Welcome to the 2022-2023 Academic Year!

Welcome back to PCUR! We’re excited to begin posting for the 2022-2023 academic year. I’ll introduce myself briefly – my name is Caitlin Larracey and I recently joined Princeton as the Assistant Director of Undergraduate Research. I was heavily involved in undergraduate research as an English/History major, collaborated with undergraduate researchers on my writing studies dissertation, and most recently served as the postdoctoral fellow in program design and student mentoring at Johns Hopkins University. I’m so excited to say that one of my primary responsibilities as OUR’s assistant director at Princeton is serving as the administrative lead for PCUR.

Image depicts six women (PCUR 22-23) in front of a gray brick building with bright green ivy
From left to right: Mahya Fazel-Zarandi, Ryan Champeau, Amaya Dressler, Virginia Cobbs, Kate Weseley-Jones, and Alexis Wu

I have the pleasure of welcoming back PCUR Ryan Champeau ’23 and introducing new members Virginia Cobbs ’25, Amaya Dressler ’25, Mahya Fazel-Zarandi ’25, Kate Weseley-Jones ’25, and Alexis Wu ’25. I welcome you to engage with their perspectives on and experiences with research! You can learn a little more about each correspondent below and stay tuned: PCUR posts will begin this week!

Ryan Champeau ’23

Social Sciences Correspondent

Image depicts young woman with long brown hair kneeling on the grass with her arm around a dog.

Concentration: Princeton School of Public Policy and International Affairs

Degree Program: A.B.

Certificate Programs: Cognitive Science

Research Interests: Public Policy, Decision-Making, Law, Economics

Bio:I’m a senior from New Jersey who likes dogs, photography, and writing! I’m interested in exploring how I can use research to have a positive impact on the Princeton community and beyond. Within SPIA, I have conducted research on mass incarceration, public opinion, social movements, and more. On campus, I am a Residential College Advisor, former Chair of the Whitman College Council, Scholar of Finance, Club Golf member, Community Action leader, and Co-Chair of the ’23 Class Day Committee. I’m also really enthusiastic and love to rap!

Recent posts by Ryan Champeau

Virginia Cobbs ’25

Natural Sciences Correspondent

Photo depicts woman smiling at camera with light red hair, wearing a gray Princeton t-shirt and standing in front of a tree.

Concentration: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Degree: A.B.

Research Interests: Bumble Bee social behavior, Parkinson’s Disease, Medical Racism

Bio: My name is Virginia and I am a sophomore majoring in Ecology and Evolutionary biology. I grew up in Birmingham, AL (roll tide!) and before coming to Princeton, I spent a year researching Parkinson’s Disease at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. I am now researching Bumble bees in the lab of Prof. Sarah Kocher here at Princeton, and I also work with Prof. Fuentes in the Anthropology dept studying racial bias in medical algorithms. When not in the lab I enjoy reading, biking, and sailing.

Amaya Dressler ’25

Social Sciences Correspondent

Image depicts a woman staring and smiling at camera with light blonde hair and a light pink t-shirt.

Concentration: Psychology or Anthropology 

Degree Program: A.B.

Certificate Programs: Humanistic Studies, Global Health and Health Policy

Research Interests: Menstrual Health and Dysfunction, Endocrinology, Cognitive Science, Nutrition, Medical Institutions and Health Disparity

Bio: I am a sophomore from Littlestown, PA. As a pre med student looking to concentrate in either Psychology or Anthropology, my research interests extend broadly across women’s health and healthcare reform. Outside of research, I can be found writing for Nassau Weekly or working with the PACE center as a CA fellow, and I am always happy to chat! I am usually hanging out either reading in Butler Library or dancing in one of the campus’s open studios. 

Mahya Fazel-Zarandi ’25

Natural Sciences Correspondent

Photo depicts a woman with black glasses, smiling at camera wearing a white headscarf and light top.

Concentration: Molecular Biology 

Degree Program: A.B.

