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Undergraduate Experience: Erika Estrada Rodriquez

March 11, 2021

Name: Erika Estrada Rodriguez

Year: Third Year

Major: Sociology

Hometown: Panorama City

What is a memorable project that you worked on during your time at UC Merced?

During my time at UC Merced, I have been able to be part of the Undergraduate Research in the Humanities (UROC-H) program cohort of 2019-2020. I was able to gain research experience through the Summer Research Institute (SURI) and I was able to present my research on gentrification and racial change in Washington, D.C., Census Tract 72, Navy Yard. A very memorable project that I was able to work on was my gentrification and racial change in the City of Merced, California, Project. This was more of an independent project and it was meant to be able to create and do research on gentrification and racial change in Merced from the1940s to present time. I had so much fun doing this project and I thank UROC-H and Professor Golash-Boza for encouraging me to apply for this project. This project was memorable to me because I was able to grow more and understand my community and the many changes it has gone through while contributing back by creating a story map about the city.

What did you learn personally and academically by participating in this? 

Personally, I was able to learn more about the steps that it takes to do research and how it is all a process, so before you get to do any major, you need to learn how to do the small details. I had to learn how to manage my time better and prioritize some things over others, which allowed me to grow more as an individual and focus more on what is important. Academically, I learned to reach out more when in doubt and I learned many more skills through ArcGIS, the library, peer reviews, editing, etc. As a result of being a member of UROC-H, I have been able to gain so many more academic experiences by presenting in conferences and it is something that will stay with me forever as I keep learning and growing.

UC Merced has a lot of opportunities for experiential learning. What would you say to a future student who wants to be involved?

To any student out there who is still indecisive if they should apply to programs in research or any other involvement on campus, I would say to do it. You will never know what doors could open for you until you try. UC Merced offers so many opportunities for its undergraduate students and I encourage everyone to seek them out because they will forever help you in your path toward personal growth, and it is always an open opportunity to learn more about research or academics while staying in touch with professors and mentors. Try to always stay in communication with the people you work with and ask questions when in doubt. No one is perfect and everyone is always willing to help, so definitely do not be shy and always feel free to reach out to your mentors.