This summer, I have had the honour of completing an internship in Professor Jie Sui’s lab on campus, under the supervision of Dr Meike Scheller and Prof Sui. I got involved in the project earlier this spring, when the research question and design were readily formulated, but before testing had started.
I applied for a scholarship to support my internship and was honoured to learn that the Development Trust wanted to support my completion of the project. There are various scholarships available for undergraduate students; both external (e.g. offered by the BPS, Carnegie Trust etc) and internal ones (offered by University of Aberdeen and the School of Psychology). My scholarship entails me reporting back to the funder on my experiences, the skills I have gained as well as the outcomes and impact of the research we have carried out.
I started off my internship by doing some reading and making myself familiar with R Studio. On my first week I got to test pilot participants on campus; this was all very exciting and new for me, and just having a reason to leave my flat made me happy. After having taken part in a number of studies as a participant, I was thrilled to be the one who was giving the instructions for a change. I discovered there are a number of steps, which at first, I was a bit worried that I would forget. I wanted to be extra careful because of the additional safety measures imposed by Covid. Nevertheless, I quickly adjusted and got used to instructing participants and came to enjoy it very much.
The most challenging aspect of completing a lab-based internship during the pandemic has been recruitment. Where does one find participants during the summer months on an empty campus? This is something that me, my supervisors, and probably the whole School of Psychology have been pondering a lot. With most students being away during the summer, recruitment has been very challenging. I have tried to reach out to as many people as I can, starting with asking all my friends, moving on to people that I know remotely, and so on. It has not been easy, but it has paid off to some extent. What has made me happy are participants who have taken part themselves and then told their friends about our study. Word of mouth can be a true asset in recruitment.
What I have enjoyed the most during my internship has been working with my supervisor, Dr Meike Scheller. She has been extremely supportive and has made sure that I have the opportunity to learn a variety of new skills. I feel involved and in all aspects of the study and it has boosted my academic confidence significantly when Meike has encouraged me to carry out some analyses too.
I would like to thank the Development Trust and the School of Psychology for supporting my internship and enabling me to get invaluable insight into various aspects of academia.
PS. If you are reading this and think it would be interesting to take part in an experiment looking at how humans extract and perceive information in time – we are still recruiting! You can get in touch with me on firstname.lastname@example.org or sign up on SONA if you would like to take part (on SONA you can find the study under
“Back to the future: Testing your time perception”). Participants are awarded with £10 online vouchers. Thank you!