope to see many of you at the upcoming colloquium!