In This Issue
Student Chapter of the Division of Applied Experimental and Engineering Psychology
By Elisabeth Niederman
Sometimes obtaining research experience, especially as an undergraduate, is very difficult. Even at a school as large as the University of Central Florida (UCF), finding a place to begin can be a challenge. In the spring of my sophomore year, I knew I wanted to go to grad school, and that having some research experience would significantly improve my chances of acceptance, but I had no idea how to start. One day, when I went to talk to one of my instructors, he introduced me to a grad student who brought me onto his team as a research assistant. Since then, I've designed experiments, written IRBs, presented posters, and discovered how much I enjoy being a researcher.
Still, I wish that when I was a sophomore there had been some way for me to find out how to be a researcher without joining a lab. What if, after I became a research assistant, I decided I really disliked the kind of work I was doing? I would have joined a lab for nothing, and wasted my time and the lab’s resources in training me. Or, what if I hadn’t been able to find a position in a lab? There are so many psychology students and only a certain number of research assistant positions available.
My goal in forming a Student Chapter of the Division of Applied Experimental and Engineering Psychology at UCF is to be a resource for other students like me: students who don’t know exactly where to begin, who think research might be the answer to “What do I do with a degree in psychology,” and students who are ready to get their hands dirty as they take their first steps towards a research career.
In order to achieve this goal, we plan on starting a Psychology Research Experience Program (ΨREP), which will allow teams of students to conduct independent research. ΨREP is designed to give students the tools they need in order to conduct human research, such as ethics training, access to the university’s IRB portal, and the basics of experiment design and data analysis. We also plan on hosting a poster session, so students can present their research and receive feedback regarding their projects.
I am very excited to be a part of what is happening here at UCF. In the time before I graduate, I want to take the Student Chapter of Div. 21 as far as I possibly can and enable it to prosper long after I’m gone.