As the summer comes to an end, I would like to reflect on the wonderful journey I have had as an Undergraduate Researcher at the Neurochemistry and Cognition Lab. My summer internship has definitely aligned with my learning goals. My goals of the summer surrounded the theme of learning about neuroscience and psychology in a research setting. My professional goal at the beginning of the summer was to gain more exposure to lab experience to see if this would be a path I would like to take in my future. While I still do not know what I want to definitively do in my future, I love doing clinical research and could see myself working in this field. I am happy to say I will get the opportunity to continue with the lab this fall! Similarly, at the beginning of the summer, my academic goal was to learn more about cognition and through research articles, lab meetings, participant sessions, and analyzing data I have learned so much about cognition across the lifespan. In terms of personal growth, my hope was to gain more confidence in my work and I have achieved this as I have trained in administering neuropsychological exams and been given a project to present at the end of the summer.
A large portion of my work this summer has been dedicated to analyzing data for the Brandeis Aging Brain Study, described in my first blog post. While I have had some experience in analyzing data, up until this summer, it had all been completing assignments guided by an instructor. Initially, I had a lot of anxiety about independently working to understand some preliminary results of the study. While this project challenged me, I learned how capable I am of anything I set my mind to and how guidance can always help you when you are stuck. From this experience, I have learned that when I start to work on a project, I can doubt my ability to perform successfully. However, the more I dive into my work, the more assured I am in the value of my work. In addition to gaining confidence in my work, I have recognized that I am not afraid to ask for help when I do not know how to continue my work. I am really proud of this ability because initiative in work is important but so is collaboration and knowing when to ask for help. This lab thrives because of its cooperative environment because everyone is more than happy to help each other.
For anyone looking to join the Neurochemistry and Cognition Lab at Brandeis or get involved in neuroscience/psychology research, I highly recommend it! The best piece of advice I could give anyway is to do research online into labs you would be interested in. Familiarize yourself with the current studies the lab is working on (You can read about the lab’s upcoming study here or more of our research here!) and then reach out if you want to connect with the lab! I think anyone should get involved in research if they are interested in making advancements in the scientific community to help make a difference in the world. While my project this summer may only be a small contribution to psychology research, I am so proud of it and grateful for the lab to have given me this opportunity. I’m very excited to see how my research will continue in the fall!