Year in school: Sophomore
Faculty Mentor: Dr. Erin Hambrick
Why is undergraduate research important to you?
Undergraduate research has hands- down been the best aspect of my college experience thus far. It has solidified my interest in a career in child clinical psychology, while preparing me for this career. Classroom learning is important in its own way, but research really allows you to expand upon abstract concepts and theories learned in that environment, taking one’s learning process a step further. This extra step in education personally makes academia even more enjoyable, while preparing me for my future endeavors and allowing me to make wonderful connections!
How did you find your mentor?
The head of the psychology department at the time suggested I reach out to Dr. Hambrick based on our common areas of interest; child, clinical, and trauma psychology. I happened to run into her in the hallway later that day, introduced myself, and later sent her an email expressing my interest. Right before my first semester at UMKC I followed up with her, asking if she had availability for students in her lab, and thankfully she did! Working in Lab PANDA has been an amazing opportunity and I’m endlessly grateful to Dr. Hambrick and the rest of the lab for their role in my journey.
What advice would you have for someone who wants to get started in undergraduate research?
I had no idea what my research project was supposed to look like or even where to begin brainstorming. Luckily, Dr. Hambrick gave me plenty of guidance and starting points, as well as giving me some examples of what aspects of our overarching project I could look at, based on my personal research interests. After her suggestions, I did some digging of my own in the lab’s Self- Regulation and Relational Capacities projects and the different aspects we look at, what items were most interesting to me, and ended up with some interesting data to analyze and draw conclusions from! It was certainly self- directed, but Dr. Hambrick promptly helped out with any and every question I had throughout the process.