Certificate Program(s): Quantitative and Computational Biology, Applications of Computing 

Research Interests: Computational biology, Genetics and genetic engineering, Biological chemistry

Bio: I am a sophomore from Toronto, Canada, majoring in molecular biology. I am interested in the intersection of biology and computer science and its application in the field of genetics. Outside of my classes and research, I write for the Daily Princetonian, listen to classical music, and play my Persian instrument, santoor. 

Kate Weseley-Jones ’25

Humanities Correspondent

Image depicts a woman smiling at the camera. She has long blonde hair, a dark blue top, and is standing in front of a white wall.

Concentration: Art History

Degree Program: A.B.

Research interests: ancient art, heritage conservation, behavioral science, gender studies

Bio: Hi, my name is Kate and I’m a sophomore from Long Island, NY! I’m planning to pursue a degree in art history, but I’m interested in most things that fall in the overlap between the humanities and social sciences. When I’m not hunched over a book, you can find me on campus playing the cello or practicing new tricks with the Aerial Arts Club.

Alexis Wu ’25

Engineering Correspondent

Image depicts a young woman smiling at the camera. She has medium-length dark brown hair, is wearing a bright red top, and the sun is shining behind her.

Concentration: Computer Science

Degree Program: B.S.E.

Research Interests: Applications of computing, educational technology, human-computer interaction, computer-aided design, art history

Bio: I am a sophomore from San Diego, CA, majoring in computer science. I am interested in the wide range of computer science applications, particularly in other engineering fields, history, and the arts. On campus, I am also a student tour guide for the Princeton University Art Museum and a mentor with Community House Big Sibs.

Interested in Joining PCUR? Apply Now!

This year’s Princeton Correspondents on Undergraduate Research team has been working hard to share their research experiences and to highlight the incredible discoveries that are being made in labs and groups across campus. We’ve covered topics from summer internships, to independent work, to navigating research and life during the pandemic. As the end of the school year quickly approaches, we’re looking for new correspondents to apply and join our team! Curious to learn about what it takes to be a member of PCUR? Keep reading to find out!

Princeton Correspondents on Undergraduate Research
Apply to join fellow undergraduate researchers who love to write and share their experiences!
Continue reading Interested in Joining PCUR? Apply Now!

Welcome Back to the 2021-2022 Academic Year!

Hello everyone and welcome back! It is with great excitement that I write this post from a cozy armchair in Chancellor Green Library within East Pyne. While the 2021-2022 semester is not normal in every sense, PCUR certainly has returned in full stride. And with a new year comes new correspondents: I am happy to introduce Cecilia Kim ’23, Agnes Robang ’23, and Sandeep Mangat ’24, the newest members to our team. I hope you enjoy becoming familiar with their unique voices as they share their experiences on the blog. They join us in addition to Yodahe Gebreegziabher ’22, Bridget Denzer ’23, Ryan Champeau ’23, Austin Davis ’23, and Abhimanyu Banerjee ’23.

In conjunction with the beginning of the academic year comes a storm of essays, tests and quizzes, readings, extracurricular activities, and research opportunities. Sharing their own tips, experiences, frustrations, successes, and realizations, our correspondents from a variety of disciplines and class years navigate their semesters alongside your own. Feel free to check out each of their bios as well, included below.

From left to right, Kamron, Sandeep, Ryan, Yodahe, Cecilia, Austin, Agnes, and Manyu.
Continue reading Welcome Back to the 2021-2022 Academic Year!

Doing Research in a Pandemic, an Interview with Professor of History Alison Isenberg

For this Spring Seasonal Series, entitled Doing Research in a Pandemic, each correspondent has selected a researcher to interview about the impact of the pandemic on their research. We hope that these interviews document the nuanced ways the pandemic has affected research experiences, and serve as a resource for students and other researchers. Here, Austin shares his interview.

Alison Isenberg, Professor of History; Co-Director, Princeton-Mellon Initiative in Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities. Taken Feb 6, 2017.
Professor History and Co-Director of the Princeton-Mellon Initiative in Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities Alison Isenberg plans to finish a draft of her upcoming book, Uprisings, soon.

