It has truly been amazing being a Chancellors Undergraduate Research Scholar, and I am so grateful that I had this opportunity; not only did this experience teach me more about technical concepts such as machine learning or physics, but it also gave me insight into how research is conducted. Pitt is world renowned for the multitudes of research that its faculty conducts, and as a sophomore who did not have much research under my belt, it was certainly intimidating at first.
When I first started, and even now, I often felt like I had no idea what was going on and that everyone around me knew infinitely more about what we were doing than I did. It is easy to get into a cycle of feeling that you need to try to learn everything on your own, almost to hide the how intimidated I felt. However, one important thing I learned how to do this semester was how to ask for help when I needed it. Research is team work, and everyone around you wants you to succeed in what you are doing, and a major part of that is teaching and learning from others. Every researcher starts out like you did, standing before what seems to be an endless amount of information; they know and understand the fears that you could be feeling, and they are almost certainly extremely willing to help. Once you learn not to be afraid of asking for help and realize that everyone is or was in the same boat as you are, you learn things much faster and will ultimately allow you to accomplish your goals.
Now that the Chancellors Research Fellowship is over, I plan to continue with research and possibly apply to more fellowships in the future. Furthermore, I plan on being a TA or Maker Guest Star for The Art of Making (ENGR 0716) in the spring. I would recommend trying research in a field that they are passionate about to any student; it is truly an amazing experience to be able to learn from experts in the field, as well as the other students around you. Not only does one gain technical skills, but really great skills that are applicable in anything and everything you do, such as time management or teamwork. I know that the future I will be able to apply all these skills in all kinds of situations, and use them to help myself and others succeed.