Employer: Infant and Child Cognition Lab - Psychology Department, Boston College, Newton, MA
Internship Title: Summer Research Assistant
Describe your duties:
Along with a few other Research Assistants (RAs), I spent the summer coding data and running numerous psychology studies. I also analyzed much of the data, applying my knowledge from my Bucknell statistics and psychology classes. We also met as a lab weekly to read and discuss articles pertaining to different projects being done in lab. Being involved in the lab was definitely a continued learning experience.
What did you enjoy most about your internship?
The exposure to multiple Ph. D. students was awesome. Working alongside one and frequently helping or even just picking the brains of the others afforded me more knowledge about the fields I am thinking about entering and gave me a first-hand look into the life of a graduate student. It was an incredible opportunity to work at a graduate-level research institution.
What was the most difficult aspect of the internship?
Working as a research assistant often offers little to no pay. Driving into Boston for an unpaid opportunity was a little difficult, but it was still a rewarding experience, so it was worth it. On occasion, subjects would call to cancel their appointments at the last moment or actually just miss their scheduled slot, which was frustrating, but dealing with this is just a part of running studies.
How did your experience at Bucknell prepare you for your internship?
Having worked in labs at Bucknell prior to my RA position at BC, I had previous experience with research methodology. This experience made me a valuable asset to a team looking for new summer assistants. I had worked in Professor Halpern's music cognition lab here at Bucknell and taken several psychology classes, including one on music cognition. The project I worked closest on at BC involved the study of music psychology, so Bucknell prepared me for my experience by providing me with a significant background on the topic.
How did your internship prepare you for a career?
My internship helped prepare me to potentially move on to graduate school after Bucknell. I was able to discuss my interests with the Ph. D. student with whom I worked at BC. I solidified my interests in attending grad school and doing research and I further developed my interest in Neuropsychology.
What recommendations do you have for other students considering doing an internship?
Do it! Do not waste time getting applications either - they are very competitive. Even if you submit many, you may only hear back from a few. If you see one you are interested in, do not hesitate. Start looking very early, as openings are posted well before the summer. The BRIDGE is a great tool we are very fortunate to have. Also, be active and eager to participate while at your internship and show what you know. An internship is a great way to earn a letter of recommendation. Consider applying for the BPIP internship funding if your internship is unpaid. I was accepted to my program late last year because I waited to apply for my internship and I wish I had applied for BPIP.