Meet Muhammad Rasul, FSU Research Prodigy

Name: Muhammad Rasul

Year: Senior

Major: Psychology and Media/Communication Studies

Hometown: Lahore, Pakistan

After moving to Tallahassee in 2009 at the age of 11, Muhammad Rasul immediately began to make an impact on the Tallahassee and FSU community. His dedication towards research is evident; his passion runs deep, and every person who comes into contact with him is likely to be positively impacted. His devotion to his studies is undoubtedly inspiring for other students. He embodies what it means to be a Florida State University student. Whatever he chooses to do in the future, it won’t be anything short of remarkable.

Her Campus (HC): What made you choose Florida State University over other universities?

Muhammad Rasul (MR): I watched my dad pursue his Ph.D. here, and I interacted with the faculty in the School of Communication, and I just felt like that was the best choice for me. FSU had always been a welcoming environment for me.

HC: What organizations have you been involved in on campus?

MR: I am involved with the Tennis Club, I used to be President of the Cricket Club, and I have been an officer with the Muslim Student Association on campus. I am also involved in the South Asian student association and am on the multimedia committee for the Asian-American student union.

HC: What sparked your interest in research?

MR: I had always watched my dad conduct research on political economy and public relations, and I had always been interested in pursuing things that affected how the media affects people's behavior. I wanted to pursue my own research agenda at Florida State so that I could research issues that would conclude in the betterment of society.

HC: What were the first steps you took to become involved in research?

MR: So, I started by getting involved in the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program, UROP, and I had the pleasure of working with Dr. McDowell who really opened a new pathway for me. I decided to get involved with the Center for Undergraduate research and received two IDEA grants to further conduct research which I have presented at national and international conferences.

HC: What has been your favorite research project thus far?

MR: It has to be the portrayal of females in leadership positions in Bollywood and Hollywood movies. Content like that can affect people's perceptions of females in high political standing and how we as a society can change our attitudes towards women to give them equal rights.

Courtesy: Muhammad Rasul

HC: How do you use your research to increase cultural awareness?

MR: Most of my research has been focused on international issues, such as my research on moral disengagement strategies, which are used by Pakistani and U.S. newspapers to remove audiences from conflict situations. I believe that projects such as this help shed light on international issues that people may or may not be aware of.

HC: What has been the hardest part of your experience?

MR: The most difficult aspect of this journey has been learning research methods and conducting research with well-established researchers and faculty. It was so intimidating, but the professors were extremely helpful and kind and gave advice that continues to motivate me to this day.

HC: What is the most important quality you possess and how does this impact your research endeavors?

MR: I would say the ability to stay focused and manage my time has been one of the most important qualities. It has helped me stay on top of finishing long projects in time to meet deadlines.

HC: What are your plans for the future?

MR: I plan to pursue higher education and obtain a Ph.D. degree from a research institution. I see myself teaching at a research university in the next ten years.

HC: Finally, do you have any tips for people who want to get involved in research at FSU?

MR: Always communicate with your professors and don’t shy away from approaching your research professors with an idea for research because your professors can help you expand your ideas into projects that can ignite a passion for research.

If you’re interested in pursuing research here at Florida State University, take a leap of faith and start becoming more involved! You never know the possibilities that may arise; it could change your life, just as it did for Muhammad Rasul.