Daniel Aldana

1. What is your specific area of research (include the name of your faculty and/or laboratory)?
My area of research is conflict resolution, specifically the peace process, how to end civil wars, and how combatants are disarmed and reintroduced to the society from which they originated.
2. When and how did you first get involved in research?

I first got involved in this project when I took U.S. Foreign Policy at UCI with Professor Sereseres. I was particularly interested in Central and Latin America due to my familial ties to Guatemala. Dr. Caesar Sereseres not only inspired, but also, encouraged me to get involved in research because I stood to learn a lot about a process that would ultimately enlighten me about a specific topic, and more so, about myself.

3. How has research enhanced you education?

My research project at UCI has tremendously enhanced my life. First, it has given me a foundation for engaging in research for the purposes of contributing what I learn to modern day concepts of conflict resolution. Second, it has broadened my knowledge with respect to the politics of peace processes and international relations. Third, I have developed a magnified sense of respect for all those engaged in research who are constantly contributing to human progress in general.

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

My favorite experience in research was taking a trip to Guatemala to conduct in-person interviews with people who had been involved in the peace process as negotiators. I specifically remember meeting with a former guerrilla who was in part responsible for the administration of stipend packages to other former guerrillas. Her office was decorated with pictures of women in combat, and one could tell she was proud to have served her cause.

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

My future plans are to apply what I've learned at UCI and to pursue an advanced degree in International Studies. I'm currently planning to matriculate at the Monterey Institute of International Studies with the intent of earning a Masters Degree in Commercial Diplomacy. The research experience and guidance I've received at UCI have given me the confidence and the foundation to move forward with my dream to build a career in International Studies/Relations.

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

My advice to any student interested in pursuing research is to make sure that what they research is something that they have passion for. I found that being connected to my research (in my case, the connection was through my Guatemalan heritage) enabled me to patiently gather, sort through, and analyze information for two years.

Past Researchers of the Month

Dec. '98 Kirk Pak
Nov. '98 Priya Shah
Oct. '98 Daniel Aldana
Sep. '98 Robert Elkins
Aug. '98 Amber Bosin
Jul. '98 Joe Ma
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