Shelly Brown-Riddle

1. What is your specific area of research (include the name of your faculty and/or laboratory)?
I am currently working on Phase II of my research project, The Relationship Between Division of Labor Expectations and Divorce, under the guidance of Professor Wendy Goldberg. I completed Phase I of my project last year through the Social Ecology Honors Research Program. In addition, I am assisting Professor Goldberg this year with her meta-analysis examining the effects of maternal employment on children’s academic ability. This winter I will also be part of Professor Carol Whalen’s research team. She is studying adolescent ADHD.
2. When and how did you first get involved in research?

While I was a lower-division student at Irvine Valley College, I was a member of Psi Beta, an honors society for psychology majors. We attended conventions given by The American Psychological Association (APA) and The Western Psychological Association (WPA). I presented my first personal research project as a sophomore at the 1998 WPA convention in Albuquerque and at the 1998 Psi Beta Research Symposium.

I am fortunate to have had these experiences prior to my transfer to UCI because I was able to fully appreciate and immediately take advantage of all that UCI had to offer undergraduate researchers. I worked as a research assistant to Professor Paul Jesilow in Criminology, Law and Society. My current project is an expansion of the project I did for my upper-division writing course in Social Ecology (194W).

3. How has research enhanced you education?

My passion for research translates into a passion for expanding my mind. Course-related assignments have been enhanced by my strong need for cognition and healthy skepticism. My skills as a researcher have contributed greatly to my high GPA and have built the critical foundation I need for success in obtaining my Ph.D. in Human Development.

4. What has been you favorite experience with research (include any interesting stories or specific events)?
I would have to say that being able to work at UROP as a mentor to other students who are interested in pursuing research goals has been my most rewarding research experience. I was offered the job while turning in my 1999 Fall Call for Proposal and have enjoyed every aspect of it that I have been involved in (research advising, planning the Symposium, doing workshops etc.).

My project on divorce is of particular interest to me, as I am divorced myself with three children. Performing the literature review for my project by studying aspects of marital satisfaction and the effects of divorce was highly insightful on a personal level. I strongly advocate researching topics that are of a very personal nature because there is much more to be gained in the process. Aside from advancing in academia, the richly rewarding experience of discovering something that could positively change the course of your life is of tremendous value.

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

I will be pursuing a Ph.D. in Human Development through The School of Social Ecology here at UCI, beginning in Fall 2001. My career goals include becoming a professor, performing mediation, and pursuing research. My research experience has been immensely valuable in preparation for graduate school. Through my association with faculty mentors in my personal research projects, I have been given opportunities to work on other research ventures that are typical of what I will experience in graduate school. These experiences have helped to solidify my future goals because after what I have experienced, I am certain that the career path I have chosen is the one that will be the most satisfying and rewarding for me.

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

It is never too late to get started! Research is the most important thing that an undergraduate student can be involved in. It is often a deciding factor in acceptance for graduate programs, scholarships, fellowships, internships, and it will facilitate job opportunities that may otherwise have been unavailable. Other than the obvious extrinsic values associated with research opportunities, the intrinsic rewards are incalculable. Everyone is busy, so don’t use that as an excuse not to do research. There are many ways of combining research with required course work that make this experience possible for even the busiest students (if I can do it while juggling the needs of three children, you can do it too!!)

Keep an open mind in courses that are of strong personal interest. Jot down thoughts that come to mind during a lecture that could be explored further by research. Get to know all your professors by attending their office hours. (Every professor I have ever had would know me by my first name if they saw me today on the street.) The benefits of these associations have been of extreme value to me both professionally and personally. Finding the crucial faculty mentor is made much easier by taking advantage of already established relationships. Set yourself apart from the average student by doing these things and your future success is guaranteed!

Past Researchers of the Month

Dec. '00 Chris Gothard
Nov. '00 Kristoffer Nicolaisen
Oct. '00 Bryan Sommerse
Sep. '00 Ryan Stafford
Aug. '00 Carol Chao
Jul. '00 Gopi Manthrapagada
Jun. '00 Heather Smith
May '00 Pany Tehrani
Apr. '00 Kirsten Cappel
Mar. '00 Shelly Brown-Riddle
Feb. '00 Nader Nassif
Jan. '00 Rebecca Kanter
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