Rudy Medina’s involvement in research has awakened in him a desire to study the relationship between the individual well-being and the social world. Through his study, he has developed critical thinking skills and dedicated himself to pursuing a career in academic research. Rudy has particularly appreciated the challenges his work has taught him to overcome and the opportunities he has had to work within a research team. Rudy’s passion for his research was recognized with his being awarded the 2018 Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research for the School of Social Ecology.

1. What is your specific area of research (include the name of your faculty and/or laboratory)?

My research interests lie within the field of Cultural Psychology with an emphasis on family values. My specific area of research relates to the concepts of familism and frame-switching. I am currently working as a research assistant for Dr. Belinda Campos’ Culture, Relationships and Health Lab, Dr. Paul Piff’s Morality, Emotion and Social Hierarchy Lab, and Dr. Azim Shariff’s Culture and Morality Lab.

2. When and how did you first get involved in research?

My first experience in research was at Cerritos Community College through a research methods course. With the guidance of our professor, we created a research study on the usage of humor in advertisements and the memory recall of the brand as an outcome. I was responsible for helping run the study and submitting a complete research paper at the end of the semester.

3. How has research enhanced your education?

My experiences working as a research assistant have awakened my desire to investigate how our social world impacts our overall well-being. Research involvement has ignited my passion for research and has made me a stronger candidate when applying for graduate school programs. Most importantly, it has made it possible for me to enhance my critical-thinking skills, and it solidified my decision to pursue a career in academia.

4. What has been your favorite experience with research (include any interesting stories or specific events)?

My favorite experience with research has been designing my honors thesis here at UCI. I have had the great fortune of working with great people who are supportive and motivating. Dr. Belinda Campos and PhD. candidate Karina Corona have agreed to be my mentors in the Social Ecology Honors program and have been crucial throughout the development of my project. We will be working together on my Honors Thesis throughout my final year here at UCI. This is my favorite experience because it has given me a glimpse of what it entails to create a research study, and what it is like to work in a research team environment. Being part of this research project has challenged me in ways that I had never been challenged in academia. This experience has also proven to me that I could successfully overcome difficult challenges and continue to grow as an individual.

5. What are your future plans and how has being involved in research helped to prepare you to meet your goals?

My future plans involve applying to Ph.D. and Masters programs in Social and Cultural Psychology. My long-term goal is to become a university professor and study familism from a moral perspective. It is imperative to seek to learn how our moral understanding develops from a cultural-family driven contextual perspective and ultimately guides our social actions.

6. What advice would you give to a student interested in pursuing a faculty-mentored undergraduate research project or creative activity?

I would advise any student interested in pursuing a faculty-mentored undergraduate research project or creative activity to attend faculty office hours to learn more about their topic of interest. By interacting with faculty, you will get a better understanding of whether your idea can be developed into a research project and who you could work with on your project or activity. Finally, make sure you choose a topic that really interests you and that you’re truly passionate about. This will fuel your drive in a year-long project and serve as an experience that can change your academic career.

Past Researchers of the Month

Nov. '17 Rodolfo (Rudy) Medina
Oct. '17 Belen Miranda Cairo
Sep. '17 Gabrielle Banner
Aug. '17 Sharon To
Jul. '17 Samantha Ku
Jun. '17 Zachary Valley
May. '17 Julianna Cressman
Apr. '17 Navid Reza Ghaffari
Mar. '17 Martha Arhemi Morales
Feb. '17 Jafar Al Souz
Jan. '17 Joseph Mehrabi