If I could tell a junior or senior in high school about opportunities in college, I could not even stop talking. Especially research programs, such as SROP, open young university students the door to their future success, be it personally or professionally. Having the chance to look at one’s major more closely through working in a laboratory opens so many doors.
Before I started working in the lab, I only knew about my major in Psychology through my course work. Everything was based on theoretical aspects but I was not able to experience the subject matter through hands-on experience. I had no idea how the world of research actually looked like. My first step into the laboratory with the Research Rookies program opened my eyes for psychological research. I was now able to put learned theory into practice. Things that I learned in my cognitive, social or personality psychology classes made more sense now.
Me in the lab
I can say the same about SROP. The 8-week long summer research program provides me with an opportunity that I have not had in my life before. I am now able to build on my previous research experience in my year with Research Rookies and can learn even more about IRB, data collection, data cleaning, analysis, poster creation and oral presentations. Even though I have learned a lot about research already, there is always more to explore. I have not had the chance before to present my research in form of an oral presentation. This summer, I will have the chance to do so with my current project Judgment Bias in Evaluative Situations. I am very excited what my data analysis via SPSS will bring this week.
All in all, research programs like SROP have effected my college experience to a great extent. I cannot thank The Office of Student Engagement and Experimental Learning from Northern Illinois University enough for the amazing opportunities they have provided me with throughout my undergraduate career. I am so thankful for my Research Rookies experience and SROP this summer. My fall will be filled with my work on my honors thesis and my work as an Undergraduate Research Assistant in the Occupational Health & Stress Laboratory of Dr. Larissa Barber. Once again we will be working on my project from last year and elaborate on our findings. This will be a year full of adventures and most important of all, a learning experience.
At Dr. Baker’s house, NIU president
I have to say that programs like SROP affected my college experience at NIU in a way that made me grow so much. I have not only learned so much about Psychology overall, but specifically about the research process that will be even more important in graduate school. Starting early with research showed me the path I would like to go in the future. Without programs like SROP and Research Rookies, I would have never met such wonderful mentors like Dr. Barber and Dr. Santuzzi who are such amazing advisors along my way. I learned a great deal about research but also about being more professional and prepared for graduate school. Applying to a PhD or master program is not always easy, but with their help I feel so much more confident and ready to take the next step.
This being said, I would recommend every new student in college to start with research as soon as possible. I have always told new freshman at NIU to look into the different undergraduate research opportunities that NIU offers them. Being part of this unique community from the beginning can open the individual doors that would have otherwise been closed until they reached graduate school.