Laleh Boroujerdi-Rad

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

I work for Professor Reg Penner in the chemistry department. I use electrochemistry to synthesize nanomaterials with interesting properties that could be used as chemical sensors or other applications.

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

I was in Professor Penner's chemistry honors general chemistry class when I asked him about research. I just went into his office, asked him about working for him, and he said okay. I am surprised that he took me, considering that I knew nothing at the time. I sat with him at lunch for some kind of "get to know UCI" day when I was still a senior in high school and I think he told me that he normally likes to have undergraduates start in the summer after their freshman year. That was probably my reason for asking so early. I was then put under the care of then graduate student, now Dr., Erik Menke.

3. How has research enhanced your education?

Research has taught me a huge amount about areas of chemistry that are outside of my class work. Electrochemistry, photolithography, and materials characterization have all been integral and useful tools in my research. None of these topics are covered very well in undergraduate chemistry coursework. These tools will also come in handy in graduate school. I have also learned a lot from direct contact with the graduate students and Professor Penner.

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

I was given the opportunity to spend a week in Corfu, Greece, for a meeting with our European collaborators. I gave a 30 minute presentation about the Penner group research and, for that, I got a wonderful hotel room on the beach. The researchers were from all around Europe, and getting to know them was interesting. It was also nice that they were all physicists and had no idea what I was talking about, because some of them were extremely intimidating.

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

I plan to attend graduate school, and research has allowed me a view into the world of a chemistry graduate student. Research has also shown me that I really want to pursue science for a career.

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

Be ready to work hard. Don't just put in the ten hours per week required for research credit. That is not enough time to tackle a major project. Also, if you work hard, you can impress your mentor enough that he/she will give you more responsibilities.

Past Researchers of the Month
Dec. '06 Megan Trotter
Nov. '06 Allison Zemek
Oct. '06 Jeremy Roth
Sept. '06 Crystal Wang
Aug. '06 Michael Thompson
Jul. '06 Kimberly Balazs
Jun. '06 Joseph Boufadel
May '06 Vicky Zhou
Apr. '06 Jessica Morreale
Mar. '06 Talinn Toorian
Feb. '06 Vivek Mehta
Jan. '06 Pernille Hemmer
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