On September 1, 2017, twelve McNair Scholars presented the findings of their summer McNair-funded research projects. Each student had 15 minutes to give a power point presentation and to take questions from the audience.
This blog post features Cat Johannessen, a senior majoring in Psychology. It is the eighth in a series about our summer researchers.
Project Title: The Vibrotactile Uncanny Valley: A Means to Virtual Interpersonal Touch
Research Advisor: Dr. Mounia Ziat, NMU Department of Psychology
LOL My Thesis Title: Humans that Aren’t Human Are Damn Creepy
What is one thing that you learned from this research experience?
Start early, run your participants early, and work hard.
What surprised you?
I was surprised by how quickly I became comfortable with the job I was doing and how passionate I became about it.
What frustrated you?
When things didn’t go as planned.
Tell us something about your research mentor.
Dr. Ziat was always on top of everything we did. She is an excellent mentor and teacher who truly cares about the students and the study. Even though she was states or continents away while we were doing this research, she always had time and comforting words for a worried soul.
If you had the project to do over, what would you do differently?
I would start my participants earlier.
Any advice for your fellow McNair Scholars who will do research next summer?
Don’t wait until the last minute. It is going to be stressful, but this is an amazing opportunity to learn. Take advantage of that. It will be scary and unknown in the beginning, but we all have to start somewhere. It will get better.
Does this research experience make you more or less likely to apply to graduate school? Please explain.
More – definitely more. Having this experience is extremely valuable. It will help me to get into schools who are looking for students with research experience.
Is there anyone that you would like to publicly recognize/thank who helped you with your project?
I would like to thank my mentor, Dr. Mounia Ziat. She has helped me with everything I needed help with. She has been an amazing teacher and support system while I’ve been doing this. Also, all the ladies at McNair: this would have been a tough climb without you. And Kim, my lab partner: this would have been way more stressful without you.
Any other thoughts to share:
This has been an amazing experience. I have grown as a student and as a person this summer. Thank you so much for letting me be a part of this!