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 had a very encouraging discussion with the professor who is advising me now! I thought it would be exciting to take on a long-term project and invest such a significant amount of time and energy focused on one thing.
Briefly, what is your research about?
My research explores the genealogy and history of Japanese women’s language, with a particular focus on the control of women’s language carried out through conduct manuals in the Edo period.
What do you like most about your work?
I have really enjoyed the time in between bouts of intense reading and research where I have been able to just freely think about all of the information I’ve absorbed and explore new paths through the material mentally. I’ve definitely made most of my major structural and argumentative breakthroughs while thinking about my sources in the shower or while walking to school.
What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from this experience (so far)?
It is important to work gradually and consistently in order to give yourself enough time/space to find things (ideas, sources) that are not immediately evident.
What has been the most difficult part of your research experience (so far)?
I am working with a very difficult body of primary source material, so I have been struggling to work through it and translate it efficiently while making sure I don’t overlook something important.
What do you want to do as a career, and do you think you might want a career that involves research?
My interests are pretty scattered, so the careers I’m considering range from speech-language pathologist to ceramicist to baker. But I think that no matter what I end up doing, I will inevitably find ways to incorporate research, because it is vital for forming deeper understanding and fostering creativity in any field.