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Why did you decide to pursue research experiences during your undergrad?

When I read headlines in the news about topics like inflation, climate change, and social inequality, I often wondered who could possibly know how to solve these complicated issues. Once I realized that it is the faculty walking the halls of the Econ department conducting research right now about these topics, I couldn't help but want to be a part of it. Introductory economics courses seemed to scratch the surface of economics, and research in undergrad was the perfect opportunity to learn just how expansive this field can be.

What have your experiences with research been like?

Doing research in undergrad can feel like jumping into the deep end of the pool after only a few swim lessons. You have this adrenaline rush fueled by your curiosity, paired with an immediate panic as you realize just how much you don't know. But then, through a support system of older students, faculty, and organizations like PREDOC, I began to build the tools to feel comfortable and confident in these spaces. I've now worked on projects related to health, development, equitable growth, education, household finance, and structural transformation. Not all the work has been glamorous, but every research experience I've had has reaffirmed my belief that economics has the potential to rigorously answer the big questions.

What got you involved in PREDOC.org?

I was trying to find as much information as I could about what was required to get an Econ PhD. Do I really need to take all those math classes? How important is coding? How can I possibly get research experience with no research experience? PREDOC was the one-stop shop for all my questions. I attended the two-day PRE-Workshop between my freshman and sophomore years, where I was paired with a mentor who also went to Michigan for undergrad (who I still keep in touch with!), and then did the PREDOC Summer Course the following summer.

What do you hope other students might take away from PREDOC.org’s offerings?

The barriers to getting involved in research as an undergrad can often feel extraordinarily high, especially for students who may lack access to the right information and networks. PREDOC's offerings level the playing field a bit more in the sense that all the information that was previously only available to a select group of students at elite institutions is now in this one place for anyone interested. Perhaps more importantly, though, PREDOC's offerings provide opportunities for a support system, which can be crucial for students at the beginning of the research journey who really need that encouragement and investment in their ability to succeed in the field.