Through the PURM program, I spent 10 weeks this summer investigating the question, “Are Minorities Willing to Express their Cultural Identities at Work? And If So, to What Extent?” I collaborated on this incredible project with Professor Dr. Rachel Arnett of the Management Department in the Wharton School of Business. Our goal was to analyze the behaviors that minority groups are willing to express in a workforce in an attempt to promote more inclusive behaviors within largely organized firms. We asked a variety of questions in multiple studies launched on Qualtrics and further analyzed the data we collected. All the data was coded into an algorithm using Microsoft Excel.
The project involved mainly virtual engagement as all the studies were launched online and all the data was processed similarly. During my time as a Research Assistant to Dr. Arnett, I was responsible for reading and annotating her 150-page dissertation, going through a high volume of over 100 articles to be organized in Dropbox for future studies, and coding all data entries after the studies were launched. In addition to these tasks, I was also responsible for creating the questions to be used in the studies. I curated over 30 questions that were revised and edited by Professor Arnett herself and many of them were used in the official studies we conducted.
Throughout this experience, I learned that our results were highly conclusive and therefore elucidated the original hypotheses that were drafted before the studies were launched. I was intrigued and enamored by the fact that we were able to extract real time data from our experiments and transform that data into a meaningful and cohesive story that made sense.
I was mostly thankful this summer for the experience that Dr. Arnett gave me and all her insights and wisdom. She enabled me to sharpen my Excel skills, to learn how to code data, and most importantly, to make sense of that data and share it with others. This summer, I was not just a research assistant- I was an individual working alongside a brilliant professor, learning and absorbing knowledge. This experience has equipped me to be a better student, mentor, and a better person and I owe it all to the highly intellectual experience of research.