VURF recipient Emily LaPorte, double major in Neiroscience and Humanities, served as a research assistant in the Emotion and Self-Control lab at the University of Michigan this summer.
On her experience:
"This summer 2017, I was privileged to be a research assistant in the Emotion and Self-Control lab at the University of Michigan, working under Dr. Ethan Kross. As a Neuroscience and Humanities double-major who is strongly considering graduate school, this experience was not only incredibly beneficial for my research skills and experience—it allowed me to facilitate connections with prolific professionals and graduate students at this highly rated, top institution in psychology.
The project which I spent the majority of my time working on was called the Toolbox Project—a classroom self-control intervention project. This project was designed to test the effects of teaching children the virtue of self-control through a 15 lesson-plan curriculum (based on the current scientific literature on self-control) in middle- and high-school classrooms across the country. The Toolbox Project is a collaboration with professors (from the University of Michigan, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Virginia), and with multiple middle- and high- school teachers from several different schools across the country. I was able to meet and establish professional connections with the professors working on this project, as well as with the graduate students. I formed a close mentoring relationship with a graduate student at the University of Michigan, Ariana Orvell, who guided me not only with this and other projects, but provided me with on-the-ground knowledge of the graduate school application process, and experiential knowledge of getting accepted into a top graduate program (based on her recent experience, and current position as a graduate student at the University of Michigan).
The experience of volunteering at the University of Michigan was incredibly beneficial to me in providing me with an understanding the realities of graduate student expectations. I saw first-hand how research is conducted, through sitting in on a couple meetings between the professors and graduate school students, and by exposure to various parts of the research process—literature reviews, running participants, and thinking through research questions. This experience was extremely instrumental to my professional aspirations—it provided information, contacts, and experience. My acceptance of this unpaid volunteer research assistant position at the University of Michigan was made possible only through the Research and Travel grant which was provided to me by CURF. I am so grateful to Villanova for this opportunity for professional growth and development, which I know will serve me well in the future!"