Name: Mingyue Sun
Class Year: 2021
Hometown: Hubei, China
Internship Organization: University of Pennsylvania
Job Title: Research Assistant
What’s happening at your internship?
I have been working at the research lab under the supervision of Dr. Xinyin Chen, a professor at Penn GSE, Human Development and Quantitative Methods Division. All the research projects conducted in the lab focus on researching children and adolescents’ socioemotional functioning and its role in social, school, and psychological adjustment from a contextual-developmental perspective. Due to the pandemic, access to the lab has been prohibited. Thus, I have been working on the literature review for a handbook regarding the significance of culture on children’s social development. And I usually present and discuss at least two research articles with two of Dr. Chen’s doctoral students during the weekly meetings.
Why did you apply for this internship?
As a psychology major, I started to volunteer in research labs since my sophomore year. Recommended by Prof. Heejung Park, I have also gained extensive research experiences volunteering in Dr. Xinyin Chen’s Chinese American Project from January to December, 2019. All these research experiences gradually uncovered my passion for psychology research, as well as my interest in furthering my path in academics after graduation. However, I need to gain more research experiences to help me explore and figure out a particular area of my future dedication. Thus, this summer research opportunity is an excellent fit for me as it will enable me to return to Dr. Xinyin Chen’s lab and engage in research activities with more depth and breadth.
What is something you have learned from your internship that you didn’t expect?
I learned from my internship the importance of connection with professors and other lab members. Under the impact of the pandemic, a lot of summer research opportunities are canceled. However, I am fortunate enough to intern at Dr. Chen’s lab over the summer, thanks to the recommendation of Prof. Heejung Park. Besides, I didn’t expect to receive a lot of help and support from Dr. Chen’s doctoral students before the internship. However, through meetings with his doctoral students, I have received much academic and career advice that I found deeply valuable.
Can you talk about the skills you are learning and why they are important to you?
Two important skills that I am learning are: 1) the way to conduct literature review more effectively; 2) how to analyze the results and to present the research articles. Since I am planning to conduct a senior thesis, I need to know how to find research articles of particular areas effectively and how to analyze and present them in a logical and clear manner. As a result, I believe these skills will greatly contribute to my future academic career.