Undergrad gains valuable research experience

February 20, 2013

With a strong interest in math and science and love of the outdoors, sophomore Celeste Havener decided to pursue a degree in environmental engineering with a minor in biology. Havener finds the environmental engineering program at CU-Boulder offers many areas of focus, which initially attracted her to the Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering.

“CU-Boulder’s program offers so many options, so I thought it would open a lot of doors for me,” Havener says.

Although Havener is only a sophomore, this has already proven to be true. As part of the Discovery Learning Apprenticeship, Havener was selected as the research assistant for a project examining community redevelopment following a natural disaster under Ph.D. candidate Elizabeth Jordan and Assistant Professor Amy Javernick-Will.

Havener says being part of the research experience has added value to her education. Not only does research help Havener better understand classroom material but it also allows her to practice important research skills, such as qualitative-comparative analytics, and gain a better perspective of what research exactly entails.

“I was new to the research process, but it’s been awesome,” Havener says. “Research is mentioned a lot in undergrad, but if you don’t do it, you can’t fully understand it. It’s been helpful going through all of the steps and attending the meetings to see the whole research process and engineering perspective.”

As Havener moves forward with her education at CU-Boulder, she hopes to stay involved with the research aspect, she says. Now that Havener has experience studying developing communities, she is looking to expand her research skills into ecology-based explorations, which relates to her minor in biology. Havener expects that this would give her a broader look into the various types of research in her field and add to her well-rounded education.