Advice is always a little dangerous, so I start by saying that my advice is to be careful with advice. After that, I recommend that every student take responsibility for their learning; focus on BEING a researcher not LOOKING LIKE a researcher. Research is not necessary or appropriate for everyone; be motivated by an interest in the research enterprise and its outcome, not simply an interest in being able to list the experience on your resume.
Research Interests: Combustion, Optical Particle Sizing, Particle Aerodynamics, Laser Diagnostics and Spectroscopy, Indoor Air Quality
Faculty Profile: http://faculty.uci.edu/profile.cfm?faculty_id=2366&name=Derek%20%20Dunn-Rankin