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And That’s a Wrap

Hello everyone!

I’m so excited to have completed my project and my poster for Undergraduate Research and Artistry Day. Now that I have all the work finished, my last task is to work on my brief speech to give to the viewers at URAD. The most exciting thing about this event is of course sharing your cutting edge research; however, I’m a little nervous about not being able to answer all of the questions the viewers ask. After URAD, I’ll continue to work with Dr. Yore and Dr. Nicolosi on the project (since it’s ongoing), which we should hopefully wrap up in the next year or two. Once it’s completely done, the final goal is to publish our work!

I’m so grateful for another year of Research Rookies under my belt. It has opened up so many doors for me and given me so many opportunities that most students don’t get. I’ve learned an immense amount of new information about doing research that I’ll be able to apply in my future. I’ve truly enjoyed digging deeper into finance topics and learning things I won’t get to learn in a classroom. My research has made me realize that I can do a lot more with a finance degree than I originally realized.

Research Rookies has changed my academic and career goals in a good way. My original life plan was to study actuarial sciences as well as finance, and then to become an actuary for a big insurance company in downtown Chicago. Graduate school was never on my radar. Because of this program, I’ve developed a passion for research and now I’m considering getting my Ph.D. in finance. Instead of being set on one path, I now have several equally satisfying options to choose from, which is great! I have Dr. Yore and Dr. Nicolosi to thank for this 100%. They’ve given me so much knowledge of finance research in these past two years and instilled their passion for finance research in me. They’ve been so encouraging and inspiring, and words cannot truly express how thankful I am for everything they’ve done for me. I’m excited to continue researching with them and seeing where our project takes us.

Until next time,

Lauren

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Time Flies When You’re Having Fun

Hello!

Data collection is still underway. We won’t be able to finish all we were hoping to finish by Undergraduate Research & Artistry Day, however we will definitely have something to present. My only tasks at this point are to continue collecting and really get to work on my poster design so that it’s ready in time to print before URAD. I can’t believe we’re already less than two months away from presenting! Time really does fly by.

Usually the first Monday of every month, all of the Research Rookies and coordinators have a meeting. This past Monday’s meeting was a little bit different: we went to President Baker and Dr. Stover’s home for dinner! It was so generous of them to open up their house to the approximately 50 Rookies, our mentors, and a few other important people. It was a nice evening filled with chatter about research and lots of yummy food. Events like this really show how this program opens up opportunities that most students don’t get. We get the wonderful opportunities of working one-on-one with faculty, doing PhD level work as undergraduates, having dinner at the university President’s house, presenting at a research conference (URAD), potential publishing in the future (just to name a few). We learn academic, communication, networking, and professional skills that we might not have been able to learn without the help of this program, its coordinators, our fellow Rookies, and our mentors. All of these things are major factors in our development throughout this school year, and will certainly help us reach our future academic and career goals, as well. I’ll be forever grateful for everything I’ve learned and everyone I’ve met in this program.

Until next time,

Lauren

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Working With a Faculty Mentor

Hello!

Before I discuss my research, I want to briefly discuss the benefits of having a faculty mentor. For the program, our mentors are there to provide us with as much knowledge, guidance, and support as they can in order for us to complete a one-year research project. However, our mentors do so much more for us. They always there for us as an extra resource to reach out to with questions, whether the questions are regarding our project or a topic you’re struggling with in a class. They’re another part of our ever-growing network of connections. Most importantly they’re a role model that inspires you to dream up big goals, and they’re your number one fan to cheer you along towards achieving your goal. I know for a fact that I could not have made it anywhere near the point I am without the great amount of help my mentor has provided, and I’m genuinely and deeply thankful for everything he’s done.

As for our research, it’s moving along. Dr. Yore now has a graduate assistant who has been assigned to my project. We are a little behind schedule from where I’d like to be, mostly because I didn’t anticipate the level of difficulty and diligence that this data collection requires. Nonetheless, we’re doing everything in our power to finish this by the deadline. We’ve cut down this project quite a bit for the program, but we plan on continuing the full research project independently of an organization during the summer (and quite possibly for the rest of the time I’m at NIU).

Until next time,

Lauren

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Would It Be Considered Research If There Weren’t Any Obstacles?

Hello!

