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“I was scared at first because I was presenting in front of thousands of people, but I learned that it wasn’t that bad, and it turned out to be a great experience.” UMD senior Dayae Kim explains that, for her, going to the National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR) in Kentucky was an opportunity to learn and grow.
Kim is originally from Korea and is pursuing a major in communication and a minor in journalism, and it was this love for talking to and understanding people that made her interested in doing research. “I thought it would be fun to talk to people, survey, and research.” Kim was introduced to the UROP program by a friend who was working on his own research. This sparked her curiosity. “He pointed me in the direction of Insoon Han, the education professor that he was working with, and with her, I came up with a topic for my own research.”
Kim’s research examines education facilitators in parent teacher conferences in American schools. Specifically, she looked at the involvement of Korean parents in schools versus the involvement of American parents in schools. “I wanted to incorporate my major into the research, so we did a combination of communication and education.” To collect data, Kim surveyed interviewed a combination of Korean and American parents.
What she found was that the interaction between Korean and American parents with teachers proved to be quite different. “Korean parents are involved with school based on academics and understanding what their children are learning, whereas American parents are more focused on having good communication and creating a relationship with the teacher,” explains Kim. Her findings helped her come to the conclusion that when teachers are talking to Korean parents, they should talk more about the child and the education.
"This was my first UROP, and I didn't know what to do. Insoon gave me the idea for the project, and we combined and revised it together," says Kim discussing the guidance she received from her faculty advisor. She explains how Han helped her through the process, and how it was she that pushed Kim to apply to and attend NCUR. "Insoon encouraged me to present my research every chance I received, and because of this I have presented multiple times."
"At NCUR, I got to see how many undergraduates are doing research, and it broadened my perspective," explains Kim. She didn't waste any opportunity given to her at the conference. "I really wanted to know about the other research, so I was there from 9 am to 5 pm everyday." Spending time listening, learning, and even taking a little time to go to the horse races, Kim gleaned a lot from this experience, especially in presenting her own material. "A lot of people showed interest in my research, and I wish I could do this again next year."
Kim is still working on her research, as she wants to see it grow. "I'm still doing the survey, and seeing this research get published would be a dream come true." Kim will be graduating in spring 2015, and while she is still unsure if she wants to do another UROP next year, she knows the importance of taking advantage of these experiences. "I promised myself to take every opportunity given to me."
Written by Katherine Revier Apr. 2014
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