Stephanie Domzalski

1. What is your specific area of research (include the name of your faculty and/or laboratory)?
I work in an Informatics research group, concentrating in the area of speech coding.
2. When and how did you first get involved in research?
I enrolled in the Information and Computer Science Honors program, which involved a one-quarter seminar course and two quarters of research. As part of the seminar course, I was required to find a faculty mentor to work with on a research project. Dr. Lopes had recently joined UCI, and her project on "Digital Voices" really intrigued me. It just so happened that when I went to speak to her, she had a new project in mind that was small enough for me to complete in the time allotted.
3. How has research enhanced you education?
Research has, by far, been the most challenging aspect of my undergraduate education. The hours are not consistent, and vary according to weekly deadlines. However, my research has been the greatest and most defining aspect of my college experience. It gave me a new perspective in computer science, and confirmed my desire to get an advanced degree in that field.
4. What has been you favorite experience with research (include any interesting stories or specific events)?
There are two aspects of research that I value the most. The first is writing, which I once considered an unnecessary chore. However having written several grant requests, and a thesis required for the completion of the Information and Computer Science Honors program, my writing has improved considerably. This is an invaluable skill, especially now as I am writing applications for scholarships and graduate schools. Second, I value the opportunities to attend and present at two undergraduate research conferences, and also at a technical conference recently held in San Francisco. Speaking in front of a large group of people had always been a source of fear for me, as I am sure it is for many people. However, "practice makes perfect" as the saying goes, and now I am confident in my ability to discuss with authority subjects that I am well versed in.
5. What are your future plans and how has being involved in research helped to prepare you to meet your goals?
My goal is to get a Master of Science degree in computer science immediately after completing my Bachelorís degree from UCI. In the future I will probably opt for a Ph.D. as well, so that I can come as close to a mastery of the field as possible. In addition to helping me write a better Statement of Purpose, my research and its challenges have prepared me to meet the difficulties of continuing research at a graduate level. The research has also exposed me to branches within computer science I never knew existed, giving me additional criteria on which to identify and select graduate schools.
6. What advice would you give to a student interested in pursuing a faculty-mentored undergraduate research project or creative activity?
The most valuable ability a researcher can have is to be persistent. Persistently seek out ways to work around roadblocks in your research. Persistently seek out opportunities to author or co-author a technical paper that can be published. Persistently seek out funding for your work from various organizations, such as the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program. The latter two goals will add an entirely new aspect to your research, and will give you status and respect in the professional world.

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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