Research is challenging, but it is so worth it. Through all the trials and tribulations, but also all the successes, my time during the Spring 2022 Chancellor’s Undergraduate Research Fellowship has been such a rewarding experience that I am grateful for.
As I’ve taken the time to reflect on my CURF experience, I can safely say that I have run into countless problems that have caused many headaches. However, with a little perseverance and some ingenuity, most problems can be solved. To name a specific example, I ran into a lot of issues when trying to build digital models with the software I use to create code for physical models, as well as issues with uploading the models to a website that students can use outside of the classroom. After a lot of head-scratching and troubleshooting, I reached out to others for help, and they were able to set me in the right direction to develop new workflows to conduct my research. I think this is also a good piece of advice: when in doubt, ask for help. A lot of the help I received came directly from my mentor, but I’ve also received a lot of advice from people completely unrelated to my project. Just by talking to people about things I’m passionate about, I’ve been able to learn new methodologies to optimize my project. In fact, one of the people I consulted during a moment of frustration ended up becoming a collaborator!
Even though my time with the CURF is over, the work is never done. In fact, after all I’ve learned, I’ve realized that there are a lot of opportunities to expand my project to a degree I never would have imagined possible just a few months ago. I’ve already recruited a collaborator to assist me in building out a website to host the models I’ve developed, and I plan to continue improving the interface and user experience. From there, I’m looking to expand this project to other universities by reaching out to more collaborators, as well as developing curricula based around the 3D models that can be used at the primary and secondary school levels. Right now my future directions seem daunting to me, but I’m glad I had this opportunity and I can’t wait to see where my project takes me!
To see some of the work I’ve been doing, check out the project website at touchtheinvisible.com! The website is still under construction and doesn’t showcase the physical models, but I hope it gives you a sense of what research can look like! If you have any questions about my work or are interested in collaborating on the future directions, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org!