Laleh Boroujerdi-Rad

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

I'm researching lobbyists' interactions with the White House under the guidance of Dr. Matthew Beckmann. Specifically, I highlight how it is the White House that sets the agenda and structures the debate of presidential-lobbyist interactions. The White House speaks to interest groups with perceived political clout and expertise. By doing so, they co-opt like minded individuals and groups in order to carry out their policy agenda.

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

I've always had an interest in politics and American Government; however, it was Professor Beckmann's American Presidency course that pushed me to do research on the White House. UCI is a research institution, and it has always been my goal to complete a senior thesis. Dr. Beckmann's approachable and friendly personality provided the impetus to begin actual research. It has been an exciting and humbling experience ever since.

3. How has research enhanced your education?

Conducting research has improved my writing and critical thinking skills. But it also has plugged me into the vast system that is UCI. Working with faculty provides a personal level of interaction that seems foreign in such a large campus and the insights gained from such experiences are invaluable. It has also facilitated introspection. No ideology or perspective has a monopoly on truth. Research has humbled me with the vast amount of literature that exists, but also with the knowledge, experiences and expertise of our fellow students.

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

Recently, I conducted research at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley. The staff are helpful and thoroughly enjoy their work. Personally, to actually view and sort through documents that shed light on the inner workings of the White House is fascinating (to say the least). I actually read memos and documents with personal notes and handwriting that were at one point privileged information. Good times to be had for any student with an interest in studying American Government.

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

Currently, I have finished applying to law school. Research enhances the necessary critical thinking and writing skills that makes one successful in graduate school in general, and law school in particular. I believe that one has not achieved the full potential of their education at UCI until he or she has conducted research.

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

A wise man once said, "Do not be a robot!" Pursue research as soon as possible. Professors are actually quite friendly and helpful when they see enthusiasm in a student. I recommend approaching the professor in person to discuss personal research interests. It is always better to speak to the professor in person than to exchange informal e-mails. Moreover, seek out that UROP grant! UROP provides funding for undergraduate research that is unprecedented on a UC campus. Take advantage of the opportunity, for it will pay off, not only with increased academic skills, but also the personal knowledge gained through the experience.

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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