I had an amazing opportunity to collaborate with the principle investigator, postdoc, and graduate students at the Changing Brain Lab.
Before the summer began, I had the chance to work with Dr. Julia Leonard, a postdoc who introduced me to her study of child persistence. Throughout the first half of the summer, I mainly contributed to what we called the “Teeth Brushing” study. The semi-longitudinal study took place over a 2 week period to measure daily fluctuations in 3 year old teeth brushing behavior. During the first month, Dr. Leonard introduced me to R, taught me how to analyze the data we were collecting, and probed me about how I could explore my personal interests in the context of the lab. Through this connection with Dr. Leonard’s study, I was able to code more efficient scripts and run more complex data analysis: https://github.com/jlnrd/Tooth_Brushing.
While I was a part of Dr. Leonard’s study, I also became familiar with the Child Brain Plasticity Development study that the private investigator, Professor Mackey oversaw. I learned how to administer activities to the 4-9 year old participants that came into the lab on the weekends while also learning about MRI through multiple presentations that Anne Park, a graduate student, gave. I also had the opportunity to learn more about the adult behavioral study that Austin Boroshok analyzed and the network learning activity that Ursula Tooley ran. Before the end of the summer, I had another great opportunity to work on an inhibition task that Anne was adapting to study possible connections between home environment and child inhibition.
Throughout the summer, everyone I had the chance to meet was incredibly supportive and focused on creating the most beneficial learning environment possible. I went into the lab with a surface level understanding of basic statistics concepts, Python and MATLAB coding experience, and an interest in education personalization, and by the end of the summer, I had learned how to create R Markdown files in RStudio, how to connect statistics with actual data, and what it feels and looks like to be a part of a great lab. I would highly recommend that anyone with an interest in developmental psychology consider becoming a part of the Changing Brain Lab.