A Postcard From: Amala Someshwar ’18

Name: Amala Someshwar
Class Year: 2018
Major: Psychology
Hometown: Montclair, N.J./Bangalore, India

Internship Placement: The Institute for Immigration, Globalization, and Education at UCLA; Professor Carola Suárez-Orozco
Job Title: Research Assistant
Location: Los Angeles, Calif.

What’s happening at your internship?

I spend most of my day in the lab either on my own or with some of Professor Suárez-Orozco’s grad students. The past few weeks have been spent creating and refining a code book (basically a book with definitions that allow us to transform observations from a video to numbers that a software can understand). It’s a lot of intense focusing on the videos we’re watching and understanding the interactions as well as following the definitions closely because at the end of it all, each video should be able to be coded the same way by different people.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I applied because I think her work is incredibly important and the current study she’s working on is so pertinent to today. I also was really intrigued by the methods she uses for data collection and analysis and wanted to be more directly involved in that form of study.

Was there anything special about how you found this internship?

I was able to get in touch with Professor Suárez-Orozco thanks to a professor at Bryn Mawr who knew one of her grad students and also knew I was really interested in this area of study. From there, I emailed her a lot and was interviewed by her. When I found out I got it, I was really excited because I honestly hadn’t expected to because she had said she doesn’t normally take undergrads (since her lab is mostly made up of grad students who will continue to work with her through their dissertations).

What is something you have learned from your internship that you didn’t expect?

I hadn’t expected to be doing similar work in the lab as her grad students so I was surprised at how hands-on my role in the lab has been. I think I had expected that I would be playing a more do-as-I’m-told role as opposed to being an active participant in the creation and modification of the coding system and analysis of data. It took some adjustment to recognize that in lab meetings, she wanted me to provide my opinion on each adjustment we were making in the same way she wanted to hear from her grad students. It’s been a really good opportunity to learn not only more about the work she specifically does but also the dynamics of grad school in general.

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