Filtered by category: Academic Life Clear Filter

Socioeconomic Risk for Adolescent Cognitive Control and Emerging Risk-Taking Behaviors: An interview with Dr. Alexis Brieant

Studies suggest that adolescents’ cognitive development may be impacted by elements of socioeconomic status (SES) such as family income, educational attainment, and social status. Dr. Alexis Brieant’s 2020 paper, Socioeconomic Risk for Adolescent Cognitive Control and Emerging Risk-Taking Behaviors examines how SES might impact youths’ cognitive control and, subsequently, youths’ problem behaviors.

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The Role of Sense of Belonging and Family Structure in Adolescent Adjustment: An interview with Zoë Rejaän

Among adolescents, a strong sense of belonging seems to be linked to important psychological outcomes. However, parental divorce may impact adolescents’ sense of belonging not only within the family but within other social contexts as well.

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“How do Your Research Interests Align with Those of Our Faculty?” Identifying Research Interest Fit for Graduate School Applications

So, it’s time to prepare the personal statement for a research-heavy graduate school program (e.g., a Ph.D. or general/experimental Master’s) and you are faced with the daunting question: “How do your research interests align with those of our faculty?” Although some applicants may have their responses ready as if they have been preparing to put pen to paper all throughout their undergraduate studies, other applicants may have a harder time answering this question. Regardless of the ease with which one comes up with their response, the fit of the applicant’s research interests with the research agenda of their prospective mentor is key to getting accepted into—and succeeding in—graduate school. After all, mentors want to work with graduate students who are passionate about the field, at least in part because the collaboration will be more enjoyable, and the student will be more motivated and successful, when the topic is of inherent interest. For those who could use some guidance in figuring out their area of interest, below I review what constitutes a “research interest”, some reasons why the research interest fit is so important in graduate school applications, and some suggestions for how to identify research interest fit in the personal statement.

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Can Harley Quinn and the Birds of Prey call me Doctor Birdie?

Because professors litter lectures with curated pop culture references and stale dad-jokes, my job requires versing myself with DC and MCU and it has nothing to do with Thor’s biceps. So, for work, I binged the latest animated incarnation of Harley Quinn: a brilliant exploration where HQ severs her identity as joker’s girlfriend, yet struggles to be taken seriously because she’s a girl.  Love the feminism, but come on: give the emancipated anti-hero her academic accolades! Dr. Harley Quinzel, PhD from Gotham University in Psychology (or MD since she practices psychiatry?  Batman should check her credentials).

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Eight Lessons for Academic Life Gleaned From Exercise

As an academic, it’s no surprise that I have great childhood memories of being ensconced in a big chair reading a book I couldn’t put down. Perhaps less predictable is that I gained as much joy from being physically active. I have many happy childhood memories of playing hopscotch, kickball, tag, or spud; of bike riding or ice skating on the local pond. Fast forward a few decades, and exercise remains critical to my self-care, my sanity. When I step onto the trail or dip into the pool, I am still the academic, and I find myself pondering lessons I’ve learned from my experience with physical activity that apply to the academic life. 

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When Britney Spears Leaves my Lab

Recently, #freebritney, a social media movement protesting the rockstar’s Overprotected conservatorship became quite the Circus as Britney Spears revealed to the world that she is more than a broken celebrity or wounded tabloid victim.  Fans unearthed a satirical gem where the Womanizer singer found herself the Femme Fatale of scientific scrutiny. The esteemed journal Nature published “When Britney Spears Comes to My Lab” in early 2008 when Britney Spears was navigating and ultimately overcoming a heavily publicized mental health crisis.

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Three Lessons Learned about Graduate School from a Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought many changes to our personal and professional lives. Among these, for students who started graduate school in the Fall 2019 semester, the pandemic has created a (somewhat unique) experience of an entire year of acclimating to graduate student life followed by a year of separation from mentors, cohorts, and departments. Going into my third year of graduate school, I can now confidently say that I have learned a number of valuable lessons that apply to the graduate school experience both pre- and mid-pandemic—though these lessons were particularly emphasized during the height of COVID-19.  Here I share three of them:

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The formation of scholars: Understanding graduate socialization through the lens of oppression

I am sitting at home, and the students in my class are neatly positioned in 2x2 inch squares on a screen. Already this semester is different from our long summer days of doctoral student residency where we sat in our poorly ventilated seminar room, navigating a table of notebooks, printed research articles, and the occasional spilled coffee. Instead, we are in our homes and apartments interacting through a camera and a screen that resembles the opening of The Brady Bunch (a reference many of the younger doctoral students don’t even know).

