Research In Action

Research In Action

Brianna Falby
Showing Others They Can Do Research Too
November 23, 2021

As I near the completion of my undergraduate degree in Mathematics with a minor in Data Analytics at Elizabethtown College, I am so fortunate to have been given the opportunity to apply the knowledge and skills I have learned in the classroom to help address a real-world problem through the Injury Science Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Program at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention. With my mentor, Thomas Seacrist, MBE, I learned about injury science research and its growing importance in today’s world.

From my REU experience, I have gained confidence in my ability to do research in the future.

I was given the opportunity to import, study, and analyze data from volunteer participants to address one of the leading causes of injury and death in adolescents – motor vehicle crashes. I also learned that this work is truly multidisciplinary and involves many different researchers, from those who work with simulated driving simulators to those who analyze driving patterns, who are all important in adding to the teen driving safety research literature.

Every week, there would be different topic seminar sessions about research skills, the work staff members and their team do for CIRP, and tips when applying to graduate schools. The alumni of the program gave a lot of advice about graduate schools and how to go about applying for programs that fit your career goals. I also found it helpful to not feel hemmed in by my major and to try something new. Their journeys from how they started to where they are today resonated with me. Many did not know where they would end up but kept going until they found something that felt right to them. The path may not be what you expect or go the way you want it to, but it’s important to keep going.

One presenter in particular who stood out to me was Chris Mullen who works for Aurora. I loved how she continued to move forward working for different companies when she wanted to learn more. She emphasized to keep in contact with everyone you meet, even if it is just through an email. I think I have a better understanding of how this journey may not go the way I want it to but to keep going anyway.

A Researcher In the Making

From my REU experience, I have gained confidence in my ability to do research in the future. I am excited to go to graduate school for Data Science and to use my knowledge and experience to make a difference in the world. Through CIRP, I have many people who I can count on to help guide me along the way.

I am also thrilled to be working with Carol Murray, MSS, MLSP, CIRP’s training manager, to help recruit students at my college for the REU program. As a CIRP REU Ambassador, I am encouraging other students like me, who may not know what they want to do after college, to apply. If one of my professors had not emailed me the link to apply, I would have never heard about this valuable program. I learned so much from my REU experience, and I want to show others that they can too. 

Click here to learn more about the Injury Science REU Program and the recently released Summer 2022 projects.

Click here to read about other amazing REU alumni.