Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Research Assistant Muzhdah Karimi Conducts Government Research

My name is Muzhdah Karimi. I am a junior studying Government International Relations. I work as an undergraduate research assistant in the Schar School of Policy and Government for Office of Scholarship, Creative Activities, and Research (OSCAR). I really enjoy working as a research assistant. I am learning about research, reports and presentations. In January 2017, I began research with professor Sita Slavov Ph.D., director of Public Policy. It is a great opportunity for me to work with Dr. Slavov. I am learning about government research, which is related to Social Security, retirement and health expenses of older people. In addition, we are using Zotero with Chrome and Safari to keep research references in one place. I have different weekly tasks. In one week, I work on references and add them into Zotero and during the next week I work on a presentation about Social Security.

Last year, I worked with Dr. Benjamin Gatling, a folklorist specializing in the folklore of Central Asia and the Middle East and an Assistant Professor in the English Department. I assisted Dr. Gatling with transcriptions of south Asian languages, Tajiki, Dari, Farsi. I transcribed interviews, folktales, and religious Islamic sermons from Tajikistan and Afghanistan. I coded short stories about Sufi saints and stories from the Quran. I also summarized a short Islamic Persian textbook into English. It was a great time to work with Dr. Gatling and I learned about Tajikistan people, culture, and politics. Every week, I had different tasks to do and it was never the same work. One day I would transcribe and the next day I read Tajikistan short texts, which was written in Russian letters. Thus, I learned some Russian language as well.

These projects have given me research experience, and it is a great learning opportunity that will help me with research projects in the future.