Laleh Boroujerdi-Rad

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

My area of research is domestic violence in Santa Ana, California, and I have been working with Professor James Meeker from the Department of Criminology, Law & Society. The main objective of this study is to spatially analyze the occurrences of domestic violence in Santa Ana, using police calls for service pertaining to domestic violence and Legal Aid cases pertaining to domestic violence in 2002. We created a model of independent variables that included affluence, foreign born status, diversity, and population density. To do this, we have statistically analyzed the data by running bi-variant, multi-variant, and multiple regressions. We also imported these data into GIS (geographical information systems) to create maps of Santa Ana we could use to analyze the data from a visual perspective.

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

In my junior year at UCI, I received an invitation to apply for the Social Ecology Research Honors Program, and I immediately knew that I wanted to get involved in a senior research thesis. One of my professors suggested that I contact Professor Meeker, because he was looking for a student to learn GIS and apply those skills to data he had obtained from the Santa Ana police and Legal Aid of Orange County. I met with Professor Meeker and agreed to take a course in GIS, and have been doing research with him for the past year.

3. How has research enhanced your education?

Research has extremely enhanced my education. I have been reading all kinds of research since I started at UCI, and now I feel like I can view it from the side of the researcher. I understand the problems that researchers face and also the barriers to research. Being able to do my own research has taught be more than I could get from reading others' research. I would also say that learning GIS has been a great accomplishment for me as well. I never thought I would be able to get through that course, but, with persistence, I was able to obtain the skills I needed to continue with the research; knowing that I can do whatever I want as long as I try hard enough was a lesson I will take with me throughout the rest of my education and life as well.

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

My favorite part of research was working with my group in my GIS class. The course was very hard and stressful, but I had a great group and we knew how to make each other laugh and keep each other sane. Their help and support contributed a lot to the success of this project. I also was fortunate enough to have a great and attentive mentor and also Phil Goodman, a graduate student, who offered his help and support to me whenever I needed it.

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

I plan to attend law school in the Fall of 2006. I know that law school will be difficult and require a lot of work, and I feel that participating in research has disciplined me to meet the challenge. When I started learning GIS, I never thought I would survive it, but when I finished the course I knew that I could do anything with determination and hard work.

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

The advice I have for anyone thinking of doing research, is do it!! This is a big university and it is hard to get to know professors, and research is a great way to do it. The sense of accomplishment when it is all finally completed is amazing. Get involved, and your experience at UCI will be much more memorable.

Past Researchers of the Month
Dec. '04 Martin Vega
Nov. '04 Peter Kuo
Oct. '04 Michelle Plyer
Sep. '04 Camille Campion
Aug. '04 Ahmed Ibrahim
Jul. '04 Gregoria Barazandeh
Jun. '04 Matthew Korn
May '04 Jolene Minakary
Apr. '04 Zhanna Kovaleva
Mar. '04 Dorothy Chang
Feb. '04 Elizabeth Yanni
Jan. '04 Brad Cohn
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