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.

Continue reading New Year, New PCURs

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

Meet the Newest Additions to the PCUR Team!

As classes begin, textbooks are purchased and suitcases are finally (mostly) unpacked, it’s safe to say that the new school year is officially upon us. Here at PCUR, we have a number of reasons to be thrilled about the upcoming semesters. For one, Elise, Taylor and I are being joined by six new correspondents from across class years and disciplines. You can read more about them on the Correspondents page, but here is a quick snapshot of our newest team members.

The 2017-2018 PCUR team back on campus and ready for the year ahead!

Continue reading Meet the Newest Additions to the PCUR Team!

Bursting the Orange Bubble: Tips for Keeping Up With the News

We all acknowledge a need to look beyond the Orange Bubble. Particularly since the election, I’ve felt it even more necessary to keep up with the world. At the start, I found myself engrossed by news stories on Facebook, Google, and iNews. Quickly, though, I realized I was in another sort of bubble, as these are all limited by your friend networks, political leanings, and past searches. Hearing others express similar concern, I reached out to a number of friends to see what strategies they use to look outside the bubble while also balancing a busy work schedule. The following tips are some ideas I got from them.

  1. Listen to short news stories when walking places. Lots of people listen to music while walking to class. Why not plug in your headphones and listen to the news? One friend uses the NPR app to listen to 3-8 minute long stories while on the way to class: a simple means of following current events.
  1. Listen to podcasts. For longer news stories, it’s easy to download podcasts from NPR or other major news outlets. One friend told me about “Pod Save America,” maintained by former Obama speechwriters. Podcasts are ideal for lengthier activities: listen while you exercise, as you get ready in the morning, or when you’re on a long train ride.

    Of course, you could always do it the old-fashioned way and get a physical copy of the newspaper!

Continue reading Bursting the Orange Bubble: Tips for Keeping Up With the News

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

The Post-Summer Catch Up

The site of most post-summer catch ups.

How was your summer?

You’ve probably heard this question more than once since arriving on campus. Your semi-memorized response perfectly celebrates your summer adventures without being boastful. It’s a response you expect to repeat often over the next few days, as you greet old friends and make new ones.

Whether you’re a freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior, you knew the summer question was coming, and that’s a big reason why you’re prepared for it. But the 2016-2017 school year will also raise questions you aren’t expecting — and that’s where PCUR comes in. Blogging about our research across class years and divisions, we’re here to demystify the research process and help you get through it. We also work to put research in context, as both a part of the Princeton experience and a contribution to the real world.

We’re thrilled to enter our third year as a for-students-by-students resource. And when it comes to fall semester, we’re in the same position as you are: enriched by our summer adventures and ready to tackle whatever comes next. So let’s stay connected throughout the journey. You can subscribe using the box at the top right of your screen, email us through this form, and visit us at select research-related events around campus.

As I begin my senior year (and all the thesis-related work that comes with it), I’m excited to pass the Chief Correspondent baton to Emma Kaeser ’18. Emma and a cast of new and returning PCURs (including me!) will keep sharing our reflections on the research process. Together, we’ll help make this school year even better than the last — which, by the way, should lay the foundation for a spectacular summer 2017.

— Melissa Parnagian, Chief Correspondent 

The Year in PCUR

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This is Space Mountain, an indoor roller coaster at Disney World. The ride is basically in complete darkness — so those twists and turns reeeeally blur together.

The 2015-2016 school year is finally over, and it’s been quite a ride. You might even call it a roller coaster. Think about it: The year had highs. It had lows. It probably had loops where you weren’t sure what was going on. But you were buckled up for the long haul, and you finished with an excited smile (and/or a sigh of relief). The whole thing was so dizzyingly fast that, in retrospect, all its twists and turns seem like one indistinguishable blur.

PCUR was on that roller coaster with you. We also see the past eight months as kind of a blur. But, we wrote about the twists and turns of research as they were happening – creating a lasting record of our paths, and how they intersect with yours.

You’ll remember feeling like we did in key moments throughout the year:

Posts like these remind us how research can be frustrating and confusing, but also exciting and impactful. That’s a pretty neat summary of PCUR’s message. And, starting this summer, it’s no longer confined to the academic year. Because many undergraduates tackle research experiences during the summer, we’ve decided to post occasional updates from our summer internships, fieldwork, and research-related activities. There will be twists and turns, for sure – but there will also be written records of how we work through them.

We hope you’ll follow along with our first ever summer series. And, we hope it’s okay that summer posts will be less frequent than posts from the academic year. It’s only because we need some time to do fun vacation things, like go to amusement parks – and ride roller coasters.

— Melissa Parnagian, Chief Correspondent

(P.S. Best of luck to our graduating seniors Bennett, Jalisha, and Stacey. We can’t wait to hear about all the amazing things you’ll do!)

Princeton Research Day: Something for Everyone

Looking through the recently released program for Princeton Research Day, I am reminded that research is not just conducted by people in lab coats. It is conducted by everyone.

The 162 projects represent over 50 departments and programs. Nearly 200 dfr_pfd_newsletter_masthead_4x6undergrads, grad students, and postdocs will present — everyone from artists to biologists to computer scientists to sociologists to policy makers. And that’s not to mention all the interdisciplinary overlap!

I know that we are all busy this Reading Period, writing papers and studying for exams. But give Research Day a chance! There is such value in stepping away from our own work to appreciate the passion and dedication that these students are putting into theirs. I’m not going to push any one project on you. But, why not take a look for yourself? Skim the program and see if any presentations spark your interest. Come see a few of them as a well-deserved study break on May 5th. Who knows? Maybe you’ll discover a topic you never knew you liked. I can promise you that, at the very least, you’ll learn something new by attending #PRD16.

— Dylan Blau Edelstein, Humanities Correspondent

Sophomores: Get Ready for Independent Work

If you’ve never completed an independent work project, you probably have questions about how the process works. As usual, if you’ve got questions, PCUR has answers. Join me, Zoe, and others for an informal discussion about independent work tomorrow night (Tuesday, April 5) from 9-10pm in Butler College (1915 room). Check out the flyer below:

Are you ready for independent work

— Melissa Parnagian, Chief Correspondent