SPEAKER 1: This is a production of Cornell University.
ROSEMARY AVERY: Policy analysis and management is bringing to bear scientific research methods to investigating the impact of public policy on the lives of individuals and families. It's important for undergrads to understand if they're going to be working in a political environment or a policymaking environment, that you don't make policy in a vacuum. Policy is informed by data, by research. And so what they learn in this department is how to use facts, data, and research to inform better public policymaking.
MATTHEW EISENBERG: I'm really interested in politics and government. And research is the most influential part of my education here at Cornell. I'm constantly engaged at it. And you really get to learn in a different way than you would in the classroom.
I deal in the practical. And I'm able to use economics and sociological tools to attack different problems, policy problems, and really come up with solutions, and use those research tools to come up with answers.
ROSEMARY AVERY: We don't work in laboratories. And we don't work with Bunsen burners. But we do work with data. For example, in my research, we've done a very, very large data collection process having to do with advertising, and particularly advertising of prescription drugs. We're looking at the impact of prescription drug advertising on the health-related behavior of individuals. We're also looking at the impact of ads for weight loss products and health-related behavior.
MATTHEW EISENBERG: One of the really cool benefits about human ecology is that you get this really small school environment in this Ivy League research institution. I think Cornell is very unique in the research opportunities that are available to undergraduates because professors here really value the contributions that undergraduates can make to the research process.
ROSEMARY AVERY: You have to be able to work as a team. Research is team-oriented. Everybody's working on their own individual piece of the research that then gets put together.
In running my lab, I do try as far as possible to build a team spirit by encouraging not only in-lab activities, but also encouraging activities outside of the lab. So we will do things such as a hike up Treman Gorge. Or my favorite activity, of course, is taking everybody kayaking on Keuka Lake.
MATTHEW EISENBERG: Working with Professor Avery has been an unbelievable experience she cares so deeply about undergraduates and the undergraduate education process. I get to interact with her on almost a daily basis and chat not only about how things are going on the project, but really contemplating the deep implications of our research, and talking, and going back and forth about, what does this really mean? And chewing over it. So she's given me such opportunity to get engaged in the research process headfirst and really become immersed in it.
ROSEMARY AVERY: As a teacher and as a research, there's nothing more rewarding than seeing people whom you work with in the lab get excited about research in general and see research as a life-long career for themselves. We're seeing the full cycle. We're seeing what we seed here and what we teach here being of value out in the real world in terms of public policymaking.
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Matt Eisenberg and Professor Rosemary Avery talk about pharmaceutical research and student life in Policy Analysis and Management.
In the College of Human Ecology, more than one third of undergraduates conduct research, either independently under the guidance of faculty mentors, or directly on faculty research teams. And the number of students conducting research continues to grow, because Human Ecology is committed to the integration of research methods, principles and outcomes into the delivery of its academic mission.