Week 5

I am ending my fifth week and starting my sixth week, meaning I am at the halfway mark of the DREU program. Because I have worked with my mentor prior to starting the program, and am attending graduate school in August with them, I plan to continue working with them after the program ends. Also, the project I am working on is qualitative research and includes participants that are involved in weekly interviews and other tasks which could require us to not have all the data ready and analyzed by the time the program ends. The research work will still be a work in progress.

Based on the data we have collected so far we are beginning to look at the participants’ perception of the use of IoT devices in their home, generally and with an emphasis on security and privacy. Because the participants are being interviewed weekly we have data to clean weekly. I am working under a Ph.D. candidate and alongside another undergraduate student who is helping me clean the data and transcribe the interviews as they come in. Later in the summer once we are over halfway through the interviewing process, around the week of July 5th, we will begin to look at the data as a group and using qualitative coding methods.

I think the biggest challenge for me has not been project-related, but more work balance. Though I did research prior as an undergraduate, I have never only worked on research at once, normally I am also balancing clubs and course work. Balancing working on this research project that I was assigned to with REU alongside attending meetings for other research work happening in the lab that I am in for the summer has been interesting. Keeping track of different research projects, problems, questions and tasks is something new for me. However, I feel this is a good way for me to practice this skill, as well as learning to decipher what to prioritize in listening to and remembering when starting my Ph.D. program in the fall.

Written on June 14, 2021