A SSTP student who participated last summer just received some exciting news! David Wu, co-author of a paper to be presented at a prestigious conference began his research during SSTP. It will include work he did during the program with mentor Juan Pablo Hourcade. The article has yet to be published, but here is the preliminary citation for the paper:
Hourcade, J.P., Mascher, S.L., Wu, D. and Pantoja, L. (accepted). Look, My Baby Is Using an iPad! An Analysis of YouTube Videos of Infants and Toddlers Using Tablets. In Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’15). ACM, New York, NY, USA.
We also asked both mentor and student about their experience with SSTP.
What would you tell future SSTP students to remember as they go through their lab experience?
Juan Pablo Hourcade: I would tell students that this is a great opportunity to begin to learn whether they would be interested in pursuing a career in research. For me, the attraction of research is in learning, discovering, and creating something new. It can be quite demanding, and at the same time bring about great rewards and satisfaction.
It is also great opportunity to learn about different approaches to research in different disciplines. That’s something SSTP can provide by enabling students to interact with each other and share experiences.
How has the experience helped/changed your academic career?
David Wu: A lot of people might know what they enjoy doing, or what they want to be, but don’t have a feel for how the profession operates in reality. SSTP helped me understand how a certain job path works on a daily basis. I now know what to study, which classes to take, and the topics that will be taught. With this information, I can accurately decide how to plan out my academic career in preparation.
Learning how to conduct scientific research is also a valuable skill I learned from SSTP. The hands on experience of conducting experiments and writing a proper report is the touchstone of any scientific career’s skill set. Students adept at these skills will have a great advantage over competitors with only school-level research experience.
What advice would you give students participating in SSTP?
David Wu: Most students participate in long-term ongoing research, so it’s very unlikely you will finish your project with some sort of “life changing” evidence. With that in mind, you should try your hardest and learn the most you possibly can. Ask questions and talk with the people in your lab. Having a good relationship with your mentor and other research assistants is extremely beneficial towards recommendations, jobs, and other field related studies later in your career.
Out of lab, try to have the most fun possible. Make good friends and embrace the dorm-life. Go out to eat or find a fun way to relax together. If you find yourself feeling bored or homesick, there’s always a remedy. You have an opportunity to make lasting connections with people from all over the world. Do not waste it.