Penn x3

This the next in a series of posts by recipients of the Career Services Summer Funding Grant. We’ve asked funding recipients to reflect on their summer experiences and talk about the industries in which they’ve been spending their summer. You can read the entire series here.

This entry is by Elena Schivone, COL ’18

elena-schiavone-pictureThis summer was a busy one: I was working at three Penn research centers. Despite running back and forth across campus for my shifts, I truly enjoyed being able to be a part of the various research projects I worked on.

Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research (CMHPSR)

At CMHPSR, I worked on a project which is responsible for implementing trauma-focused evidence-based practices and for increasing screening of youth mental health. Performing administrative tasks enabled me to become very familiar with the research project’s outcome measures and see firsthand how the project aided youth in Philadelphia. In addition, I was able to become familiar with various software programs commonly used in data analysis and paper writing. I also took part in the center’s journal club, which meets monthly to discuss recently published implementation science papers. I found it very valuable to discuss research with faculty and doctoral students. It was very interesting to note what aspects of the research they found substantial, to discuss the project’s methodology, and the challenges which this sub-field of implementation science research faces. I greatly enjoyed being able to brainstorm possible solutions to such challenges.

Boundaries of Anxiety and Depression Laboratory

This summer I was able to continue my work at this lab, which hopes to advance understanding of anxiety and depression by investigating their relationship to one another and to normal emotional experiences. I ran participants in the labs various studies, processed data, and performed some administrative tasks. I also helped edit a paper written by the lab’s principal investigator, Dr. Ruscio, to prepare it for submission. The lab’s studies have created a large database that I have been granted access to. I am currently using their database to prepare a poster for submission to a psychology conference. My time at Dr. Ruscio’s lab not only helped me develop data collection and analysis skills, but I also gain insight and receive advice concerning psychology graduate school and careers. During some lab meetings discussed psychology graduate school programs and their application process from those who have experienced it firsthand as applicants and as acceptance committee members.

Cognition and Development Lab (Cog Dev)

Working at Cog Dev was my first experience in non-clinical related psychology research. While I am very interested in clinical psychology, I am glad that I was able to experience another area. A t Cog Dev I worked on two projects. The first analyzes the efficacy of different types of stories at teaching children. The second studies the causal reasoning of children and its relationship with their perception of science. At Cog Dev lab I recruited participants, ran the 2 studies, coded data, and created stimuli for and helped develop a follow-up study for the causal reasoning project. At lab meetings, I enjoyed discussing the development of a follow-up study and analyzing current cognition or developmental focused research papers with Dr. Weisberg and my fellow co-workers.

My hope for this summer was to explore various possible career paths that I am considering pursuing. My various positions allowed me to gain insight into what it would be like to work the center’s respective subfields. The mentorship I received from the principal investigators I worked under helped me gain insight into the myriad of options available in cognitive/developmental psychology, clinical psychology, and public health/mental health sectors. Running the Cog Dev studies on children and working on a youth focused project at CMHPSR solidified my perception that I would like to work with children in my career. I am truly grateful for being able to have these opportunities this summer. Not only did they help me further developed my research skills, but enabled me to meet my goal of exploring possible career paths. I look forward to continuing to work with these labs and am grateful to career services for making these experiences possible.

Author: Student Perspective

Views and opinions from current Penn students.