Research Assistants Talk

 

Below, in their own words, you will find reflections of special benefits, insights, and challenges experienced by other Research Assistants.

 

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"Completing a research assistantship in the Human Development department, has been a rewarding and fulfilling experience for me.  It has given me the opportunity to work with professors and other graduate-school bound students, who have an enormous amount of knowledge and understanding about the areas of study that I am interested in.  Although research can be very time consuming it is well worth the investment because of the experience gained.  A few positive experiences I gained from doing research are the ability to work with people, leadership experience at conferences, improved writing ability, time management, testing participants, and running statistical analysis.  All of these activities have helped me to understand myself, others, and human development more thoroughly.  I would highly recommend that any person at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay to become involved with research on this campus.  It is a wonderful experience and we are truly lucky to have professors that care about the students and their subject matter."

Angela Olson

May 6, 2003

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"When I first considered becoming a research assistant I was hesitant because of my lack of experience in research. I was worried that I was not going to be able to carry out the necessary responsibilities required to be involved in research. When I finally decided to take the first step I was mildly surprised to learn that none of those things were necessary to get involved.

 

As a research assistant I was able to develop many skills that I know are going to help me in future studies. I was able to work for over a year on this project and was rewarded by learning many things needed to carry out my own viable research. My involvement allowed critical-thinking skills to be developed and thus leading to learning many different research methodologies that carried over into other classrooms.

 

Some of the tasks I was involved in were data collection, journal keeping, working in a team setting, working with a variety of clientele, learning to use statistical files, improve technical writing skills, learning ethical principals, develop my own research ideas, tutoring new assistants to the protocol used in this project, oversee and set up meeting times and places, and being a liaison with community assets, just to name a few. These skills that I have developed are unsurpassable to my future in the academic field of Human Development/Psychology.

 

I would highly recommend that every person become involved in the research project. It will not only enhance the college experience but your life as well. The experience gained from research can never be taken away and the skills developed are invaluable in setting out to conduct my own personal research. I was honored to be involved in this project and I see no reason any person considering will not be unhappy about their decision. The opportunity to become published is still out there and I will be working on that this year."

 

Darryl Wheeler 

May 15, 2003

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"As a graduating senior, I can honestly say that being a research assistant has been one of the most influential aspects of my college experience.  Dr. VonDras has provided me with an array of opportunities and skills.  I have been able to be involved in research projects involving social support and life-goals, spiritually, memory and stress, and falling prevention in the aging.  I have also had the opportunity to present research at a variety of professional and student conferences.  Most importantly, each of these studies helped to develop my research skills in such areas as: literature review, techniques in statistical analysis (specifically in SPSS), and administration of tests and research protocols.  I am also highly proficient in developing IRB requests, poster presentations, and papers presenting the results of our research.

 

Research experience allowed me to see that I had the ability to go on to graduate school.  I firmly believe that as a direct result of my research experiences, I was a viable candidate for doctoral programs in clinical psychology; one of the most competitive programs in psychology.  My appreciation towards Dr. VonDras for providing me with direction and guidance in research is substantial.  I highly recommend conducting research as an undergraduate for an enriching and rewarding experience."

 

Sylvia A. Malcore

Double Major in Psychology and Human Development  

May 2, 2005

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"There is no course description for being a research assistant.  The content depends on what you are interested in, how much time you have, which professor you choose, and the focus of any ongoing research that professor may be doing.  I would recommend being a research assistant to anyone, the earlier in college the better, especially if you have a particular field of interest.  I waited until my senior year, and now that I know what I can do, I wish I had another year to expand my research and work more independently. 

 

Being involved in research gives students the opportunity to work closely with a professor they admire, and there is no better way to direct one’s own education.   Students can approach a professor they are familiar with and ask questions, like, what research are you doing?  Do you have research assistants?  What research are your assistants doing?  What research have you or your assistants presented this year, at which conferences?  If you have an idea for research, ask the professor for sources to read so you know what research has already been done.  Ask to talk to other research assistants.     

 

This was a real life experience, involving independence and team work, asking for help and giving help, flexibility and meeting deadlines, and great satisfaction.  From the lows of doing hours of data entry to the high point of presenting at the Academic Excellence Symposium and engaging in academic conversation with members of the UW-Founders Association, being a research assistant has been the high point of my education at UW-Green Bay. "

 

Julie Anderson

May 5, 2005

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"Through the semester, I was able to gain a lot of knowledge about doing research and being a researcher.  I did not know all of the steps needed to prepare an experiment until I started doing research.  I was able to learn more about the ethical standards that need to be followed in order for an experiment to be completed.  Although I did not play a huge part in being an experimenter, I feel with what I have learned this semester will help me be a better experimenter next semester.

 

Also, I was greatly honored to partake in the Academic Excellence Symposium.  Putting together the poster for the symposium helped me understand more about how to calculate the data collected and read it to understand what important information was found.  Learning this has helped me better understand how to read other published research and know what was significant about the study.

 

 It was also great to be at the meetings and listen to all of the other research other members of the team were involved in.  It is very interesting to know what everyone else is interested in knowing about the world around us.  It was also great knowing how everyone is challenging him/herself to reach for the top, which then makes people around them to strive for more.

 

Overall, it was great learning experience to be part of the research team.  I am looking forward to next semester and being even more involved with the research process and executing the experiments.  It will help me further my education and challenge me more for what is to come in my future."          

 

Sarah Lechleitner

May  6, 2005

 

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"Upon registering for a research assistantship I was not sure what to expect.  I had heard the experience was great and extremely helpful and I looked forward to getting to do something hands on and being part of a team.  I had no idea the struggles, time and sense of achievement I would gain from this experience.

 

My first few weeks of  being a research assistant seemed to be a struggle.  I had not yet gotten involved or felt to be part of a group and felt disappointed in myself for not living or working up to my potential.  I soon learned how to just get involved and after I found my place I started to realize how great of an opportunity this really was ... I truly felt I learned the most as I put together a poster for the symposium.    I got to use a lot of my previously learned knowledge from my classes to help me know what to do for the poster.  I never really realized how much I had learned and how it all fit together until I put the poster together.  After the poster was put together I had a sense of achievement that I had not yet felt.  It was different than any class could have given me and with my partner we felt overjoyed with a sense of accomplishment.

 

Now that I am graduating I truly can see and say how great of an experience this truly was.  I loved being part of a team and through the ups and downs seeing the reward of knowing we learned and taught others something made the whole experience worth it.  For future Psychology or Human Development majors I feel this is one of the greatest experiences UWGB has to offer, and they should feel privileged to go to school here and be able to be part of this type of experience.  Take these opportunities and use them because until you are part of a team doing research or an internship, I feel you do not truly understand how much this university has taught you!"

 

Kelly Ertl

May 10, 2005

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 "As a research assistant, I found that not only did I have fun with all the work I did, but I also gained valuable experience.   I began working for Dr. VonDras as a research assistant a year and a half ago.  I am now a graduating senior and feel that what I have learned will take me further than I ever imagined.  My primary task as research assistant was data management, in which I would review and enter all data given to me by the testers.  I was involved in a whole different part of the research process than some of the other research assistants.  I learned SPSS very well, and even developed other skills.  I was also asked to develop scoring rules for the card-sort free-recall task.  This was a challenge and a learning experience in and of itself.  However, I feel greatly honored to have had such experiences, and everyone on the team was very pleasant to work with.  We all worked well as a team and each person contributed to make our projects successful.  Of all the opportunities and experiences I have gained, I would truly recommend to anyone to be a research assistant."

 

Gretta Huebbe

May 11, 2005

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