A Day in the Life of Maytar Nebel: A Freshman DiRT Researcher

Posted by Sophomore and Intern at Binghamton's Media and PR Office Patricia Nieberg on April 26, 2016

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Maytar Nebel has been at Binghamton University less than a year and she’s already immersed herself in a project from which she can’t seem to tear herself away. DiRT, short for Dickinson Research Team is an opportunity for students living in Dickinson Community who want to engage themselves in research. DiRT is a one-of-a-kind program; it's pathbreaking, groundbreaking, innovative and trendsetting a pattern other residential communities will likely follow as the University includes residential life in higher education. It is also the program first of its kind in the nation.

Maytar joined the program in the fall semester and fell in love with it, spending every free minute she has there. She works with the director, Kimberly Jaussi, associate professor of organizational behavior and leadership in the School of Management and faculty master in Dickinson Community. “(Jaussi) is my biggest inspiration at this point. She inspires me to reach my full potential,” Maytar said. “She makes sure that I feel comfortable with everything that I get involved in.”

Hometown: Rockland County, N.Y.

Home at Binghamton: Dickinson Community, O’Connor Hall

Major: Economics

Year: Freshman

Clubs/Organizations:

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What is DiRT in your own words?

"DiRT is really, at this point, my home away from my dorm room. I spend a lot of my time there and I learn all of these new, really cool skills that help me with my classes, while I learn how to run data in SPSS, which is a software that gives you all of these statistical tests that runs it for you. It‘s also taught me how to make posters and papers for presentations, and how to be a confident speaker in front of large groups, because we practice that kind of stuff. And it’s also just allowed me to meet so many new people and interact with people that are interested in the same thing as I am."

What makes DiRT different from other research opportunities?

"I think DiRT allows you to get involved really early in your education. I’ve spoken to a lot of my friends that don’t do research and want to. But they don’t really know how to contact people in their majors, and DiRT allows you to dive right into it from the moment you get to Binghamton. It’s just a great way to be able to get involved, and it’s really personalized, since it’s not really a structured program. It’s really one-on-one with Kim and with the other research professors. You get to actually understand and know what you’re doing with the data that you’re working with."

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What is your research project?

"I study diversity in the School of Management, for DiRT. I’m not in the School of Management, I’m in Harpur. Only one of us is in SOM, so it’s nice to do research that doesn’t necessarily have to be in your major. You get a better-rounded view of everything Binghamton has to offer, like the different schools. Right now, my group has four to five people in it."

What is your job?

"The way that DiRT works is when you pick your commitment level, that’s how active you are -- the higher up you go or the more in depth you go with the data. So for me, I spend hours crunching the data in SPSS, and just trying to find new results and new conclusions from data. After I find conclusions, I get to write them up and turn them into papers."

What is the most fascinating information you’ve found?

"The paper that I’m working on shows that white students in the School of Management feel that their better-suited for the career and workforce that they go into. We found that regardless if you’re a female or a male, and if you’re white, you feel better prepared. There were 458 students who participated in a survey given out approximately three years ago to different SOM classes. It ranged in grades, ethnicities, gender; it was very varied."

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Did you choose your own topic?

"Kim Jaussi is in charge of that. She has a lot of data sets and papers she’s either started or collected over the years. She has a bunch of different groups, and time meetings; and then you pick which groups you want to join and which papers you want to work on. They range from papers about creativity, diversity, individuality -- things like that."

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How and why did you get involved in DiRT?

"I actually signed up for it at Orientation by accident, but it was the happiest accident of my life. I wrote my name down, and then school started and I got an e-mail from Kim, and I thought, ‘Let me see what this is.’ I started off with a small role because I thought, 'I don’t know. This is a little overwhelming. Can I do research my first semester here? It’s all new to me.' Then I just fell in love with it. Whenever you want to commit to more, you’re free to commit to as little or as much as you want, and I just dove in. Now I’m working on two papers, co-authoring and publishing them."

What’s the most challenging thing you’ve found since being at Binghamton?

"I think the biggest challenge that I faced so far is trying not to take on too much. I’m one of those people who get really involved in everything, so that was a big struggle, because you come to a big school and there’s just so many opportunities and so many things to get involved in."

Why did you pick Binghamton?

"I actually visited Binghamton four times before I decided to come. I also was undeclared when I came in. Since I came in with so many credits, I really did have to decide relatively quickly. I didn’t want to pick a school that only had specific majors. I wanted a school that offered everything, and Binghamton really fit that. They accepted most of my credits from school, and that was really beneficial. It’s also really close to home, so that’s something I really wanted. I should be graduating early either next year or the year after that, since I have ‘Junior 1’ standing this semester."

Maytar’s message for any student interested in joining DiRT:


1. Give it a go. It’s really not as intimidating as it seems. Everyone’s super-friendly and the work is really fascinating.

2. Don’t be intimidated by people who say, "Oh, freshman students can’t do research. Undergraduates don’t know how to do it."

3. It’s a good environment to learn research tasks. So just get involved.

Important Facts about DiRT:

  • Currently, the program has around 40 students
  • Students of all ages, majors and walks of life are welcome 
  • Your commitment level is personally decided
  • Researchers must live in Dickinson Community
  • No application process

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Want to learn more about DiRT or how to get involved?
Visit their site, or e-mail any questions or inquiries to DiRT@Binghamton.edu

Patricia Nieberg is a sophomore from Brooklyn, N.Y., majoring in English rhetoric with a minor in Spanish. She is part of the Binghamton University Dance Team, Wish-makers club, and Binghamton Sound Stage and Lighting (BSSL) this semester. She's looking to pursue a career in comunications and PR. 


Have questions, comments or concerns about the blog? E-mail us at social@binghamton.edu.