Summer Internship: Alexa Lebrón-Cruz '22
Name: Alexa Lebrón-Cruz
Class Year: 2022
Hometown: Lansdale, Pennsylvania
Internship Organization: Drexel University
Job Title: Research Assistant
What’s happening at your internship?
As of last December, I have been working remotely as a research assistant for the ACE (Attachment, Caregiving and Emotions) and EXCEL (Exploring Community Empowerment) labs through Drexel University. The labs work closely together to study the impact of attachment and caregiving on the development of diverse populations. As a person who cares deeply about the community and is also a huge psychology enthusiast, this internship has been an absolute dream come true!
In terms of research skills, I have conducted literature searches and helped with systematic literature reviews, prepared interview transcriptions for coding, as well as managed, prepared, and analyzed data with statistical programs (e.g., using SPSS)! I am very satisfied with the experience so far and feel as though I am becoming a more competent researcher because of it. I hope to continue being involved in research after I graduate college, and I am happy that I could get a head start.
Why did you apply for this internship?
Historically speaking, psychology has excluded minorities from research, and psychological services (e.g., talk therapy, medication) have been inaccessible to such groups as well. So, as a Latina who wants to address these issues in my own work, I was thrilled when I found out the ACE/EXCEL labs are working to alleviate both issues.
As soon as I saw the job posting I was like, “I need to join these labs! This is exactly what I want to do!” Needless to say, I got the job and have been working on projects with ACE/EXCEL ever since.
Three adjectives and three nouns that describe your internship experience?
Three adjectives I would use are “interesting,” “inclusive,” and “important;” three nouns I would use are “science,” “insight,” and “data.” Pretty straightforward.
What is something you have learned from your internship that you didn’t expect?
Because I have a (very) big personality and don’t care to hide it, being myself is something that comes naturally to me. However, not everyone on my team was as extroverted as I am, and I learned how to use my own enthusiasm to energize my coworkers.
Towards the beginning of my internship, I worked closely with several other research assistants and interacted with them on a weekly basis over Zoom. Our first meeting was especially dry since we were all just getting to know each other, and I immediately took it upon myself to engage with my peers and encourage them to be more involved. In subsequent meetings, regardless of the topic – whether it be about the studies we collaborated on or our favorite TV shows – I would make sure to speak with each member of the team at least once (like “That was a good point! I can tell you did your research on this!”) and would regularly make personal connections to comments others had made (like “Oh! You also watch that show? You have good taste!”).
Without even thinking, my peers readily reciprocated these behaviors, and our team quickly became much more cohesive – weekly meetings were now the anticipated event of the week!
Everyone has a unique perspective and a wonderful personality that contributes to the team’s overall “flavor.” In future jobs, I will continue to be a cheerleader for my coworkers and help everyone to reach their fullest potential!
Visit the Summer Internship Stories page to read more about student internship experiences.