This Q&A highlight features Rhea Jain, an Honorable Mention in the 2021 CRA Outstanding Undergraduate Researchers award program. Rhea graduated from Carnegie Mellon University and is now a PhD student at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
What originally influenced you to consider doing research as an undergraduate?
I really enjoyed the undergraduate theory course at CMU and later joined the course staff as an undergraduate teaching assistant (TA). Many of the other TAs talked about research opportunities, so I became curious.
I decided to take CMU’s two-semester research seminar course. The first semester is about the research process, especially how to read and analyze papers. In the second semester you’re supposed to work on a small research project. Ultimately, the seminar ended up going virtual in March, so the research project kind of fell apart, but the course was an exciting introduction to the research process and the possibilities out there.