PCUR podcasts are here!

Whether you read PCUR from your laptop or from your phone, neither option is particularly useful when you’re on the go. Why? Reading and walking usually don’t mix. But listening and walking go hand in hand, which you probably know from blasting your playlist on the way to class. PCUR wants a spot on that morning playlist: We’ve just launched our very own podcasts, perfect for those times when reading isn’t an option. Listening to our brief, informal conversations will start your day on a good note.

Check out the first podcast now – it’s an interview with a Rutgers Psychology major turned Master’s candidate in K-6 education, who happens to be my sister.  How did independent work influence her journey? Listen below to find out.


— Melissa Parnagian, Chief Correspondent

Getting that On-Campus Feeling (and that Research Advice)

With banners raised and schedules posted, it’s safe to say Princeton is ready for another school year. But how do you know when you’re ready – when getting (back) to campus finally feels like being on campus?

This little guy counts as another important sign that you're back in the Orange Bubble.
This little guy counts as another important sign that you’re back in the Orange Bubble.

For returning students and first-timers alike, this transition is hard to verbalize. Maybe it occurs when you hug your family goodbye. Maybe it’s when you empty your last suitcase. Or maybe it’s when you organize everything from that suitcase – pillows neatly thrown on the bed, pictures of summer adventures hung with wall-safe tape. The 2015-2016 school year couldn’t begin without these moments…but I don’t think any of them bring that being-on-campus feeling. I actually think all of them do: Being here is a collection of moments that somehow combine to make sense.

At PCUR, we’re all about making sensible combinations from smaller parts. In our own research, we analyze data from engineering, humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences to reach coherent conclusions. In our blogs, we filter through rumors about the research process to share universal truths – and universal pitfalls – that we’ve learned from experience. As students ourselves, we know what you’re feeling. We’ve felt it. We’re currently feeling it as the fall semester gets underway. Our goal is to make research less stressful and more exciting, which is why we hope you’ll to subscribe to our research-related musings (using the box at the top right). If each PCUR post is a moment, then the overall blog is a collection to guide you through independent work. Continue reading Getting that On-Campus Feeling (and that Research Advice)

Looking Back and Looking Ahead

I recently met a professor who said he finds Princeton especially interesting this time of year because, all of a sudden, people are constantly “constructing things” across campus. Teams of facilities workers string cables from buildings. They drive fences into the ground. They erect massive tents and lay dance floors and stages underneath.

Farewell for the summer from the Princeton Correspondents on Undergraduate Research!
Farewell for the summer from the Princeton Correspondents on Undergraduate Research!

Yes, Reunions and Graduation are a few short days away. Strangely, it seems that while students are winding down—finishing exams, heading off to summer programs or perhaps beach trips for “dead week”—the university undertakes elaborate, if temporary, projects in preparation for the pomp and circumstance of late May and early June.

With the start of summer, there will be a respite in our blogging work at PCUR. But before we “sign off,” it’s worth taking a glance back at correspondents’ contributions. This year, the blog’s first, our team of students has shared experiences and insights of both depth and breadth. They offered tips on making your way through the writing process and enumerated the dos and don’ts for drafting funding proposals or completing IRB applications. They interviewed students about senior thesis projects. They proposed creative strategies for choosing a major or getting started on a new project. We even got the chance to hear from a correspondent during her semester abroad about how to continue developing research skills at a new institution. Continue reading Looking Back and Looking Ahead

Join PCUR: Five Reasons to Become a Correspondent

One arch for each reason, courtesy of Whitman College.

As PCUR’s inaugural year comes to a close, we have good news and better news. The good news is we’ll keep blogging next year, to help guide you with our personal research stories.  We’re excited to continue advising you from draft to deadline.

The better news is we’re looking for new members – and since anybody is welcome to apply, you must be excited, too. Why should you submit an application to join us next year?  Here are five of infinity reasons to that effect:

  1. You’re reading this blog

If you clicked on a link about undergraduate research, then research is obviously on your mind. And since you’re still reading, you must have spare time to think about independent work. Interest + time = great PCUR posts.

  1. You’ve had (any) research experience

Whether analyzing specimens in the field, collecting data online, or writing a term paper, you’ve learned from participating in a research project.   Your insights could help someone get to or get through a particular stage of independent work – and we’d love to know how. Continue reading Join PCUR: Five Reasons to Become a Correspondent

Introducing the PCUR Blog!

PCUR word cloud

It is my pleasure to introduce you to the Princeton Correspondents on Undergraduate Research! The PCURs are a team of six undergraduate correspondents, from across class years and disciplines, working on research ranging from independent projects to senior theses. Here on this blog, they will share their experiences and insights.

Yet the stories they tell will extend beyond their specific projects. While research varies depending on subject matter, methodology, and discipline, there is at least one common thread tying the process together: it is not a linear path. We begin with a question; we set out on a quest to answer it. Soon enough, we find ourselves navigating sharp turns, unexpected detours, roundabouts, and even dead ends.

This non-linear journey makes the research process more exciting and enriching. And so as these young scholars reflect on the ups and downs of their research, we can all learn something, whether we are fellow students, advisers, or members of the Princeton or global community.

Without further ado, the Princeton Correspondents on Undergraduate Research welcome you aboard!

– Isabelle Laurenzi, Chief Correspondent