This summer, I had the amazing opportunity to conduct a research internship surrounding maternity/parental leave at the School of Psychology with Dr Clare Sutherland. This internship was a part of the Athena Swan Program (https://www.advance-he.ac.uk) which is a program that helps promote intersectional gender equality at universities and other institutions. The object of the internship was to develop a maternity/parental leave checklist with the intention of giving managers a point of reference to consult during the leave process – we have a first draft, so watch this space!
This opportunity has helped me develop many useful research skills from running effective literature searches to recruiting participants. For example, I compiled and utilized qualitative literature which discussed academics’ experiences with maternity/parental leave. The literature particularly focused on the importance of effective communication between the staff member and the institution while leave was taking place (Alstveit et al., 2010). I also learnt how to work with non-anonymous, confidential, and sensitive data. I also took part in adapting a template for the new WorkTribe ethics system which allowed me to develop skills in synthesizing information and creating effective forms.
This internship was an invaluable experience that introduced me to the world of research. I had never considered research as a career path before, but I found through this project that I enjoy research quite a lot. I am looking forward to using the skills that I learned during this internship when conducting my thesis next year and continuing to develop these skills throughout further education.
Elsa will begin their fourth year of undergraduate studies in September 2023