Name: Huiyu (Eileen) Li
Class Year: 2019
Major: Psychology; Mathematics
Hometown: Shanghai, China
Internship Placement: Bryn Mawr College Aging and Cognition Lab
Job Title: Research Assistant
Location: Bryn Mawr College
What’s happening at your internship?
As a research assistant, my job consists of three parts: data collection, data analysis, and discussion of relevant literature with my professor. Working time is usually 9 to 5 but rather flexible, depending on how much work there is to be done every day. This summer. the main focus of the lab is to study how emotional stimuli, as compared to neutral stimuli, are processed differently for younger and older adults. Thus, for the data collection part, my tasks include recruiting participants, scheduling experiment sessions, and assisting participants to complete tasks on paper and computers. For the electrophysiological data we have collected, we process and analyze the data using EEGLab and ERPLab, both plugins under the Matlab environment.
Why did you apply for this internship?
I have volunteered in the Aging and Cognition Lab since my freshman year because I found its research topics intriguing to me. Hence I applied for this summer science research opportunity to deepen my knowledge in this field and to gain some more hands-on experience.
What has been your favorite part of this internship?
My favorite part of this research opportunity is that it is a perfect combination of interactions with people and computers so that one can never get bored. At work, we are able to not only get to meet different people but also to examine what their cognitive processing of the stimuli we provided are like (participation in the study is completely anonymous though), and I think this is really exciting.
Can you talk about the skills you are learning and why they are important to you?
Thanks to the behavioral data collection task, I have the opportunity to practice my communication skills through interacting with the participants. Now I am more confident with talking to and getting to know people of different ages and different backgrounds, and I think this is an essential skill not only in the lab setting but also in the real world. In addition, the analysis of the event-related potentials (ERP) data via Matlab has introduced me to some basic scripting skills and offered me some insights into how computer science and computational mathematics can be integrated into research in psychology. As I am learning more about it, I am able to gain a better understanding of how psychology is not an isolated subject but is related to other fields, and now I am able to appreciate the importance of an interdisciplinary approach to education more.