I would like to start by introducing myself: my name is Zoey Watts and I am a rising junior majoring in Psychology from Boise, Idaho. I am also a member of Whitman’s swim team and one of the team’s representatives on Whitman’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. This summer I have the privilege of being an intern in the psychology department of the College of Idaho, located in Caldwell, Idaho.
The College of Idaho is a small liberal arts school that attended by roughly 1100 students. One of the benefits of working at such a small school is that I work very closely with the professors in the psych department. This summer, I am working with Professor Cara Laney, who specializes in Psychology & Law and Human Memory; Professor Aaron Shilling, who specializes in Social Psychology; and Professor Isaac Hunter, who specializes in Counseling, Social Psychology, and existential issues such as calling and meaning. Getting to work with professors with different specialties exposes me to a variety of psych subjects, which will not only help me in my future courses at Whitman, but it will also help me discover which branch of psychology I am most interested in.
A typical day at my internship starts with checking in with each professor and letting them know how I’m doing with reading articles and conducting lit searches (finding background information for them to use in their papers). The main topics that I am researching include how memory and morality affect each other; how different people react to social rejection; and how people from various walks of life define their “calling” in life, and why some people feel like they have a calling while others do not. I’ll spend a good part of the day reading papers and writing summaries about them, and discussing the main findings with the professors that I’m working with. I am reviewing how to use SPSS, which is a software program used for statistical analyses, and will do more work with it in the coming weeks. Later in the summer I will learn about how to program tasks into software to conduct studies and how to write research papers.
I would describe my internship as being very “liberal-artsy”, in the sense that I am learning about psych research in a very holistic way. I’m not just analyzing data or proofreading papers—I am doing background research, running statistical analyses, having intriguing discussions with experts in the field, and learning how papers are written. I have loved my first three weeks at the College of Idaho, and am excited to see what the rest of the summer has in store.