Alexandra Lungu is a junior majoring in Hospitality Management in the William F. Harrah College of Hospitality. She is an awardee of the 2022 OUR Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship. Under the mentorship of Dr. Cass Shum of the William F. Harrah College of Hospitality, Lungu's research interests focuses on paradoxical leadership in hospitality.
- What are your current research interests and future career goals?
I’m currently interested in studying organizational behavior, especially the influence of various leadership styles and the outcome of internships on students’ career paths.
- How did you first get involved in research?
After working in a fast food restaurant as a trainer, I took a general interest in studying leadership. Coincidentally, I was also taking a leadership class, and my professor suggested reaching out to a specific member of faculty who was highly involved in organizational behavior research, which I did. My involvement in research started when I got in touch with Dr. Cass Shum in the College of Hospitality.
- Please describe the impact of research involvement on your personal and professional development.
The curiosity that led me to get involved was initially greater than my interest in research, but over time I’ve been considering research more as an end in itself than the means to an end. Research involvement led me to learn statistics, and get a deeper understanding of what goes behind the findings that we are usually exclusively interested in. The more I learn, the more interested I am in data analysis and becoming a published researcher, which is one of my current goals. Research also influenced the way I approach assignments and my bigger curiosities, since I’m more diligent about the information I use in my school work and more analytical with the subjects I’m interested in.
- What advice would you give to future researchers?
I still consider myself very much a budding scholar, but even so, my encouragement would be to look at research as the end in itself. The diligence and intellectual effort that you get to practice can lead to healthy habits that you can use in any activity, academic or not.
- Please describe how the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship supports your research.
Being selected as a SURF awardee is currently a top motivation factor for my research efforts. At a deeper level, I value academic recognition and have been seeking it since middle school. Contests and academic programs give me the energy to aim higher and display my best work ethic in order to deliver quality results.
- Please describe the role of the Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) at UNLV. What are we doing best and what do you think we can do to help you better?
I believe the OUR does a great job in encouraging people to take the research route when they’re interested in an academic field. Their skills academy along with special programs and culminating symposia give us students a healthy challenge, but also a valuable kind of campus involvement. I also believe some more college-specific programs in partnership with faculty would be a great boost to the OUR’s roster, especially in the social science and liberal arts areas.