Krikor Andonian

1. What is your specific area of research (include the name of your faculty and/or laboratory)?
I study Tropical Restoration, with an emphasis on sustainable methods of agroforestry. Specifically, I analyze the interactions between microbes and nutrients in the soil and how they affect the re-establishment of tropical tree seedlings. I participated in a field experiment on degraded pastures in Costa Rica under the guidance of my faculty mentor, Dr. F. Lynn Carpenter.
2. When and how did you first get involved in research?

I first heard about Dr. Carpenter's research through a friend two years ago. Upon speaking with Dr. Carpenter, I was drawn to her research because it applied science in an attempt to solve a problem on a global scale, something science often lacks. Prior to my going to Costa Rica to establish the experiment during summer 2000, I designed its layout at UCI. Upon returning to UCI, I presented my analyses in Bio Sci's Excellence in Research Program as well as the UCI Undergraduate Research Symposium.

3. How has research enhanced you education?

Research has sincerely allowed me to appreciate the value of education and the acquisition of knowledge. Studying and broadening my knowledge was a passive task before I began research. However, after the numerous experiences I have encountered in research, I am now able to view education in a completely different manner; I appreciate every detail I learn since I am now able to comprehend the time and effort it takes to obtain such information. In addition, I have obtained basic scientific skills in research that have allowed me to understand the integral aspects of science at a different level.

4. What has been you favorite experience with research (include any interesting stories or specific events)?
I have had many experiences in research that will remain with me for the rest of my life. The first day of research was really unique since I was introduced to so many different aspects of the research that truly intimidated me. In retrospect, I am very grateful that I felt so overwhelmed since that is what has encouraged me to continue to advance weekly. The time when I learned how to perform a Western Blot Analysis was also an interesting experience. Westerns and protein analysis are important in my studies in biology so developing my first film was an exciting moment.
5. What are your future plans and how has being involved in research helped to prepare you to meet your goals?

I am interested in pursuing a career in the medical field and research has aided me greatly by allowing me to reach farther to acquire this goal. My interaction with the faculty, the graduate students, the staff, and my peers at the College of Medicine has allowed me to mature socially and mentally. In general, research, allows one to approach questions or concerns in a specific and organized manner. As a result, my daily accomplishments in research have led me to feel more capable of and comfortable dealing with any difficult situation presented to me in the future.

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

Research is an experience that every student should encounter no matter what area or discipline they are pursuing especially here at UCI. A student interested in pursuing research should initially inquire what he/she is passionate about. Then that student should look into the different faculties specialized in that field. UROP provides excellent service for the students and can help the student find the research that would best complement his/her needs. Once you feel that you have narrowed your options down to a few labs you need to ask the following questions: Do you like the environment of the lab? Are you able to interact with your advisor personally? Do the hours in which you are expected to come in conflict with your schedule? Will you be given an active role in the research? From there, good luck!

Past Researchers of the Month

Dec. '01 Anna Kaiser
Nov. '01 Sunny Staton
Oct. '01 Kristine Kolkman
Sep. '01 Raquel Fernandez
Aug. '01 Temre Davies
Jul. '01 Krikor Andonian
Jun. '01 Elizabeth Kirchner
May '01 Joshua Neil
Apr. '01 Alia Shbeeb
Mar. '01 Qyana Griffith
Feb. '01 Reshmi Basu
Jan. '01 Yousuke Hamai
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