National Science Foundation supports psychology student's research

August 4, 2011

By Stephanie Andel '12

I will never forget the day I was selected for the Applied Psychology Research for Undergraduates program at Clemson University. These research programs funded by the NSF (National Science Foundation) are really competitive, and so it was such a shock to be one of the few picked! When I got the call, I knew it was something I couldn’t turn down, so I made my way to Clemson, S.C., at the end of May to begin this great experience.

I was one of 12 interns participating in the program this year. We were each assigned to work with a mentor during the summer, and we would then spend the whole summer working with this advisor on a specific psychology research program. I was chosen to work with Dr. Thomas Britt, a social psychologist who does fascinating work in occupational health psychology, and works on projects that range from examining ways to improve resiliency among military personnel to looking at how self engagement affects health and performance in the workplace. My specific research project with Dr. Britt focuses on how individuals cope with work-family conflict in the workplace, and which methods of coping are most affective and beneficial.

Aside from my individual project, I was exposed to other great experiences during my time at Clemson. For example, a couple days a week the other interns and I attended a class in which we learned research methods and tips for applying to graduate school. We even got to do a class research project that involved playing pool every week in order to test the accuracy of the official 8-ball pool scoring system! Another incredible part of the program was the “brown bag lunches” each week, in which a psychology professor would have lunch with us and present his or her current research projects. The research that these professors discussed was unbelievable, and it was extremely eye opening to realize just how much impact these psychologists have in so many areas of the world.

I have learned so much working alongside my peers, Dr. Britt, and the other psychology faculty at Clemson. Not only have I become even more familiar with the research process in general, but I have also learned that occupational health psychology is definitely what I want to study throughout my graduate school career.

This internship has inspired me more than ever to take on new projects and to put all I have into producing research that will ultimately have a great impact on the science of psychology.

Although it is going to be very hard to say goodbye to my new friends and to this amazing experience, I can’t help but be excited to see what’s next in my psychology career.