This semester, I’m ready to really get the ball rolling with my research. Last semester I had some tough classes, and an actuarial exam to study for (which I passed!) so I couldn’t give research as much attention as I would have liked. I’m still pretty on track with my time line, as long as I step it up a bit. However, as the title of this blog says, there are some definite rough spots. The data collection is still tricky; finding a good balance of accuracy, precision, and speed is difficult. We’ve also had to say goodbye to our assistant Jerome as he has other things he needs to focus more on right now (and we wish him the very best of luck with his future!). As a result, I have a lot more work to do now than I’ve been planning on, but I’m determined to finish what I started.

I remember as a first-year in the program hitting so many road blocks, struggling to understand some things, and having a lot of work to accomplish. The biggest lesson I took out of it was to either deal with the situation immediately then continue on, or push past the hard times. Sitting around with the mindset that I couldn’t do it was poisonous; the minute I decided that I actually can do it, and will do it, was when my research and experiences began to flourish again. Feeling sorry for yourself does absolutely nothing for you. Deal with your problems or get over them; those are the two options. I will certainly apply this lesson to all the hardships I face this year (and for the rest of my life).

Until next time,

Lauren

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The Reception

Hello!

This past Monday we had our Research Rookies Reception. It’s a great event, where each Research Rookie gets to introduce themselves, their mentors, and a brief idea of their project to our peers, our mentors, and other guests. One by one we got to take the microphone and speak in front of the whole crowd; luckily, public speaking doesn’t phase me, so my nerves were relatively low. Before and after the actual “ceremony” part, we had time to network and converse with those who attended, including the wonderful President Baker and the one and only Dr. Julia Spears; mingling with everyone was my favorite part of the event.

As for next semester, we’ll be completing the data collection and finally getting to the fun part: data analysis! I’m crossing my fingers that this tedious data collection will yield many interesting results. Over winter break, I plan on doing a large chunk of data collection so we can get to the fun stuff as soon as possible. My spring semester class schedule should be a lot more relaxed than this semester, so I should be able to play around with my research a little more. I’m excited to see the development of each of my mentees’ projects; for first-year students, the bulk of their projects is done during the spring semester, and I can’t wait to actually see what they’re doing versus simply listening to their ideas and progress updates.

Have a great holiday season!

Until next year (since 2015 is right around the corner),

Lauren

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Data Collection Woes

Hello!

Dr. Yore, Jerry, and I are in our data collection phase still and will be for a while. However, we are on track with our schedule. Jerry and I did several observations on our own and compared our results to make sure that we we’re collecting accurate data before we split off to work on our separate halves of the database.

Unfortunately, we found more discrepancies than we had hoped. We quickly realized that this data collection is messy, somewhat subjective, and very time consuming. Because of this, we came up with a new game plan. Instead of collecting data on the S&P 1,500, we’re going to collect data on the S&P 500 first in order to guarantee that we have a completed dataset to analyze and present at Undergraduate Research and Artistry day. The full project will be completed at a later date.

We also found that the firms that turn out to be family/founder firms are the trickiest, so Jerry and I both will be collecting data on the firms that have been identified as such by our preliminary mechanical coding. Then, we will compare our results to ensure the best data integrity we can get.

This year is quite different from last year. We started the data collection much sooner than last year. However, the data collection is much less straight-forward and much more elaborate. It’s going to take much more time and effort to complete. We’re risking a lot of time and energy to collect this data that may not even produce results. (We’re hoping that since we found results in this topic last year, we’ll find results again this year.)

Another big difference between this year and last year is that instead of having a peer mentor, I am a peer mentor. It’s very rewarding to know that you’re helping out your group members and being a positive influence and role model for them. It’s challenging to get our entire group to coordinate monthly meetings, but it’s enjoyable when we’re able to all get together and discuss our research.

Until next time,

Lauren

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Data Collection

Hello!

My research is going well. We’re are in the data collection stage, and we’ll be in that stage for the bulk of this year. With almost 40,000 observations to gather information about, this is certainly not a small task. However, I have great news; I have a research assistant now! My assistant, Jerome, will be helping me tackle the data collection! I am so grateful for him joining Dr. Yore and I in our research and am excited to work with him. Completing the data collection in a quick and efficient manner and balancing it with my regular course is the biggest challenge I’m facing, but now that I have help, I’m hoping this will get better.

