The beginning of my journey in the research competency, like leadership, started with my First Year Experience class where we learned the basics of what we needed to do in order to research effectively. In this class I learned what platforms were available to me to find scholarly articles and how to find information relevant to my topic in a timely manner. In addition to this course, I also took the honors seminar course Research and Information Literacy my sophomore year which strengthened the skills I had previously learned. Furthermore, this course taught me more about ethical research as well as how to write a literature review in preparation for submitting research to a conference.

            After gaining the fundamental knowledge of how to perform research effectively and efficiently, I took an anthropology course titled Language and Power in the Spring of 2016 where we executed a group research project on classroom profiling. As part of this project I learned how to fill out and submit a request to the Institutional Review Board asking to perform research involving people. Additionally, I got experience with creating a survey as well as tabling in the Centennial Student Union to distribute this survey to students. Unfortunately, time did not allow us to come up with a plan to disseminate our results to the appropriate areas on campus, but some students did present our project at the Undergraduate Research Symposium in Spring 2017.

            In the span of my college career I have taken many classes that have required me to come up with a research topic and write a paper about it. I have chosen to not include all of those papers, rather to include two of them that I believe best exhibit my ability to come up with an original research topic and find relevant information that either proves or disproves my hypothesis. In my Anthropological Theory class I wrote a paper on the motivations for human migration as a precursor to the work I did in a field school the following summer (see Global Citizenship). Then in my Art in Politics class I looked at controversial museum exhibits and researched the effects of these exhibits on museums as well as their audiences.

            As my last research project of my undergraduate career I will be working with the Anthropology Department, specifically staff in the Archaeology Lab, on a project dealing with what happens, or rather should happen, to museum collections that have been abandoned. This project will serve as my Senior Thesis as well as the topic of my presentations at the Honors Regional Conference and the Undergraduate Research Symposium. The end goal of this project is to create a set of procedures and guidelines based on my research that will inform museums on what they should do with abandoned collections that have no documentation with them, since current statutes do not specifically state what should happen. My proposed set of procedures will hopefully prove helpful enough to become standard and become part of the legal statutes.

            Entering into college I thought I had a pretty good idea of how to conduct research based on prior high school research projects. However, as I get ready to graduate, I have learned so much more than I thought was necessary about what it takes to conduct effective research and how to do it efficiently. Now I consider research to be the strongest of my competencies, especially after I present at two separate conferences this spring.