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Spring 2013 was a busy semester for me, but it didn’t start out that way. I was taking only 12 units of class because I had family issues to take care of. Once those were done and my life got settled down a bit, I started looking for opportunities and fun things to do. I am going to break the story of Spring 2013 into three episodes. This one is about academic research and what to do after you have finished a long paper.

Denni Undergrad-Conference-2013

Last April, I attended my first ever academic conference! In Fall 2012, I took IR 385: European Foreign Policy and Security Issues with Professor Mai’a Cross and wrote a 12-page research paper. Writing the paper was a painful process, but I did learn a lot from it. Surprisingly, the paper opened a door for me to attend the Undergraduate Research Conference on the European Union at Scripps College.  Professor Cross nominated my paper along with three other students’ papers. The four of us represented USC in front of students and professors coming from all over world. It was a great honor and a lot of responsibility.

I had an eye-opening experience with this conference just by attending other students’ panels and paying attention to their research. One of the most unique research papers I have ever seen was an analysis on the European Union (EU) economics from the perspectives of soccer clubs, just because the author was a big soccer fan and soccer is a big deal in Europe. Another very outstanding paper was about the differences between the EU and ASEAN, and why the EU and other regional institutions don’t work. It was great to see so much intellectual enthusiasm about a topic we all care about. I would suggest everyone go to at least ONE academic conference before you decide whether or not research is for you. Another perk: Scripps College provides accommodations at the Double Tree Hotel in Claremont and pays for all your meals. One more perk: our keynote speaker was the former Prime Minister of France — Lionel Jospin! Who knows what’s in store for you next time?

Next episode: How did I get an internship with a non-profit organization affiliated with the U.S. Department of State? Stay tuned!

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