This summer, I worked as a research assistant with the Behavioral Change for Good (BCFG) Initiative at Penn, in the Milkman Lab specifically. The aim of BCFG is to determine how to make positive behavioral changes stick in the long-term. The particular study I was involved with was designed to determine what techniques get people to go to the gym—and keep going to the gym. The lab had over fifty different treatment arms that gave participants varying types of incentives and information.
My role was to help develop the interactive digital platform that enrolled over 22,000 study participants (and counting!). I piloted the labs data collection methods and provided user experience feedback to optimize the platform. I learned about marketing and participant recruitment for large scale experiments and how to efficiently clean and manage large datasets. I also interacted directly with the study participants via email, troubleshooting any difficulties they had with the platform or their experience. Unexpectedly, I was also tasked with creating and editing promotional videos for the program and discovered that I have a passion for video editing and design!
I really enjoyed teaching myself the Adobe Creative Suite and plan to incorporate the skills I learned into future presentations and projects in my academic career. Becoming deft at navigating data in Excel was also incredibly helpful and will come in handy the next time I need to perform quantitative data analyses. Although the Summer 2018 Penn Undergraduate Research Mentorship program has ended, I will continue on as a research assistant in the Milkman Lab during the school year as well.