Undergraduate Research: The Benefits and the Challenges

Year in School: Sophomore
Double Major: Actuarial Science and Finance
Hometown: Bourbonnais, IL

Undergraduate research as a freshman in college is such a rewarding experience.  Research Rookies has given me the opportunity to learn the research process years before many college students get to learn it.  I’m appreciative to build a strong mentor/mentee relationship with Dr. Yore because he has so much knowledge that he can share with me.  It’s not common to get this much one-on-one time with a professor in large universities.  I also like the critical thinking and hands-on learning of research.  The most rewarding part of research is becoming an expert on a specific topic that the rest of the world knows nothing about.  Once I analyze my data, I will know more about the effects on a firm of its CEO having children than anyone else; if that’s not an ego boost, I don’t know what is.

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With this being said, undergraduate research comes with its challenges.  The biggest challenge is allocating time for everything I’m involved in.  Since I’m a freshman, college life is new to me.  I’m still figuring out the best way to divide my time between my regular coursework, my research, cheerleading, my social life, and sleep (which usually comes last on my priority list).  First semester went well with time management, so I’m planning to go about second semester in a similar fashion.  Another challenge was creating a topic to research. The best way I found to do this was to read current literature/research in my major and find gaps in the research or to find places to extend previously done research.  The last challenge I faced was data collection.  The only reason this part was challenging was because it was a long, tedious process.

On another note, it has been a while since I’ve talked about my actual research, so here’s an update: over break, I collected all of my data.  I had a list of about 5,330 CEOs given to me by Dr. Gina Nicolosi.  I researched each CEO, attempting to find whether they had children and some basic information about their children if they had any.  I also began reading on statistical analysis and the SAS programming language, which we will be using to analyze the data I collected.  My next task is to continue reading literature to start formalizing the questions we want to ask, as well as continually editing my abstract for Undergraduate Research and Artistry Day.

Lauren Anglin

Written by Lauren Anglin

I am involved in: NIU Honors Student Association, NIU Co-ed Cheerleading Team, NIU Research Rookies, BBCHS Mathletes, BBCHS Spanish Club, BBCHS Key Club, BBCHS Leo's Club, BBCHS Varsity Cheerleading, BBCHS Track & Field, and a Volunteer at New Beginnings Cat Shelter. A scholarship I have received is the NIU University Scholar's Award. An academic goal: I would like to graduate with a double major in actuarial sciences and finance. I would also like to graduate with full honors. Career goal: I would like to become an actuary.

Website: http://www.niu.edu/researchrookies/participants/1314profiles/lauren_anglin.shtml