Laleh Boroujerdi-Rad

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

I have examined how children in third world countries-in particular the children who reside in Shelter Children's Rehabilitation Center, an orphanage in rural Kenya-formulate their identity, their sense of self. This basic research was then incorporated with the applied research of testing an intervention program with the aim of alleviating the stresses associated with this search for self. Johanna Shapiro of Family Medicine has been my incredible mentor.

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

I began my involvement with this research project last December. I was planning on going to Kenya the following summer, and wanted to do more with my time there. Then I learned about the ID-SURE program-I contacted Dr. Whiteley, and he helped me join the class and their plan for undergraduate research.

3. How has research enhanced your education?

Research has allowed me to take full advantage of the opportunities that are available for UCI students. I feel that research has changed my university experience from just school and classes into an expression of my passion and a project that I am truly proud of.

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

My favorite experiences with research have been living in Kenya and working with these wonderful children. Seeing their excitement for the weekly activities and interviews: there is nothing more special than that.

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

I am still working on the future plans for my life, I would like to go to India and do a similar project of working in an orphanage, but other than that, the future is still unclear. I think that research will really help me to meet my goals, in that it gives my cause and my name credibility that will help my life to go in the direction that I desire.

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

Keep trying! My research experience has been a complete challenge-at every step there was a dilemma. First I could not find a mentor, then I almost did not get IRB approval, but in the end it all worked out. So, put in the effort and you will be rewarded. It is all worth it.

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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