Last week we welcomed a final year high school student, interested in a career in psychology, to spend a week with our team. Here’s what he thought of the experience:
I recently got the opportunity to get some work experience with Sue, and so for the past week I have been in Kennedy Tower working with Sue and her team. I am in my last year of high school at James Gillespie’s High School and am looking forward to attending university next year, but I did not have much experience in psychology, the area I want to study. I was worried about being an annoyance or getting in the way, but as I walked into Kennedy Tower I was welcomed and greeted by all the pleasant people that work there. Throughout the week, I got to see both the creative and the academic side to psychology. As we set off on the Monday, I sat in on a meeting where a PhD student’s project was being discussed. It was really insightful to be able to see how these meetings take place, what gets discussed and what people have to consider when doing a piece of research. It has given me a lot to think about for when I go to university and conduct my own research studies, such as the sample for an experiment or the consistency of repeated studies. After lunch, I went to George Square for a seminar by one of Sue’s peers. It was about “Psychology and Autism”, and even with my limited knowledge beforehand, the seminar was still really interesting! It was easy to understand and gave me the opportunity to see what kind of research Sue and her team work on. Everyone at the seminar was really engaged, asking in-depth questions that really helped me to understand the topic more. Monday was a really great day, and little did I know, it would only get better from there.
Before I arrived for the week, Sue gave me a cover story to read on a grant she was applying for. It sounded really interesting, and had me intrigued. On Tuesday, I got to sit in with Sue and the rest of her talented team as they worked on this grant, in which they aimed to create a device that embraces diversity in situations instead of shying away from it. I was meant to be taking notes, but most of the time I would be too interested in what the team were saying that I would forget to take any! It was a great opportunity, and one that I am thankful for, to be able to sit in with this wonderful group of people from all different fields of research, and watch as they work together to put together this piece of research. Throughout the day, I got to see how these different fields of research would tackle the problems that they faced, and how they all intertwined to really build up this technology. The group of people were lovely, and they made sure to keep me up to speed as some stuff was going right over my head. It was a great day, and one that I will remember for some time to come.
As Wednesday arrived, I got to look at some real, authentic research and sort the data myself. It was a great day, as it gave me some insight into the more day to day operations of Kennedy Tower. It was exciting as I got to look at a real piece of research and collect the data myself, as I learned the terminology used in the field. This allowed me to do some video coding, where I had to timestamp videos with information about the contents of the video, which was a fun look at everyday activities in Kennedy Tower. I also got to learn about the ADOS kits, which are used to diagnose autism in children. It was really great to see all the different pieces of equipment used in the research, and fun to see how everything worked together.
Finally, on Thursday, I got to sit in on a testing session for a current study being conducted at Kennedy Tower. I got to see how these tests are done, with equipment such as eye tracking. It was fascinating to see how the eye tracking technology worked, and to get to see for myself how the tests are conducted. I also got to see a Mullens test be conducted, which was interesting to see as it let me look at the different questions that get asked and the different activities that are done in the tests. The team was great and it was good to see how all the data is gathered and comprised in these studies.
Overall, it has been a wonderful week with Sue and her team as they allowed me to have an insight into the world of psychological research and study that I didn’t have before. It has been really great getting to see how the research is conducted, how the data is gathered and what that data can help produce. Sue and her team have been extremely helpful, and have given me a week to remember.