5 Reasons to Join PCUR

Apply to join PCUR for the 2019-2020 academic year!

As we return from Spring Break, we’re all getting ready to finish up the semester and launch into whatever we might have planned for the summer. However, now is also a time to reflect on the past year, and begin thinking about what we might want to change, or what we want to continue in the upcoming academic year. One exciting opportunity to consider is to join PCUR! We are now accepting applications for new correspondents for the 2019-2020 academic year.

What is so great about being a part of PCUR? Continue reading to find out what the current correspondents have to say about why they joined PCUR, what they have enjoyed about the experience so far, and why they would encourage others like you to apply.

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New Year, New PCURs

It’s that time of year again. The hustle and bustle of the beginning of the year begins to die down–new dorms have been moved in to, another fall lawn parties has come and gone, textbooks have been purchased–and now its time to jump right into the nitty gritty. As we finish up our second week of classes, the assignments start flooding in and it’s time to get back to work. PCUR is here to help! Join me, our four returning correspondents: Rafi, Shanon, Alec, and Elise, and four new fresh faces: Andrea, Saira, Nanako, and Raya. Coming from a wide variety of disciplines, this year’s team is ready to guide you through the coming academic year.

The 2018-2019 PCUR Team (minus Shanon), photo courtesy of Marah Sakkal

If you have specific questions that you would like to see answered, use the Contact Us form and let us know what kinds of post you want to see! Also new this year, some of our posts will be featured on the Princeton University Instagram story! We’re looking forward to a great year, so continue reading below to see what our new correspondents are bringing to the table.

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Apply to Write for PCUR! Everyone is a Researcher

Apply to be a part of PCUR’s amazing team of correspondents!

As we return from Spring Break, we enter the homestretch of the year, but also one of the busiest times. It’s a time to finish up all of the endeavors we’ve taken on throughout the year—whether it be your R3 from writing sem, your JP, or your senior thesis—and it also a time to begin looking ahead to possibilities for next year. Well, here’s an opportunity you will want to consider! PCUR is looking to hire new correspondents for the 2018-2019 academic year with research interests ranging from social sciences, to engineering, to humanities, and natural sciences.

Now, you may be thinking, “I don’t really do research…” This was my initial thought as well when I first learned about this opportunity in the Spring semester of my freshman year. In fact, I reflected on this concerned that I didn’t have any research experience in the sample post I submitted with my PCUR application. I’d like to share a few excerpts from that post here, and hopefully you’ll come to the same conclusions that I did—every undergraduate at Princeton is a researcher and PCUR is a great way to become more involved in Princeton’s vibrant research culture and encourage others to do the same. Continue reading Apply to Write for PCUR! Everyone is a Researcher

Independent Work Workshops at the Writing Center

 

Get a jumpstart on independent work with the Writing Center!

Want an organized JP or Senior thesis? Doing a quantitative research project? Want funding to support your great ideas? Sign up for the workshops below!

— This week —

Back by popular demand!
Defining your Research Question: Quantitative Projects in STEM and the Social Sciences
Thursday, March 1, 4:30pm -5:30pm
Guyot 100
 
Are you writing a quantitative JP or struggling with the introduction or discussion of your thesis?  This workshop will help you frame your project’s direction and next steps by:
• defining and refining a specific, actionable research question
• learning how to leverage secondary sources in relation to your data
• identifying the role and impact of your project in your field

 

Sign up here!

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Looking Back on Undergraduate Research: A Conversation with Jacob Schatz ’15

In a continuation of last year’s seasonal series, this winter, each PCUR will interview a Princeton alumnus from their home department about his/her experience writing a senior thesis. In Looking Back on Undergraduate Research: Alumni Perspectives, the alumni reveal how conducting independent research at Princeton influenced them academically, professionally and personally. Here, Ellie shares her interview.

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Jacob Schatz ’15 began his first semester of graduate school in NYU’s department of applied psychology this past fall.

Jacob Schatz graduated from Princeton in 2015 with a degree in Psychology. After graduation, he worked as a lab coordinator at the Temple University Infant and Child Lab until this past fall, when he began graduate school in New York University’s Applied Psychology program. I had the privilege of talking with Jacob about the independent work in psychology that he conducted at Princeton. He provided the following insights on how his interests in psychology and education inspired his senior thesis research on how children learn from storybooks and his professional trajectory beyond Princeton: Continue reading Looking Back on Undergraduate Research: A Conversation with Jacob Schatz ’15

Studying Studying: Memory Tips from Psychology

There’s a lot of information to remember for finals– learn how to keep it all straight.

With finals season approaching, a sense of dread sets in every time I take notes in lecture—how am I supposed to remember all of this information at once? Often the prospect of beginning the study process is so overwhelming that organizing all the information seems almost impossible.

