Name: Sarah Phillips
Class Year: 2022
Hometown: Mumbai, India
Internship Organization: Temple University
Job Title: Research Assistant
Location: Philadelphia, Pa.
Award: Bryn Mawr College Internship Fund
What’s happening at your internship? We would love to hear what kind of work you are doing!
As a part of my internship, I get to work on a research project that investigates how differences in motivation might be associated with the immune system and a variety of mental health issues. As a research assistant for this project, I get to run participants and collect data which gives me an in-depth insight into the world of research in psychology. Getting to observe and be a part of the research project at the grass-roots level is extremely interesting as I am able to experience and be a part of the research process and the so called "behind-the-scenes." That is, actually seeing the work and considerations that go behind the research articles that I get to read as a part of my classes is truly fascinating and allows me a deeper appreciation for all the work that goes into research. Furthermore, being a part of a lab and attending weekly lab meetings has allowed me to get a sense of the culture in a research setting. I would consider this just as important an education as the actual research work itself as understanding the environment has also further enhanced my understanding of the process as a whole.
Why did you apply for this internship?
I was lucky enough to meet the lead coordinator of this study through Bryn Mawr when she taught my clinical psychology lab class. It was there that I got an introduction to the work that she was doing at Temple and even got to interact with the data. I wanted to know more and dive deeper into this and so reached out to her to see if there was any way that I could learn more about her work and the project itself. I was then directed to the research assistant application for the lab that she works at and as they say, the rest is history. Another thing that really excited me about the opportunity to work at this lab was their use of interesting psychological instruments such as an fMRI machine and blood draws. I was interested to see how they would be used in research studies and saw this as the perfect opportunity to expand my knowledge on the same.
Was there anything special about how you found this internship?
As I mentioned before, I found this internship through my professor at Bryn Mawr. This is just another testament to how helpful professors can be as resources. If you are willing to learn and be proactive, they are usually always able to help in some way or form if you reach out to them. It was especially helpful that I got to interact with the project data at an introductory level through my laboratory class. This not only allowed me a deeper understanding of the project which really helped me during the interview, but also provided a good base which I could rely on during the initial stages of the internship.
Working remotely for the first time? What has that experience been like for you?
The remote working experience is something that has been extremely challenging for me. The lack of motivation that comes from sitting at a desk in your room all day and not being able to get the experience of a work environment where you are surrounded by like-minded people who you can easily reach out to and learn from is challenging. Therefore, keeping myself motivated and engaged has been something that I actively try to do on a day-to-day basis. I find that going to cafes and libraries to work really helps boost my productivity. Also, reaching out and keeping in touch with other interns and your supervisors really helps build a network and a feeling of community.
Visit the Summer Internship Stories page to read more about student internship experiences.