Working with Dr. Lucy Bilaver from the Public Health department has been wonderful thus far. She is not only a patient and informative mentor, but she also reaches out to me about other opportunities in my realm of interests and she supports me and the work I am doing as an undergraduate researcher. Dr. Bilaver has extended opportunities for me to volunteer at an event that is providing free screening for ASD, she has allowed me come with her to an Autism Task Force meeting in Chicago to network and meet potential interviewee’s, and she has also invited me to go to a conference called the “The Arc of Illinois ‘Living With Autism’ Conference” with her in September.
Meeting Dr. Bilaver for the first time at the end of spring semester, I knew it was going to be a good fit. She is talkative, elaborative, and open. Her background in research with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) fit exactly the kind of project I was looking to do. She helped me to shape my initial research objectives and topic, but she allowed me to be the primary creator. After creating my topic, Dr. Bilaver remained available to meet for questions and overviews and she was prompt at emailing. Dr. Bilaver assisted me in the understanding of the Pre-Elementary Educational Longitudinal Study data, setting up logistic regression models, and how to run regressions. She also assisted me in contacting and networking with professionals to interview and she also purchased me an audio recorder for this qualitative part of my research. Dr. Bilaver and I have met about every two weeks over the summer, and have emailed multiple times a week. Because this is my third year conducting research, Dr. Bilaver’s role as a mentor has been slightly more laid back, but when I do need help she is always there. Overall, working with Dr. Bilaver has been a great experience and I can’t wait to continue working with her throughout my senior year as my project is beginning to really take shape.