As a peer leader, I’m able to expand my leadership skills. During the summer, I’m a cheer camp instructor, so I’m used to being a leader to people younger than I am; being a leader to people my age is new for me. It was a little strange at first because my mentees and I are the same age so I felt as though we’re on the same level. However, I’m able to be a leader because I have a year of experience in Research Rookies that they don’t have. Because of this, I feel that I can be the best peer leader that I can be by simply being there for them whenever they need help, encouraging them, and sharing my experiences in order to help them succeed. I hope they think I’m doing a good job as their peer leader. They’re a great group of mentees, and I genuinely want them all succeed and enjoy this program.

Until next time,

Lauren

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Research Rookies: Round 2

Hello everyone!

I’m so excited to announce that I will be a Research Rookie for my second year, as well as a peer leader for the program! This year I am happy to be working with Dr. Yore again, and we will be working on a extension of last year’s project. This year we will continue to look at CEOs with children, but we will focus our analysis on founder and family firms. We will come up with a more robust dataset, rerun the analysis on our variables from last year, and analyze new variables. We would also like to look at financial changes to firms as their generations change.

Writing the proposal this year was much easier than last since I’m continuing my topic. I used my original proposal as a base for my new proposal, revised the parts that were no longer relevant, and added my results from last year along with our new focus. The timeline will be much easier than last year, too.  We hope to begin data collection within the next week or two; last year, we didn’t start collecting until December. If all goes well this year, I will begin the process of publishing this project.

Until next time,
Lauren

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NIU Undergraduate Research and Artistry Day!

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Today was a phenomenal experience!  I arrived to the Duke Ellington Ballroom about thirty minutes early so that I could have a little time to look at other posters and have some extra time to talk to people about mine. I had quite a few people come and ask me about my research, as well as the two judges. Everyone seemed very interested in my poster, which was exciting. I had so much fun talking to people; I wasn’t nervous at all. Several people asked if I was a senior after I was done sharing my research with them, and they we’re absolutely shocked when I said I was a freshman. One group of senior business majors even told me that I gave them a run for their money on their poster. The dean of the College of Business was also impressed. These were all such big compliments, not to mention great confidence boosts. After my presenting time was over, I went around listening to other people talk about their posters and was very impressed with the quality of the research at URAD.

I can’t believe that this day finally came, and now it’s over. I felt so proud of myself to see all of my hard work come together with such a great outcome. I cannot fully express how truly amazing this experience was. I expected Research Rookies to be an outstanding program, but it greatly exceeded my expectations. I would 100% recommend this program to any driven person interested in doing research.  I’m so thankful to have had this experience in my first year of college. I’m also incredibly appreciative of all the help, knowledge, and guidance Dr. Yore and Dr. Nicolosi have given me; I certainly could not have done this without them.

From here, I will continue to meet with Dr. Yore about continuing this research again next year with Research Rookies. We will draft a proposal for our continuation, and then I will send that in with my application. (Then I’ll cross my fingers that I get accepted again.) After that, I will try to do some research over the summer, and dive back in full force next fall.

Until next time,

Lauren

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Final Preparations for Undergraduate Research and Artistry Day

In one short week, I’ll be presenting the final product of a year’s worth of research. It’s exciting and nerve-wracking to say the least.

Creating my poster was fun but demanding. I enjoyed seeing all of the literature reviews, data, and analysis come together to tell a story. Originally, I was scared I wouldn’t be able to fill an entire poster, but by the time I was making my final revisions, it became a puzzle to see how to not only fit everything on the poster but organize the information in the best way possible. I met with Dr. Yore several times regarding designing my poster, and when we couldn’t meet, we would send revisions back and forth to each other.  It took a lot of drafts to get a poster we were both pleased with. After that, I sent it to NIU Media Services for printing. I picked up my poster, and it looks great; I’m very happy with it!

For this next week, I will be reviewing my poster and begin practicing how I will present at URAD. I will also meet with Dr. Yore to go over this. I’m excited to share our findings with the judges and anyone else who views my poster because we’ve really found quite an interesting story in our data. However, I’m nervous that I’ll be asked questions I won’t be able to answer. I’m also nervous that people won’t be as interested in my field of research as some of what are typically considered to be “more exciting” or “more important” fields.

As this program wraps up, I can’t help but think about the journey it’s taken me on. I’m so appreciative of all of the knowledge I’ve gained and the relationships I’ve established. Once it’s over, I plan on creating a proposal to continue in this program next year and continue my research.

 

Until next time,

Lauren