For Undergraduate Research Week, we’re featuring interviews with our senior honors thesis students about their work in progress.
What encouraged you to get involved in research?
I’ve worked in a psychology research lab since sophomore year, but some of the Asian studies and anthropology courses I’ve taken really inspired me to do my own research.
Briefly, what is your research about?
I’m studying the depiction of magic in Japanese popular media. I’m interested in using anthropological models about magic practices and applying them to Japan to understand how popular stories communicate messages about gender, youth, and national identity.
What do you like most about your work?
I like applying concepts I’ve studied about the anthropological value of popular culture and magic and exploring the overlap between the two. It’s also just really fun to get to spend so much time talking about a subject that really interests me.
What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from this experience (so far)?
I would say that even beyond books and libraries, people are the most wonderful resource and there are many professors and other faculty who are willing to go out of their way to help you and assist you in your research.
What has been the most difficult part of your research experience (so far)?
I think the most difficult part has just been not becoming too overwhelmed at the size and scope of the project and narrowing it down to something manageable.
What do you want to do as a career, and do you think you might want a career that involves research?
I would like to become a professor of Asian studies or anthropology, so yes definitely.