My second time at the Research Rookies Reception as a returning Research Rookie was a wonderful experience! It was very different from last year’s reception because instead of video taping us, we gave our short elevator pitch live on stage. I did not get nervous until I was on stage because I was first so busy networking with other people who attended the event. This was a great way to catch-up with others and tell them about my research. Once on stage I was a little nervous first but forgot about that once I started talking. I enjoyed talking about my research as I have been working on this project for over a year now. I felt very confident and comfortable because I knew that I know my research very well. The content of my speech came very naturally to me as I do believe it is the knowledge I have about my project and not the memorization that could help succeed in an elevator pitch. Even though it is important to prepare for and practice an elevator pitch well, it should not be memorized. This also helps to not forget any lines because I never use the exact same words. My favorite part of the reception was the networking. I enjoyed meeting many new people but also seeing familiar faces. It was a wonderful feeling sharing my research experience with others and getting positive feedback for it.
I am very excited for next semester and cannot wait to continue with my research project. This semester was very successful so far because I was able to collect some data already. For next semester, I am planning on collecting more data and reach our goal of around 90 participants overall. Research does not always turn out the way it was planned but I will try hard to get as many participants signed up as possible. Since we had a good start in the fall, this will help me to succeed in the spring. Besides the data collection, I will also be working on my poster and the thesis write-up that is an important part of my project this year. In April, I will defend my thesis in front of different faculty from the Psychology department. This is an exciting last year at Northern Illinois University for me and I am very happy I can spend this time in the Research Rookies program. I see this as a great preparation for graduate school as I have just sent out all of my applications. In the spring I will find out where I will be going to school in the fall semester. I am very thankful that Research Rookies opened me so many doors for my future career. Without the Research Rookies program I would not have had such a great first experience with undergraduate research. Thanks to the program I met my faculty mentor Dr. Larissa Barber who has helped me in so many ways along this way. Thank you!