Laleh Boroujerdi-Rad

1. What is your specific area of research (include the name of your faculty and/or laboratory)?

My area of research is in Cognitive Psychology. I worked with Dr. Virginia Mann examining the spelling proficiency of native speakers of Spanish in English. Mainly, I examined the role of Phonemes and Morphemes in spelling errors made by native Spanish speakers.

2. When and how did you first get involved in research?

I got involved in this research at the beginning of my third year at UCI, when I entered the honors Psychology program. I was taking a class on adolescent education that involved tutoring middle school aged children. I was working at the Shalimar Tutoring Center in Costa Mesa and noticed that the students had a very hard time spelling. 98% of the students were native speakers of Spanish. Seventh and eighth graders were making elementary spelling errors. After speaking with Dr. Mann about this, we wondered if the absence of Morphemes in the Spanish language lead to these spelling errors. Thus, my research began.

3. How has research enhanced your education?

Research played a vital role in my undergraduate education. I learned so much doing independent research; as much, if not more, than from going to lectures. I had to deal with IRB approvals, research schools, go and conduct research at these schools, and analyze data from more than 200 students. It made me more interested in the other school work I was doing. I realized how interconnected the work I was doing was with what I was learning in my classes. My sociology classes, psychology classes, and even biology classes all somehow related to my research.

4. What has been your favorite experience with research (include any interesting stories or specific events)?

One of my favorite experiences was going to the schools and conducting the research. I got to talk to the students' teachers and get their views on the problem and see the children that were having these problems and their behavior. I felt like I was making a difference and trying to find a solution to better education. Also, although analyzing the data was tedious, I really enjoyed seeing the results I found and trying to find a solution to the problem.

5. What are your future plans and how has being involved in research helped to prepare you to meet your goals?

I am currently applying to Ph.D. programs in Clinical Psychology. If I had not conducted research, I would not feel confident entering these programs. I feel that I have a solid research background from my thesis work. It has given me an idea of what I want to pursue in the future and what type of research I would like to conduct for my dissertation.

6. What advice would you give to a student interested in pursuing a faculty-mentored undergraduate research project or creative activity?

I would say definitely do it. Find something you're interested in, because it's a lot of work. If you're not interested in your topic, you will not have any fun. If you can find something that you like doing, then research can open up a lot of different avenues for you. You'll figure out what you like and don't like and it will help your future plans tremendously. Also having a faculty mentor that you get along with and who is helpful makes the experience that much better.

Past Researchers of the Month
2004
Dec. '04 Martin Vega
Nov. '04 Peter Kuo
Oct. '04 Michelle Plyer
Sep. '04 Camille Campion
Aug. '04 Ahmed Ibrahim
Jul. '04 Gregoria Barazandeh
Jun. '04 Matthew Korn
May '04 Jolene Minakary
Apr. '04 Zhanna Kovaleva
Mar. '04 Dorothy Chang
Feb. '04 Elizabeth Yanni
Jan. '04 Brad Cohn
  
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