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Isabel Torrealba

Anthropology and Psychology

Isabel’s undergraduate research topic is The Chile Pasilla Mixe: the Exception to an Economic Theory.

“[The most rewarding part of my research experience is] having the opportunity to develop something that is solely mine.”

Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Brian Stross, Anthropology

Briefly describe your research project.

My thesis focuses on a very unique agricultural product, the chile pasilla mixe, and the people who produce it, the indigenous Mixe from Oaxaca (Mexico). I investigate the causes of their poverty as related to the production of this chile.

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

Having the opportunity to develop something that is solely mine. Doing research means that my ideas, my efforts, and my passions are translated into a project that will not only provide me with valuable experience, but will also aid the people from the community I am working with.

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

For me, researching has given my undergraduate career a purpose because it has allowed me to put in practice all of the knowledge I gathered through the years at UT.

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

Definitely. As someone who is interested in going to graduate school, I find it is vital to have research experience.

What advice would you give to incoming and current students about getting involved in research?

Pick a topic you are passionate about. Since you will spend a lot of time working on a single issue, you will inevitably get frustrated and tired. But if you care about it, you will find ways to stay interested and motivated. If your heart and mind are not 100% involved, it will show through in the quality of your research.

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.