Ava Alexander.

Early Childhood Cognition Lab, University of Washington - Seattle, WA

Project Description

Peter Buck Internship Fund Recipient

As a psychology student in my junior year, I am on the precipice of delving into a career in developmental research. In the last few years, I have developed a passion for sociomoral development, and have begun to consider pursuing a PhD in developmental psychology. To that end, I am thrilled to have obtained an internship this summer in Dr. Jessica Sommerville’s Early Childhood Cognition Lab at the University of Washington in Seattle.

In my time at Bowdoin, I have gained important experience through leading study groups for multiple psychology classes, working in the psychology department office, and serving as a research assistant to Professor Leah Dickens. In the coming year, I also plan to complete an honors project with Professor Samuel Putnam. However, because perhaps the single most important factor in graduate admissions is research experience, a summer internship in a university lab is an essential step both in building my resume, and in gaining real perspective on what it means to be a research psychologist.

In choosing between several similar internships, the Early Childhood Cognition Lab was the clear choice for me for a variety of reasons. Dr. Sommerville is one of the leaders in her area of study, and in reading her work I have been consistently impressed with her designs and findings. Much of her work focuses on moral development, and the specific projects on which I will be working this summer concern infants’ understanding of fairness, one of my strongest areas of interest.

The internship itself is quite intensive, with all interns working full-time for its duration. By summer’s end I will have added close to 400 hours of research experience to my resume, and gained experience with both general lab protocol and the specific recruitment and research methods used when working with infants. I am also confident that I will be working in a dynamic and supportive environment, as my conversations with the lab manager and graduate students made it clear that we are highly compatible both in our research interests and on a personal level.

Furthermore, this internship is designed specifically to mimic the environment of a graduate program, complete with assigned readings, lab meetings, and independent projects. I will have the opportunity to experience the ins and outs of the research process and decide whether my passion for developmental research stands up to the actual daily trials of full-time lab work – something I simply cannot do at Bowdoin.

Project Details

  • Date September 22, 2017
  • Tags 2017, Buck, Junior, Science, USA

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