Jonathan Tsui

Professor Matt Matsuda
Aresty Research Assistant 2010 - 2011
Professor Patricia Buckendahl
General Research Assistant 2011 - 2012
Aresty Peer Advisor 2011 - 2012

My personal journey into research began during my sophomore year when I was accepted into the Aresty Research Assistant (RA) program. Before entering the program, research sounded like an impressive, lofty term that I usually associated with bibliographies and articles for term papers. To me, it seemed like everyone was doing research but what I always wondered was, “What are they really doing?” and secondly, “How do I get involved in research too?” Receiving acceptance into the RA program began an experience that allowed me to learn, discover, create, and grow.

During the 2010-11 academic year, I worked with Dean Matt Matsuda of the SAS Honors Program and two other RAs. The topic of our research was “The Business of Doing Good: Social Entrepreneurship,” and we focused on creating a pedagogical framework with the theme that anyone, with or without a business background, can create a social enterprise for greater good. Also, we considered other topics including a social business incubator to help Rutgers students grow their entrepreneurial ideas. As the RA program progressed, I began to learn more about microfinance, social entrepreneurial successes and failures, and various ways to see the big picture. Dean Matsuda encouraged us to use our skills in creativity, brainstorming, and critical analysis.

The Aresty RA meetings were biweekly and our group of seven met at the Aresty Center to discuss our research’s progress and raise questions. The learning goals of these meetings, led by our Peer Advisor (PA), included fundamental research skills, such as how to write abstracts and literature reviews, as well as introduction to various research methodologies. Also, I greatly benefited from hearing about other RAs’ work and the things that they were learning. Thus, in addition to learning the research topic with Dean Matsuda, through these meetings I learned how to research which has been very key to my growth as a researcher.

Based on these experiences, I am excited to be working with RAs of the 2011-12 academic year as a PA. I applied to be a PA because I want to help other undergraduate students experience the world of research so they can begin to see the breadth and depth of what research really entails. Through the Aresty program, I believe that students can successfully enter research without feeling completely lost or overwhelmed. As you work with others in the program and have someone in Aresty who you can always be in contact with, research becomes a learning experience that goes far beyond any class. For my seven RAs, I am happy to be that someone in the Aresty Center that they can reach out to with their concerns or questions.
Following the RA program, I am currently beginning a two-year research arrangement with Dr. Patricia Buckendahl of the Center of Alcohol Studies, diving into more understanding about how the protein osteocalcin works. Some of the tests being conducted include genotyping, hormonal analysis, purification of the osteocalcin protein, and more. I am excited to be involved in this work and am thankful for the Aresty Center for giving me not only a chance to have learned so much in the RA program, but, also through the RA program, an opportunity to help others.