MSRE Week 2: First Exposures to the Research Process
In this second week of the 2011 McNair Summer Research Experience, the Junior Scholars have been hard at work preparing their outline for their research papers and learning about the process of scholarly writing from Dr. Richard Lombardo. Next week, they’ll have completed their research paper’s introduction and literature review using the knowledge they’ve learned from this week’s session.
With their projects well underway, Karina Pedroza and Nathan Lilienthal offered us some insight into their projects and how they’re adapting to the research process. Karina is researching attitudes on immigration, while Nathan is researching the effect of climate on body size trends of Pleistocene horses.
UNL McNair: Thus far, what have you learned about conducting a full-scale research project?
Karina: I’ve learned that it is a lot of work, and it requires a lot of organization. By organization, I mean keeping track of all the deadlines that have to be met and making sure to have enough time to finish the different assignments. My summer project has definitely been a priority this summer. It’s a different experience than before; before, research was a side activity, still important but something I had to make time for. Now, everything else revolves around my project.
Nathan: So far, I’ve learned that you really have to plan your research project carefully in order to keep everything organized and in working order. Also, it requires a lot of time and effort, but all of this will pay off in the end.
UNL McNair: How do you feel about your research so far? How has it been going? Are you enjoying the experience?
Karina: I feel very good about my research so far. It was a slow start, but now it’s going a lot smoother. It’s really interesting and satisfying conceptualizing a project and seeing it through.
Nathan: I’m really enjoying the research experience; it allows me to get a hands on feel for what my career as a paleontologist may be like. At first, I was a little unsure on how the research process worked, but after awhile I got the hang of it, and I feel that this experience will definitely prepare me for graduate school.
UNL McNair: Has there been anything unexpected about MSRE so far?
Karina: The workload. We were warned that it was going to be a lot of work, but it’s the time too. Deadlines come up quicker than expected. There are also a lot of different things to get done. For example, you have to worry about your project, the research paper, the GRE, and applying to graduate school. Sometimes it’s overwhelming, but it feels extremely satisfying once I complete one step and move onto the next.
Nathan: I feel that, during the fall and spring semesters, the McNair staff did a wonderful job on informing everyone on what to expect during the MSRE and what should be done early in order to stay on track, which depleted possible unexpected occurrences to happen.
Thank you both! You’ve both risen to the challengw of a full-scale research project and will do well throughout MSRE. Continue your hard work, and keep up the good attitudes! We’re all proud of you.