Yara Bojorquez fell in love with the research process during an intense five-week summer program in 2019. As a result, she has become passionate about research, and looks forward to pursuing many projects throughout her future academic and career life. Yara feels that her experience has helped her develop her communication and critical thinking skills, and has come to realize that, even as an undergraduate, her research contributions are important. UROP is pleased to recognize Yara for the continuing excitement she brings to her undergraduate research experience.

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

Currently, I am conducting a longitudinal qualitative study for the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) that will highlight and remediate the socio-political issues afflicting the marginalized community of Mexican immigrants and their families in the city of San Bernardino, CA. My faculty mentor under UCI’s School of Social Sciences is the incomparable Dr. Caesar Sereseres, a San Bernardino native.

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

Officially, I had not conducted any formal academic research until becoming a Summer Academic Enrichment Program (SAEP) alum in 2019 when I studied the possible relationship between a Cannabis user’s sex, age, and educational level, and their propensity for criminal sexual violence as defined by the U.S. Department of Justice. Getting the opportunity to research a topic of my choosing made the rigor of the five-week “academic boot camp” a unique and rewarding experience. I fell in love with the process entirely.

3. How has research enhanced your education?

Research has shown me that my contribution to academia is important, and has greatly contributed to my character development. The process can be stressful, exhausting, and disheartening at times, yet it has fortified my critical thinking and communication skills. I have a confidence I did not possess before completing my first official research project.

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

Though I thoroughly enjoyed the freedom to research a topic of my choosing during SAEP, my favorite experience with research is happening now. Not only am I “getting paid” to conduct research for UROP this year, I am also learning invaluable skills from a gracious and brilliant mind. My faculty mentor, Dr. Caesar Sereseres’ genuine enthusiasm for the research process and his dedication to his community has been an education in the tenacity of the human spirit—one I will cherish always.

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

My future goals revolve around academia. Whether I end up teaching as a professor or writing paper after paper later in life, I aspire to contribute to the world of education and discovery for the rest of my time on Earth. Research, I have found, gives you an outlet through which to convey your intelligence and passions simultaneously. I have so much to say that I hope is amplified through my research. To quote one of my favorite humans, Salvador Dali, “Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings.” Accurate research gives us all wings, I believe.

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

Mechanize your passions without hesitation. There will always be fear, anxiety will come knocking at the worst times, but if you believe in yourself and in what you are doing, you cannot lose. Harnessing your passions—things that motivate and interest you—and applying them to the work that will progress your goals means getting to your ultimate destination with a smile of satisfaction across your honest face. At least, that’s what I keep telling myself!

Past Researchers of the Month

Jul. '20 Luciano Groisman
Jun. '20 Yara Bojorquez
May. '20 Zaira Barrera
Apr. '20 Iyah Totounji
Mar. '20 Aung Myat Thu
Feb. '20 Gabriela Salcedo
Jan. '20 Sahrai Garcia