Despite this new method of engagement, familiar and recurring feelings arise for these new students: imposter syndrome; wondering if the program made the right choice of “letting them in”; afraid that being a doctoral student will pull them away from their communities and widen the gap between their educational achievements and those of their family members. They worry about learning a new set of vocabulary which includes words like epistemology and critical discourse and everyone’s favorite word to say aloud, phenomenology.'

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Meet, Write, Collaborate: Networking in Working Groups

Networking Accomplished: First, Join The Group. Second, Find Your Person. Third, Create A Project.

Puberty is a complex and multifaceted process, and yet pubertal research typically resides in silos across fields such as medicine, genetics, psychology, anthropology, neuroscience, public health, or epidemiology. In each of these fields, novel measurement and theoretical approaches lead to incremental increases in our knowledge of puberty, but the most exciting discoveries usually happen when disciplines intersect. We had the opportunity to see this intersection of ideas first-hand at The New Biobehavioral Developmental Science of Puberty post-conference at SRA 2016 organized by Drs. Lorah Dorn, Liz Susman, and Anne Petersen.

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Mentoring Matters: How to support students of color in academia

 Investing In Quality Mentoring Relationships Can Contribute To Success In Graduate Programs, Especially For Students Of Color.

The graduate student experience can be a time of great stress and uncertainty for many. One of the most important aspects of graduate school, that can help alleviate that stress, is securing a mentor. It can determine success in program of study and your readiness to access postgraduate or postdoctoral opportunities. This is especially true for students of color because they have additional stressors due to navigating white-dominated institutions. This experience can oftentimes be alienating. Mentors of color are crucial to students success because they provide cultural and social capital in fields where women and minorities are underrepresented. In addition to focusing on the individual development and growth of your student, graduate mentors of color also have an important role of focusing on institutional change.

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My First International Data Collection Trip

When I Agreed To Help My Mentor With A Data Collection Trip To Mexico, I Learned What Really Went Into International Data Collection.

With international data collection, there are different obstacles to overcome compared to research conducted in an American college campus. When my mentor asked me if I wanted to help her collect data in Mexico regarding adolescents and sexual behaviors, I agreed. I was unprepared for how much work really went into the process or how much time I was truly investing— almost three years. While I would have been satisfied with just an interesting point on my CV, I learned about the pressure to be right the first time, passive consent, and being the recipient of romantic attention (yes, really).  

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Highlights from SRA 2018 Emerging Scholars Events

We are so grateful to the panelists and presenters who made the Emerging Scholars events for SRA 2018 such a huge success! As in years past, the events were engaging and well-attended.

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March Madness and the Making of a Winning Team

You Need To Have The Right Team Chemistry – In Sports As Well As In Academia. Find Out Why Camaraderie, Mentorship, And Professional Development Are Essential For Winning As An Assistant Professor.

If you’re anything like me, you have been hoarse, anxiety-stricken, and anticipating the end of this thing. No – I’m not talking about March Madness (who am I kidding, I am!!! #GoBlue!!!!). I’m talking about the sprint to the end of the semester and thriving – not just surviving – in academia.

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Questions from First-Time Conference Attendees

I would like to thank the students from the University of Nebraska who took the time to come up with these questions.  They’re great questions I wish I had thought to ask before I went to my first conference because I remember feeling pretty overwhelmed my first time.

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Discerning and Decoding Campus Culture(s): Questions Early Career Professionals Should Ask

My first faux pas as a faculty member happened in my first semester during a department meeting. We were having an animated discussion about our curriculum and it became clear the room was split on the issue. As the meeting approached its end, I, being helpful of course, quipped, “will we be voting on this before we leave today?” I then learned that in my department, we made most decisions by consensus— a revelation of department culture.

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