Susan Milden

1. What is your specific area of research (include the name of your faculty and/or laboratory)?
My research examines conventional medical physician attitudes toward Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM). Two hundred randomly selected California physicians were asked to complete a survey, which was designed to examine their beliefs about CAM, their knowledge and efficacy beliefs of CAM treatments, their interactions with patients, as well as their use of technology to support their ongoing medical education. Dr. Daniel Stokols served as my faculty mentor, contributing greatly to the completion and success of my research project.
2. When and how did you first get involved in research?
I first became involved as a research assistant for Dr. Linda Levine, where my duties included administering tests and data entry. The process piqued my interest and I enrolled in the School of Social Ecology Honors Seminar in order to conduct original, faculty-mentored research.
3. How has research enhanced you education?
Having the opportunity to conceive of and implement a research project has been very rewarding. Every step along the way was an educational opportunity, including formulating the topic, conducting a literature review, applying to the Institutional Review Board for approval, applying for UROP funding, creating data collection instruments, analyzing the data, and writing the thesis. Additionally, having the opportunity to work under the supervision and guidance of my faculty mentor, Dr. Stokols, was an invaluable experience, because he supported me during each phase of the project.
4. What has been you favorite experience with research (include any interesting stories or specific events)?
I think my favorite research experiences in the research process were creating the survey and collecting the data. It was fun to collect “live” data. I particularly enjoyed reading the answers to open-ended questions. The data analysis proved to be very interesting and challenging as I continued to learn more about SPSS and statistical analysis.
5. What are your future plans and how has being involved in research helped to prepare you to meet your goals?
My experience with faculty-mentored research has inspired me to continue my education and pursue a graduate degree. I have been given a glimpse of what graduate school will be like and I feel much better prepared to succeed at the graduate level. I also learned that I really enjoy the research process, and would like to continue.
6. What advice would you give to a student interested in pursuing a faculty-mentored undergraduate research project or creative activity?
I would recommend choosing a topic that really interests you and piques your curiosity; this will keep you going when the going gets tough. I would also recommend finding a faculty mentor who is willing to take an active interest in your project, and who is available to meet with you and provide direction as needed.

Past Researchers of the Month

Dec. '03 Jana Remy
Nov. '03 Jacqueline Chattopadhyay
Oct. '03 Anshuman Chadha
Sep. '03 Ted K. Yanagihara
Aug. '03 Stephanie Domzalski
Jul. '03 Susan Milden
Jun. '03 Mai Nguyen
May '03 Chris Smith
Apr. '03 Erin Ramsey
Mar. '03 Michael Williams
Feb. '03 Emily Slusser
Jan. '03 Laleh Boroujerdi-Rad
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