As part of our seasonal series, I interviewed Professor of History and Co-Director of the Princeton-Mellon Initiative in Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities, Alison Isenberg. A scholar of the American city and its contested history, Professor Isenberg is currently wrapping up her next book, Uprisings, which she sat down with me to discuss. Professor Isenberg, who took a sabbatical this year to drill down on the draft for Uprisings, details the contents of her book, how the pandemic changed the way she researches, and the implications of her book in our tense political moment.

Continue reading Doing Research in a Pandemic, an Interview with Professor of History Alison Isenberg

Why Zoom Office Hours Are Better (and tips for making the best use of them)

A picture of students in one of the first classes held on Zoom in spring 2020

If there is one thing we as students have mastered in the COVID-19 pandemic, it is Zoom and the Zoom environment. Looking back to last spring, it is admirable how educational institutions and students adapted to an unprecedented global crisis and continued with their academic and non-academic roles. Here at Princeton, the transition to Zoom was relatively smooth given the uncertainty and fear at the time. Although the initial stages of scheduling an online semester were difficult, there was a strong desire to sustain many of Princeton’s activities for the virtual campus community. The concerted efforts of students, faculty and staff have paid off. The three semesters of virtual learning I’ve had so far mimicked almost all the characteristics of the usual in-person experience I’ve come to expect at Princeton, including access to office hours.

The main medium for virtual interaction is Zoom, and it has been adapted for almost every facet of university activity, from school clubs and organizations to school hosted events and webinars. In this post, I will take a closer look at the Zoom office hours, their many advantages and in some cases, how they are actually better than in-person ones. I will then offer some suggestions for making the best use of Zoom office hours this spring.

Continue reading Why Zoom Office Hours Are Better (and tips for making the best use of them)

Apply to Write for PCUR During the 2021-2022 Academic Year!

This academic year has certainly been atypical.  For many, the process of doing research itself has been impacted by COVID-19: indeed, in our upcoming Seasonal Series, correspondents will interview research faculty and graduate students about their research experiences in the wake of COVID-19. Additionally, many of our favorite activities have been cancelled, while others march forward virtually. PCUR has continued to publish blog posts during this time.

In fact, we are happy to announce that PCUR is hiring new correspondents for the 2021-2022 academic year!

PCUR’s 2020-2021 Correspondents

Continue reading Apply to Write for PCUR During the 2021-2022 Academic Year!

Welcome Back!

The 2019-2020 academic year is up and running! Classes are in session, recruiting season is upon us, and our first paper deadlines are approaching. PCUR is back too as a resource to help guide you through this year. Our correspondents from across grade levels and academic disciplines will reflect on their own experiences,  share tips that they have learned along the way, and raise awareness of the countless research-related opportunities and resources Princeton has to offer. Be sure to take a look at our first post of the year where Rafi offers advice on how to reduce independent work stress.

Our 2019-2020 correspondents!

Along with our returning correspondents Rafi, Shanon, Andrea, Saira, and Alec, we have three new sophomore correspondents Ella, Kamron, and Soo. Check out their bios below!

Continue reading Welcome Back!

PCUR in the News!

Melissa Parnagian, Class of ’17, former PCUR

Melissa Parnagian, Class of ’17, who served as the Chief Correspondent and a Social Sciences Correspondent for PCUR, was recently featured in a piece published by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. Melissa was a Woodrow Wilson School concentrator and is now attending the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University to receive her Master of Public Policy. In the piece, Melissa highlights the role PCUR played in her development as a writer and a researcher. Read the full article here.

If you’re interested in learning more about what PCUR alumni are doing now, be sure to check out our upcoming spring seasonal series, Post-Princeton Life: The Experiences of PCUR Alumni, and read all about the many different paths Princeton alumni have taken.

Ellie Breitfeld, Cheif Correspondent

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.

Continue reading 5 Reasons to Join PCUR

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