What years did you participate in UROP?


What UROP Program(s) were you a part of?

Traditional UROP as a Sophomore

- Research Assistant to Dr. Melissa Borja

What made you choose UROP?

I first heard about UROP on a tour of campus when I was in high school. I remember immediately being interested in the program, but I didn't apply for my freshman year. At the time, I still wasn't sure what I wanted to study. After a year of classes, though, I felt ready for the experience. I know that UROP would be a completely different type of learning than large lectures. I was excited to have that one-on-one learning experience with a research mentor.

What do you think you have learned from your UROP experience?

I learned a great deal about independence from UROP. The research I conducted was centered around the archives of a non-profit from the 1970s and 80s. I was given the space to develop my own system for working through and analyzing these archives. By having this space, I was forced to think deeply about the most efficient and effective way to go about my work.

It also made me appreciate the amount of work that goes into any new research. When you read an article, you don't necessarily imagine the hundreds (or perhaps thousands) of hours that went into the preliminary research. Archival research, especially, is this way. There are no shortcuts to -- you have to spend a lot of time with a collection in order to understand its full scope.

What is the extent to which you have kept in contact with your Research Mentor?

Not only have I kept in close contact with my Research Mentor, we are still working together! Since my UROP program officially ended two years ago, I have worked on a number of additional projects with Dr. Borja. Some have been closely related to the work I did during UROP, but others have sent us in a new direction. I am very thankful for the opportunity provided by UROP to build this lasting relationship.

How did your UROP experience shape or inform the next steps you took in your academic and professional journey?

Without UROP, I would not be involved with Dr. Borja's current research project, the Virulent Hate Project. We analyze news reporting related to anti-Asian discrimination due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the first cases reported in the US back in January 2020, there has been an extreme increase in racist incidents against the AAPI community. The team I am on, tracks news coverage of these issues to better understand the national conversations behind had around this topic, and to analyze trends in hate incidents. The research we are conducting aims to push public policy in a real way to support the AAPI community and take an active role in preventing racist acts.

Where are you in your professional journey?

I currently have two positions, which are both within the University of Michigan Community.

I am still a "Research Assistant to Dr. Melissa Borja." working with the Virulent Hate Project (https://virulenthate.org/).

My other job is with the University Musical Society as a "Marketing and Communications Associate." With UMS, I am involved with email communications, marketing, and their student org, the UMS Student Committee.

What advice would you give to a current UROP student?

When picking your research project, don't be afraid to ask questions! It is important to know what type of research you are doing. You don't want to get stuck doing 8 months of research you are not interested in. Plus, if you are able to find a project that you enjoy, you may have the option of continuing to do that work in the future.

What are some recent publications or accomplishments that you are proud of?

Internationalism with Evangelical Characteristics: The Case of Evangelical Responses to Southeast Asian Refugees - Dr. Melissa Borja and Jacob Gibson (https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/15570274.2019.1643983): This article published in August 2019, resulted from research that was independent of my early UROP work but with a very closely related research question.

In May 2021, the Virulent Hate Project released its first report analyzing new reports of anti-Asian racism for all of 2020: https://virulenthate.org/reports