Becca Linn ’20 probes adolescent decision making among other projects at Healthy Emotions, Relationships, and Development (HERD) Lab of US Davis’ Center for Mind and Brain in Davis, CA

Greetings to anyone reading this!  My name is Becca Linn, and I am a rising senior psychology major and religion minor.  This summer I am working as a research assistant in the Healthy Emotions, Relationships and Development (HERD) Lab in UC Davis’ Center for Mind and Brain.  As a research assistant in this lab I help my professor, who is in charge of the lab, as well as the graduate students who work in the lab.

I am working on two major projects for the lab this summer.  First, I am responsible for the recruitment, scheduling, and running participants for an active study in the lab.  We are examining how adolescents decisions are influenced by peers and parents.  I tend to spend my Saturday mornings at the Davis Farmers’ Market hoping to talk about the study with potential families.  Once scheduled, I will run the study and collect data from the family.

My second project is two-fold.  One part is helping two graduate students develop their symposium that they will present in March at the Society for Research on Adolescents conference.  The graduate students are looking to lead a discussion about how active coping by a parent affects the coping skills of the child, specifically in high-stress environments for Latinx families.  The second part of this project is the poster that I am creating.  Using data collected previously by UC Davis, I am running an analysis to examine the relationship between peer discrimination, positive experiences at school, and general positive outcomes for Latinx adolescents.  I am proposing that individuals who have a strong, positive attachment to school will report fewer negative outcomes to experiences of peer discrimination.  Thus, I am expecting school attachment and motivation will act as a buffer against the negative effects of peer discrimination for Latinx youth.  I will write up the results of these analyses and present them at the poster session of the Society for Research on Adolescents conference.

My work this summer builds off of and extends everything I have learned and experienced as a psychology major at Whitman.  To begin, it is helpful to participate in the research process at a large university like UC Davis.  In addition, working with graduate students has informed my own understanding of what it is like to pursue research in psychology after completing my undergraduate education.  Prior to the summer, I was considering going to graduate school for psychology, and my time in the HERD lab has confirmed those ideas!  I feel so fortunate to work with the graduate students in this lab, who are always offering assistance and guidance.  If you see me around campus please ask me questions about research or psychology!  I love being able to talk about the exciting work I am doing this summer.

Experiences like Becca Linn’s are made possible by the Whitman Internship Grant, which provides funding for students to participate in unpaid internships at both for-profit and non-profit organizations. To learn how you could secure a Whitman Internship Grant or host a Whitman intern at your organization, click here or contact Assistant Director for Internship Programs Mitzy Rodriguez


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