Garrett C. Jones
The following is the transcript of an interview conducted with Garrett C. Jones
1. Give a brief description of your research:
With the guidance of my mentor S. Marie Harvey, Chair and Professor of the Department of Public Health, I constructed the proposal for a cross-cultural investigation focused on exploring the variables that influence reproductive health decisions among adolescents in rural Mexico. Prior to IRB approval, I was invited to spend the summer living the community of La Pitahaya which is located in the central state of Zacatecas. Based on previous ethnographic observations made, I was able to create a population-based study, better directing the focus to the people of the community.
2. What do you like about research?
For me, the opportunity to participate in undergraduate research has allowed me to utilize skills from the classroom as well as through the acquisition of new abilities that will certainly contribute to my future education, profession and character.
3. What are your struggles with research and what have you done (if anything) to overcome these struggles?
One of the many obstacles I faced throughout the process was in getting project approval by the Institutional Review Board (IRB). Since I was not previously acquainted with the criteria and formatting that is required, I went through many drafts and relied heavily on the assistance of my mentor to finally produce a product acceptable for University endorsement.
4. Did you work closely with a mentor? If so, what are the benefits you have gained from this kind of relationship?
Working alongside both Marie, and her research assistant Deanne Hudson, I have learned a great deal about the IRB approval process as well as how to effectively distribute a survey, conduct an interview and ultimately successfully interpret and analyze qualitative data. I am positive that without the dedication and commitment of my mentor, Marie, I would have struggled a great deal more achieving IRB approval in a timely fashion.
5. What are the benefits, in your opinion, of participating in undergraduate research?
Undergraduate research allows students to directly apply what we are presented in the classroom, that often times can seem abstract and in-practical. Whether in lab, attempting to synthesize an 'F-moc' protected protein in order to determine the way in which it folds into its secondary structure, or out in the field attempting to recruit participants for your project (in another language), research will forever change your perspective along with your appreciation for information given in the classroom.
6. What advice would you give other undergraduates seeking research or preparing to participate in research for the first time?
I would highly recommend that an undergrad pursue some sort of research whether it is an independently proposed project, or assisting in one of the various labs on campus. The process allowed for personal growth in many ways that I feel traditional western pedagogy does not provide. Even to those students that already have an idea of what it is that they would like to do after undergrad that might not have to do with research, the self accomplishment that is a result of producing a unique academic document is un-paralleled.
7. Any other thoughts?
If you have any questions about this research project, or to the process in general feel free to contact me personally at (email@example.com), Garrett C. Jones.