Why You Should Apply to Join PCUR in the Words of the Correspondents Themselves

As spring quickly approaches and the 2017-2018 school year becomes a not-so-far-off reality, PCUR is starting our annual search for new correspondents! If you are a freshman or sophomore looking to hone your research and writing skills, PCUR could be a great fit for you. Below, each PCUR Correspondent offers their own perspective on what they enjoy about PCUR and why you should apply to join us:

“I love being a part of a close-knit community of student researchers from whom I am constantly learning. PCUR has helped me grow tremendously as a researcher, writer and team member and has pushed me to be more reflective and purposeful in my research. If you are passionate about research and wish to learn more about its role in the Princeton undergraduate experience, PCUR is right for you!”

-Emma Kaeser, Chief Correspondent

Continue reading Why You Should Apply to Join PCUR in the Words of the Correspondents Themselves

PCUR Embarks on Year 3

This fan is by far the best part of my new dorm room.

Greetings from my swelteringly hot dorm room! I am back on campus and finally moved in after nine harrowing hours of unpacking amid a heat advisory. Needless to say, I felt some nostalgia for my air-conditioned underclassmen dorm. But my days of AC are behind me and as I start junior year, I know that I’m headed for bigger and better (but maybe hotter) things.

Just like me, PCUR is embarking on its third year at Princeton! The blog has come a long way since its start in 2014 largely due to the incredible work of the bloggers. A HUGE shout-out to Melissa, who has been our fearless leader for the past year. Melissa’s guidance has helped us deliver great content, reach a wider audience and become a more closely-knit community.

As Melissa begins her senior year and thesis-related work, she is passing the Chief Correspondent baton to me. I’m thrilled to fill this role and to help PCUR grow throughout year three. I’d also like to welcome new PCURs Elise Freeman ’19 and Taylor Griffith ’18 who will start contributing to the blog this fall.

You know you’re back in the Orange Bubble when this is the view from your bedroom window.

As always, we will aim to be the best resource we can be for the largest audience possible. To that end, I’d love to see us engage more with the Princeton student body. What are you dying to know about undergraduate research? Let us know! You can reach us by clicking Contact Us under the About PCUR tab on our home page. This year PCUR will also have its very own Facebook page, which we hope will serve as another means of communicating with students. You can use Facebook to send us questions, share research-related content and tell us about all the amazing research you do!

I may no longer have AC, but something tells me year three will be the ~coolest~ year yet.

 

— Emma Kaeser, Chief Correspondent

My Lesson in Research Rehearsal

After eight amazing weeks in Europe, I’m back in the U.S. and just starting to process my time abroad. Interning at the European Roma Rights Centre taught me so much about Roma people and the systematic racism many of them face. I also learned about efforts to combat this racism through litigation and advocacy. I greatly value the knowledge I gained through this experience — and now, as I prepare for another year of research at Princeton, I’m also thinking about the process behind the knowledge. Some of the most useful and thought-provoking lessons from my time abroad concerned how to effectively prepare for field research.

Here I am in Belgrade, Serbia with the other conference participants, all of whom work with organizations that research statelessness in Central and Eastern Europe.

During my second-to-last week in Budapest, I went with four colleagues to a conference in Belgrade, Serbia. The three-day conference functioned as a training workshop to prepare seven organizations to conduct field research on stateless Roma (Roma individuals who aren’t legally affiliated with any nation.) These organizations were based in countries all throughout Eastern Europe and the West Balkans, where statelessness is a particularly significant issue among Roma populations. The ERRC led the workshop — and I got to play a role in the research trainings. Continue reading My Lesson in Research Rehearsal

Zooming In and Stepping Back: A Two-Sided Approach to Research

As I head into the second half of my internship at the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) in Budapest, I find myself equipped with a more focused understanding of my research— and, curiously, a wider understanding of my research. This may sound strange at first. How can my perspective become narrower and broader simultaneously? It might seem paradoxical, but I’ve realized that digging deeper into a research project often entails zooming in and stepping back.

Here I am standing on Liberty Bridge and looking at Budapest from across the Danube River–a zoomed out view if you will.

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Stage 1 of my Summer Internship Abroad: Exploring Budapest’s Present and Past

The Chain Bridge spans the Danube River, connecting the Buda and Pest sides of the city.

Hello (Szia) from Budapest, Hungary! In a few days, I will start my internship with the European Roma Rights Centre, where I will be working with the legal team and doing research on anti-Roma discrimination. But for now, I am busy exploring the city and getting acclimated to my temporary home. As I wrote in April (and as Princeton’s IIP program suggested), interning abroad can be thought of as a comprehensive research experience — a time to collect “data” on our surrounding environments. Fellow PCUR blogger Vidushi gave similar advice during her study abroad experience in New Zealand, where she talked about taking courses relevant to New Zealand culture. Following everyone’s “immerse-yourself-in-the-culture” suggestion, I used my first few days in Budapest to do some informal “research” on the city. Continue reading Stage 1 of my Summer Internship Abroad: Exploring Budapest’s Present and Past

Just When You Think the Year is Over, the Best is yet to Come

At Reunions, you can always identify the alumni by the wacky orange and black jackets custom-designed for their class!

