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Vast Undergrad Research Opportunities only an Introduction Away

Recent psychology graduate Adriana Reedy got involved in lab work within her first quarter on campus.

Date: 3/14/2012
By: Tom Robinette
Phone: (513) 556-8577
Photos By: Tom Robinette
If you have the confidence to introduce yourself to someone new, chances are you might have what it takes to get involved in undergraduate research in the McMicken College of Arts & Sciences – even as early as your first year.

Just ask Adriana Reedy. That simple method worked for her. The recent psychology graduate transferred to the University of Cincinnati from another in-state university where research opportunities were restricted to upperclassmen. Within Reedy’s first quarter at UC – where numerous research opportunities are open to any student with a curious nature and a commitment to learning – she was heavily involved in lab work.
Adriana Reedy found work in two research labs shortly after beginning her studies in the McMicken College of Arts & Sciences.

“Students should get that little bit of confidence they need and go talk to their professors,” Reedy says. “Communicating with the professors and getting your name out there is probably the smartest thing you can do. All you have to do is show initiative and that you’re a hard worker.”

Having come to UC for its reputation as one of the top public research universities in the nation, Reedy wasted no time getting to know her professors. She was eager to hear what advice they’d give about getting involved in lab work, and she quickly bonded with psychology professor Kenneth King. He was impressed with Reedy’s maturity and sophistication and pointed out where she could get her foot in the lab door.

“She could be the poster child for the benefits of research opportunities in A&S,” King says. “In her very first class she heard about the opportunities here. Fortunately, she had the courage to take advantage of them. Such are the numbers of opportunities available that Adriana found a nice one right away.”

In fact, she found two. Reedy worked with former assistant professor of psychology Krista Medina in her drug and alcohol lab. Reedy was active in recruiting and screening the research participants and preparing MRI images of their brains for further analysis. She also worked in psychology professor Robert Frank’s taste and smell lab where she was given the freedom to create experiments, gather stimuli, run participants and statistically analyze results on her own. She went on to present her research findings at national scientific conferences alongside graduate students and professionals within the field.

Reedy’s impressive array of accomplishments hasn’t gone unnoticed by the Psychology Department. She recently was given the faculty-nominated Dr. Arthur Bills Award for best undergraduate research for 2011. But beyond the academic achievements, Reedy says her research experience also helped her develop an invaluable support network and her faculty and grad student “family” will always encourage her to succeed.
Adriana Reedy helps test one of the Olfactometers by Osmic Enterprises in the research lab.

“No matter what I do, they’ll support me,” Reedy says. “When you come to college, the one thing you want to do is meet a professor who will give you advice and be your mentor.”

Up next for Reedy is graduate school. Eventually she plans to get into market research where, having been born in Venezuela and living international for 14 years, she wants to provide a unique, culturally sensitive perspective. For now she hopes her endeavors at UC show current undergrads that an enriching research experience can begin with something as easy as a friendly introduction.

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