Hey everyone, Mahima here!

Here’s the deal: I want to be more involved academically. This is only my second semester as an ISE major and I want to learn more about what I can do. And the way I see myself doing that is by getting involved in research. I want to apply the skills and tools I’m learning firsthand.

Why? I guess I’ve already covered the why really. Research is a really great way for anyone to apply the skills they’ve learned in the real world. I see my computer science major really as a set of skills that I will walk away with one day, and I want to make sure I know how to translate those skills from an academic setting to more of a hands on, real world setting.

Where? Where should I be looking? I am currently taking four ISE classes, so I thought if one of my professors was doing any research I would email them. I also looked at this list to see which professors were open to working with undergraduate researchers. Then, I saw one of my professors, Professor Meshkati, was looking for undergraduate researchers. 

I did some research (get it?) on his background and interests. I learned that we overlapped particularly in the healthcare field and policy area. I emailed him, talking about our similarities, his articles I’ve read and why I was interested in his work. He emailed me back, sent me some material from the research he was working on and told me to look it over.

This part is important – I went through it and wrote down my thoughts as well as what I would add to the material. Whether it be another article or a different area to also explore, I showed him what I could bring to his team. 

He got back to me and we talked about my thoughts and the next week, I attended my first research meeting. I can’t wait to start working with him.

Just remember that you don’t need experience to do research. Research is all about learning. Don’t be afraid to email a professor you don’t know – just be sure to research their work and find common ground between your interests and theirs.

Mahima Varanasi

Mahima Varanasi

MAJOR: Industrial and Systems Engineering YEAR: Class of 2022 HOMETOWN: Harrisburg, Pennsylvania PRONOUNS: she/her/hers INSTA: @mahima On campus I am part of OWN IT, a women's leadership team who plans an annual summit based on amazing women helping each other out. Outside of Viterbi, I am involved in political campaigns.