Back during exam period, when I unenthusiastically headed to the depths of Firestone for intense study sessions, I was motivated by a few exciting prospects. Most obviously, there was the idea of being done with exams and embarking on refreshing summer experiences. But for many Princeton students, the end of the school year also entails one of the University’s oldest and most eagerly awaited traditions: Reunions.

Reunions is a three-day period at the end of May when all Princeton alumni are invited back to campus for a weekend of fun events, celebration and socializing. Graduating seniors get to attend, as do many other undergraduates who are participating in or working at events. I have the opportunity to go this year because I’m performing at Reunions with Princeton University Ballet. (If you are interested in attending our show–which is free and open to the public–it will be in the Frist Film and Performance Theater at 6:00 pm on Saturday, May 28!)
Continue reading Just When You Think the Year is Over, the Best is yet to Come

Confessions of a Post-Declaration Sophomore

For AB Princeton sophomores, April 19, 2016 was (and still is) a date engraved in our brains. It marked the deadline for declaring our concentration. By extension, it also symbolized a major transition in our academic careers. April 19 signaled the end of days, weeks and even months of uncertainty mixed with internal debates and (many) last-minute mind changes. Theoretically, the passing of April 19 should have put us sophomores at ease. No more doubt and anxiety …right?

Still feel torn between two concentrations?

On the contrary, I personally have experienced some uncertainty since declaring my major (Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, also known as “Woody Woo”). Given that many of my friends have had similar feelings, I’ve decided to address two questions that my fellow not-so-anxiety-free sophomores might have post-concentration declaration.

Continue reading Confessions of a Post-Declaration Sophomore

3 Steps to a Fulfilling Summer Research Experience

The weather might make you feel like summer is impossibly far off (as I’m writing this, it’s a depressingly chilly 37 degrees), but move-out day is less than two months away! Given June’s swift approach, now is an excellent time to start thinking about how you can get the most out of your summer experiences.

Whether your summer plans involve flying to another continent or staying on campus to do research, some introspective preparation can truly ~elevate~ your experience.

This summer, I will be doing an IIP internship at a public interest law organization in Budapest, Hungary. I’m currently in the process of solidifying travel and housing details, but logistics aren’t the only thing to plan for. Last week, for example, all summer IIP students attended a meeting to get advice on how to make the most of our internships. Many of the speakers’ suggestions involved logistical preparation, echoing the tips Dylan wrote about a few weeks back. But they also focused on introspective preparation and encouraged us to reflect on where our research fits into our lives — and on what kinds of researchers we aim to be. Here are three of the tips that we discussed: Continue reading 3 Steps to a Fulfilling Summer Research Experience

Mentorship in Research: Getting by with a little help from my friends

Over the course of the semester, PCURs will reflect on the professors, advisers, and friends who shaped their research experiences. We present these to you as a series called Mentorship in Research. Most undergraduates have met, or will meet, an individual who motivates and supports their independent work. Here, Emma shares her story.

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Shout out to my friends for helping me make smart decisions.

While many professors and advisers have offered me invaluable guidance throughout my academic career, my most helpful and memorable mentorship experiences have actually been with friends. Not that my friends and I often sit down and have formal discussions about our research paths. Rather, most of their advice comes in the form of consolations when I’m feeling unsure of my decisions regarding work and research.

I know what you are thinking. “Is support from friends really a form of mentorship?” I understand why this might seem confusing at first, but I truly believe that friends can often be the best mentors. My friends probably know better than anyone else what interests and excites me. Unlike with a professor or adviser, I don’t feel the need to impress my friends or worry about their impression of my choices. Plus, my friends are the ones who listen to all of my complaints about projects or commitments I’m not interested in. Seeing me at my best and my worst gives them valuable insight: They wouldn’t let me take on a project they didn’t think I would find engaging (if for no other reason than because they don’t want to hear me complain).

Continue reading Mentorship in Research: Getting by with a little help from my friends

Presenting Like a Pro: Three Tips for the Freshmen Research Conference and Princeton Research Day

Often, the second half of the semester calls for students to present their research findings in class, or in front of professors/advisers evaluating independent work. Presentations are a different kind of assignment than, say, fifteen-page research papers — and they require a different set of skills. At this time last year, I found myself facing a new and unexpected presentation project: My fall writing seminar professor had asked me to revisit my final research paper and present it at the Quin Morton ‘36 Conference.

Engaging your audience during a presentation can seem like a daunting task, but with some thoughtful preparation, you’ll be sure to command their attention.

Now called the Mary W. George Freshmen Research Conference, this event is an opportunity for freshmen to share their writing seminar research with a wider audience through ten-minute presentations. I encountered many challenges while breaking down my paper—a feminist perspective on evaluations of sexuality in films— into slides and bullet points. However, I also learned a lot about presentations through the process. While this year’s participants are gearing up for the conference in early April, students presenting at Princeton Research Day are in the midst of similar preparation. In light of these upcoming events, and since many students will have to present their research as spring semester comes to a close, I have decided to offer some advice on research presentations. Below I throw in my two (three) cents on the topic.

Continue reading Presenting Like a Pro: Three Tips for the Freshmen Research Conference and Princeton Research Day