STEP Reflection Prompts
Name: Michelle Ewert
Type of Project: Undergraduate Research
- Please provide a brief description of your STEP Signature Project. Write two or three sentences describing the main activities your STEP Signature Project entailed.
Over the course of the past Summer, I participated in several different research experiences. I began work on my undergraduate research project in Psychology, studying whether effortful control moderates the effect of attachment style on generalized anxiety disorder symptoms. Concurrently, I participated in data collection and organization from the dialectical behavior therapy clinic for the MAPS Lab.
- What about your understanding of yourself, your assumptions, or your view of the world changed/transformed while completing your STEP Signature Project? Write one or two paragraphs to describe the change or transformation that took place.
One of my largest takeaways from this process was preparation for graduate school and the realization that I could make it in a 9-5 research job. I committed myself to at least 30 hours (typically 40) a week between both the Cognition and Emotion Lab and the Mood and Personality Sciences Lab. Working long periods at a desk, either running analyses or entering data allowed me to realize that I have the stamina and commitment for graduate school. I ended this summer feeling energized and excited for the possibility of continuing these projects and research, rather than being exhausted from it. I became assured that despite dreading the idea of a desk job, as a child, now it’s been solidified as my dream to have my own research lab and professorial position in clinical psychology.
- What events, interactions, relationships, or activities during your STEP Signature Project led to the change/transformation that you discussed in #2, and how did those affect you? Write three or four paragraphs describing the key aspects of your experiences completing your STEP Signature Project that led to this change/transformation.
The research that I participated in this summer confirmed that not only am I in the right place, but that clinical psychology research is what I would like to do for the rest of my life. I worked in two labs over the summer; the Cognition and Emotion Lab and the Mood and Personality Sciences Lab. I have never been in such a positive and uplifting work environment in my life. Whether it came to answering questions about using SPSS, getting advice for graduate school, or just discussing the latest events, all of the graduate students in both labs treated me with such incredible kindness and support. Both of my advisors were always there whenever I needed any help or direction for the next step.
I was tasked with a myriad of different projects over the summer to fill my weekly commitments in both labs. In the MAPS lab, I entered data every week from the DBT clinic, labeled folders, emailed therapists to keep track of data, created materials for the clinic, and did other odd jobs around the lab. I learned a lot about using different programs, such as SPSS, Excel, and Qualtrics. In the Cognition and Emotion lab, I worked on my own thesis and worked on a meta-analysis for one of the graduate students in my lab. I have a better understanding and handle on using SPSS, data analysis skills in general, and the step-by-step process of creating a meta-analysis. I also did a lot of writing in the creation of my proposal, procedure, and IRB protocol, which helped me practice my professional writing skills. The development and solidification of these skills, as well as realizing I loved being in a lab environment, helped me to be sure that this is the path that I’m set on following.
I have this great memory of cleaning the lab with my advisor one day. It doesn’t sound like the most professional task for a summer research job, however, it surprisingly left a huge impact on me. Getting on my hands and knees to clean baseboards, sweep, purge old files, and dust, with a professor who I greatly respect, really established the fact that I was seen as an equal in my lab. Even as a lowly undergraduate, I was working alongside all of these people and I was valued for the work that I was doing, even if it wasn’t the serious research the graduate students were working on. It’s the strangest thing, but this moment was the exact moment that I knew I wanted to stay at OSU for graduate school. I have been a research assistant for three years now, and the anxiety and depression research done in our lab has always captured my attention and interest. However, there are other places in the United States where I could research these things in ethical and interesting ways, but it is the sense of community that I’ve found here that completely changed my plans for the future.
- Why is this change/transformation significant or valuable for your life? Write one or two paragraphs discussing why this change or development matters and/or relates to your academic, personal, and/or professional goals and future plans.
Figuring out where I will apply for graduate school has been one of my greatest challenges in the past year. Finally determining my number one choice has been the biggest change I’ve incurred from this research experience. I did a lot of interesting, intensive work that taught me some incredibly valuable skills, but the knowledge that I could find a home at OSU as a graduate student is my most valuable takeaway. It has shaped all of my future and current plans, since. This summer experience aided in improving my CV and resume, gave me real-life experience, and revealed to me the next course of action. It has been absolutely crucial to shaping my future goals and current plans. I am currently looking for a job in Ohio that is related to clinical psychology. I will probably apply to a few research jobs and a few patient-care jobs. After a gap year, I’m planning to apply to several PhD clinical psychology programs, my number one being OSU.