How have I benefited from undergraduate research while at Drexel? I could answer this question with one simple word. And that word would be: confidence. The plethora of opportunities that I have had to participate in research here at Drexel have made me a more confident student and, most important, a more confident person. In my time at Drexel I participated in research for three consecutive summers. The first was STAR, the summer after my freshman year, followed by two consecutive College of Arts and Sciences Humanities Fellowships. I then continued the research from my fellowships for my senior thesis.
The plethora of opportunities that I have had to participate in research here at Drexel have made me a more confident student and, most important, a more confident person.
One of the biggest epiphanies that I have had during my Drexel career came as I was presenting my research poster during the STAR Scholars Summer Showcase the summer of 2014. As the lone philosophy major participating in STAR, I had been feeling kind of down. And the fact that the majority of professors at the showcase flocked to the biology posters about finding cures for cancer and the engineering posters about designing robots was not helping. But, there were other important guests at the showcase: kids from a local high school. And where did they all flock to? My poster. Why? Because they could understand it. Halfway through the session I ended up forgetting that I was presenting my poster, and it just turned into having a conversation about my research with these kids. We talked a lot about the Jodi Arias trial and the new Lifetime Television Network movie that had been made about her. I saw their eyes light up as we were talking—I could see how happy they were by the fact that they felt included. It was then that I had my epiphany. Academia shouldn’t be so high and mighty and full of jargon. Academia is meant to teach people. And how can anyone teach something if nobody understands what they are talking about?
Ever since that moment at the STAR Showcase, I have felt like I have a viewpoint to stand for, and it has given me so much more confidence in myself as a student. Since that showcase in 2014 I have presented different research projects at numerous conferences in and out of Drexel, I have worked closely with the Undergraduate Research Department, and I have worked tirelessly to spread the message that research is for everyone. You don’t necessarily need fancy lab equipment to engage in research. All you need is a novel idea and the desire to learn and grow.