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Health Professions

Helena Blumenau

Class Year

2023

Area(s) of Study

Neuroscience

Hometown

Highland Park, Illinois

Co-curricular

Women's Swim and Dive, Delta Gamma Eta-Mu, Director of Scholarship

Why did you want to conduct undergraduate research?

I wanted to conduct undergraduate research as a way to both further my education and explore career interests. I knew I wanted to go to school after undergraduate, I just wasn't sure if that was going to be more medical-based, or research-based. Doing research has given me the opportunity to apply the skills I learned in my courses to hands-on, real situations, as well as learn more about possible careers.

What research did you conduct at Rosalind Franklin University, and why is it important?

I was involved in Psychology Research at Rosalind Franklin University. I did two main projects this summer: the first was studying broadly physical activity during the COVID-19 quarantine. I looked at participants' responses and analyzed them to see if there were any trends, repeated barriers, or facilitators, as well as relationships between various factors and whether or not participants reached an adequate level of exercise during the pandemic. This information is helpful to know moving forward, as we continue to navigate the pandemic. If we are to go into another lockdown, we now have the advice to give for how people can stay active during a sedentary time. The second project I worked on was a meta-analysis, examining gender differences in biphobia, or negative views towards bisexuals. I am still working on this project through this semester, however, it's an important study to conduct as there isn't a lot of data on the negative attitudes towards bisexuals, and we are able to condense the information already out there into one large study.

How has this research helped you grow intellectually and personally?

This research was helpful for me in terms of expanding my academic interests. I was previously set on studying Neuroscience, but this summer has really opened my eyes to Psychology and shown me that I am capable of learning things beyond what I previously thought. I look forward to continuing to experience new things academically and pushing myself through challenging coursework.

How has it helped you to strengthen and/or refine your career goal and what is your professional path ahead?

Initially going into this summer, I was very set on going down the pre-med route and going to medical school after college. However, doing research this summer has shown me that it may be a better career path for me. I was able to narrow down my wide range of interests to a narrower category, and because I was exposed to multiple career paths this summer have been able to look more into other options out there as well. I currently plan on going to graduate school, either to obtain a Ph.D. or a master's degree, most likely in Psychology or Neuropsychology.

Would you encourage others to do undergraduate research? Why?

I would recommend undergraduate research to others for many reasons, but mainly because getting hands-on research experience is a learning opportunity

that cannot be matched in the classroom. You develop new skills and improve ones you have already learned in school, which are essential. It can also help guide you in terms of academic interests and career options as well.