As I mentioned in one of my previous posts, I’ve realized that a lot of my psychology research and coursework have provided many useful tips to make studying as effective and efficient as possible. I have compiled a few here to help you get started and hopefully feel more comfortable diving into studying when reading period comes around.

Continue reading Studying Studying: Memory Tips from Psychology

Go the Distance: Tips for Presenting your Research

The Mary W. George Freshman Research Conference is held every semester for freshman to present on their R3 research.

This past week I was invited to speak at the Mary W. George Freshman Research Conference. This conference is an opportunity for students to share their R3–the final open-ended research paper for Freshman Writing Seminar students– with a wider audience. But how do you go about converting a 10 to 15-page paper into just a 10-minute talk? How do you condense the intricacies of a month’s worth of research and analysis into just 10 short minutes?

This was the challenge I faced when I was first offered the opportunity to present my R3. On top of that, since I took my Writing Seminar last spring, I hadn’t even read the paper in over five months. But with guidance from my writing seminar professor and the Writing Center, I learned how to adapt such a detailed, academic argument for a more popular audience. Ultimately, through the process, I realized that this gap in time actually helped rather than hurt my development of an accessible presentation.

Continue reading Go the Distance: Tips for Presenting your Research

Internship Step One: Reaching Out

A few weeks ago, I participated in an event hosted by Princeton’s Peer Career Advisers called an “Insider’s Look at Internships.” I was there as an ambassador for OURSIP—the Office of Undergraduate Research’s Student Initiated Internships Program. OURSIP makes it possible for Princeton students to pursue unpaid research opportunities over the summer, such as my own, by providing funding to cover anticipated expenses.

Use professors and advisers as resources to help find summer opportunities

The unique thing about OURSIP is that it asks students to take it upon themselves to secure their own internship before asking Princeton for help with funding. As opposed to other Princeton programs, like PICS or IIP, which also assist students in the internship search process as part of the program. As students came up to speak to me about OURSIP at the event, I found that their first question was always, “So what is OURSIP?” and after hearing my description their second, more hesitant question was always, “But how did you find your internship?”

Continue reading Internship Step One: Reaching Out

Learning how to Learn: Making Research Relevant

I have never liked open-ended projects. The ones that ask you to “pick one concept and explore it” or “pick something that interests you and expand on it” always overwhelm me. How can I pick just one thing to focus on from a semester-long course that I took for the explicit reason that I was interested in all of the subject matter?

Determining the most effective study strategy is on many students’ minds with exams approaching

Last spring, I was faced with one of these final projects in my cognitive psychology course. We were asked to pick one of the central concepts in cognitive psychology, identify a question and hypothesis related to it, and design an experiment to test it. The first thing I did was read over my notes from the semester to try to find something I was particularly interested in but…plot twist…I was interested in pretty much everything, so I needed to come up with a different strategy.

I decided to reverse engineer my search for a topic. What is a question I want to answer? What would I be interested in learning about right now? What is relevant to me at this moment? Well, at the time we were coming up on finals season, so naturally studying was all I could think about. How could I most efficiently study for all of my upcoming exams?  Luckily, learning and memory are fundamental concepts in cognitive psychology so I was on my way to developing a successful, interesting, and relevant project. A project that not only appropriately connected to the material in the course, but one that I could apply to my day to day life. Continue reading Learning how to Learn: Making Research Relevant

45 Days in the Life of a Researcher: An Invaluable Summer

The developmental social neuroscience lab studies how neural changes promote social, emotional, and cognitive development

As early as November of my freshman year, I remember hearing conversations around campus about summer plans. These conversations were not about the anticipation of vacation and relaxation, but rather the frantic and stressful search for the perfect summer opportunity to pad their resumes. It was safe to say that I was freaking out.

But this pressure motivated me to learn about my options, which ultimately allowed me to further explore my interests and participate in an incredibly rewarding research opportunity. After many meetings with my amazing academic advisers and career advisers at Career Services, I secured a position as a research assistant at a developmental neuroscience lab at UNC Chapel Hill.

This position consisted of nine consecutive weeks of unpaid, nine to five workdays, and the occasional shift on evenings and weekends. Sound draining? Yes, but I loved every second of it. Don’t get me wrong, it was a lot of work. But what was so enlightening about the experience was the fact that I actually enjoyed doing the work. I found something I was passionate about and I had the opportunity to engage with it every single day.

The first day was a blur—meeting everyone in the lab, getting familiar with the lab space, moving into my office (my own office!!!), and running around campus collecting my various parking permits and ID badges. After taking care of these logistical details, I hit the ground running.

Continue reading 45 Days in the Life of a Researcher: An Invaluable Summer