The University of Texas at Austin
School of Undergraduate Studies
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Monica Castellanos

Monica_Castellanos
Major: 
Government; Rhetoric & Writing

Monica’s undergraduate research topic is American Rhetoric of Relations with China and North Korea.

“Participating in research has given me a greater sense of independence in my learning.”

Faculty Supervisors: Dr. Bryan Jones and Dr. Sean Theriault, Government

Briefly describe your research project.

I am doing a textual and rhetorical analysis of American rhetoric concerning North Korea’s nuclear tests and how these tests affect U.S.-China relations.

What has been the most rewarding part of your research experience (so far)?

For my research I’m relying on linguistic analysis software, but the how-to guides aren’t always as helpful as they should be. Being able to solve my own problems – or getting help from the software’s creators themselves – gives me a surprising sense of accomplishment. It motivates me to push through whatever else may confuse me in the future.

How has participating in research affected your undergraduate experience at UT?

Participating in research has given me a greater sense of independence in my learning. In addition to doing research for the Public Agendas Project, I am also working on my own research project that I developed myself. My class is taking a field trip to Washington, D.C. to talk to experts and government officials, which will definitely show me how much my research matters and inspire me to work even harder. It’ll put me in front of someone who has devoted their life to a similar issue and actually cares about my work.

What has been the greatest challenge that you have had to overcome as you worked on your research project?

The greatest challenge has been learning how to manage my time. It’s really easy to fall behind when there’s so much else going on in life, so it helps to set small, manageable goals for myself.

Do you think having been involved in research as an undergraduate will be helpful to you in the future? If so, how?

Definitely! I’m learning how to work independently as well as with other people on large-scale projects. Whether we’re working on the same task or are stumped by similar problems, collaborating with others saves me from stressing. I’m planning on attending law school in the future, so this experience is teaching me a lot about how to handle future projects.

Research Week showcases the exciting work of undergraduates across campus and highlights opportunities for students interested in getting involved. Co-sponsored by the Senate of College Councils and the School of Undergraduate Studies, Research Week takes place in the middle of April each year. Take a look at the online schedule of events to find out more about Research Week events.