Christina Rahn

1. What is your specific area of research (include the name of your faculty and/or laboratory)?
My specific area of research pertains to Domestic Violence with regard to battered women and their children. I have been working with Dr. Ray Novaco in the Department of Psychology and Social Behavior, within the School of Social Ecology, for the past 2 years.
2. When and how did you first get involved in research?

I am a Criminology, Law and Society Major in the School of Social Ecology. When I was a freshman, I began assisting in research with Dr. Paul Jesilow in the Department of Criminology, Law and Society. Dr. Jesilow was conducting a city-wide survey for the Santa Ana Police Department and had advertised that he needed research assistants in his J7 Class (Intro to Criminology). I was in this class and I really enjoyed the material presented by Dr. Jesilow, so I decided I would probably enjoy working with him as well. I volunteered my time and began assisting with his research by learning how to code data, as well as conducting telephone and face-to-face interviews. I stayed with Dr. Jesilow for 2 years before I began to study domestic violence with Dr. Novaco.

3. How has research enhanced you education?

I am a firm believer that everything cannot be learned in the classroom. For many people, incorporating a hands-on approach to their studies is far more effective and exciting in terms of learning. Research is an excellent way to apply the theories taught in the lecture halls. As the student is challenged with the responsibility of critically thinking about the problems research studies present, there is an opportunity for growth as the student attempts to solve real world settings. Research is extremely demanding, which therefore requires a great deal of time, effort and thought with regard to purpose, how it will be accomplished and what will come next.

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

The best part of my research experience has been the fact that my mentor, Dr. Novaco, has become my second Dad. Research requires time and effort, and I have spent a great deal of time looking to Dr. Novaco for direction, guidance and wisdom. Over the years, he has challenged me to become detail oriented, a critical thinker, and how to make opportunities for myself. If I had to do it all over again, the only thing I would change would be that I would have joined Dr. Novaco’s research team earlier in my college career.

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

My ultimate goal has always been to become a Special Agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation. My interests have a direct concern for the victimized populations of violent crimes. I will graduate in June of 2000, and I have applied to work with the California State Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement. It is my hope that I could begin my criminal investigation work with this bureau and then eventually work my way to the FBI.

My research experience looks great with regard to my application to this bureau. I have conducted many interviews with battered women and I've spent a large amount of time learning tracking methods and how to work with the women and children of domestic violence, which encompasses very violent crimes. I am confident this experience will definitely affirm my desires to work with these populations of victims to all bureaus that I apply to.

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

The first step is to find within yourself what you really like and what you wouldn't mind researching 10 hours a week. Do some investigating and find a professor who is currently conducting research in this area. Then inquire whether they are in need of research assistants or any other sort of help--all you need is your foot in the door. If the professor has no opportunities for assistants, convey your interests in their work and then be persistent so that if an opportunity were to open up, you would be one of the first people they had in mind to contact. In the meantime, you can always inquire about other research projects within the same field of interest. Keep in mind though, that research is very time consuming, so the most important factor is that you find something you are passionate about and something you enjoy.

Past Researchers of the Month

Dec. '99 Gina Rappleye
Nov. '99 Maria Rendon
Oct. '99 Scott Avecilla
Sep. '99 Peter Krutzik
Aug. '99 Raj Gopalakrishnan
Jul. '99 Christina Rahn
Jun. '99 Catharine Larsen
May '99 Han Kang
Apr. '99 Bonnie Pau
Mar. '99 Sharla Meeks
Feb. '99 Simin Bahrami
Jan. '99 Catherine Le
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