Alum Kendall Riley is off to the University of Iowa’s sociology Ph.D. program. After completing an internship with Mind and Identity in Context, she was able to submit work for a social psychology conference, the 2020 Society for Personality and Social Psychology Bicentennial Conference, and will be presenting the work she completed with her mentor during the internship time. She also completed a literature review on structural stigma, incarceration-related health disparities with a focus on the experiences of women who were pregnant or are mothers. In addition, she also ran participants in another psychological study and began learning how to use a data analysis software called R and R Studio.
“I got to read a lot of research articles and prepare to present at conferences that were extremely helpful both personally and professionally. My mentor was really helpful by discussing what I found interesting in each paper we read and even discussing future studies,” she said. “At the end of the semester, I had a list of studies to be done in the future based on current literature, which is priceless for someone not even out of undergrad yet. Professionally, I found people I would love to work with based on our readings, learned how to prepare for a conference submission, and how to make a poster.”
She goes on to talk about how rewarding the experience was and tells of what she learned, describing, “I became very close to my mentor which was incredibly rewarding. The research lab I work at is very large (nearly 30 undergraduates work there) and with nearly 10 graduate students and 3 post-doctoral scholars; there is a lot of people around which means very little attention one-on-one… I learned that there are large gaps in the research for the populations I am most interested in continuing to work with.”
Of course, there is always growth and adversity to overcome with anything new, but just getting started and staying optimistic can make such an incredible difference. Kendall had this advice to give for those those looking for internships, saying, “I would tell people thinking of starting an internship that you get out an internship opportunity exactly what you put into it. Your time there will either be one of the most beneficial experiences if you give it your all and work with your supervisor or mentor to make get the most out of it, or it can be only halfway helpful depending on how much energy and time you’re able to put into it. Either way, it’s never a waste of time and is completely worth it to apply what you’ve learned from your courses.”