Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

Mary Howell

My summer  work: I’m an intern for the Harvard/Brown Anxiety Research Program (HARP) and Learning to Ease Anxiety in Primary Care (LEAP), two large, longitudinal research studies that examine anxiety in adults in two different ways. HARP examines the nature and course of anxiety in older adults and ethnic minority members. LEAP studies anxiety in adult primary care patients.

What I’m do: I am helping the LEAP team finish research. I will be coordinating the final interviews for LEAP and I will also be trained to do qualitative interviews with patients who have completed the study. Once all the qualitative interviews are done, I will be coding that data by reading through them and finding common themes of what approaches in LEAP worked. I’m also working on AIM, which is a pilot study of a computerized, cognitive bias modification program for individuals with social phobia. For this study, I am one of four people who monitor the speech of individuals with social phobia. I watch pre- and post-treatment videos of the participants and rate things such as how nervous they seem, how well they speak and their general improvement after treatment.

The benefits: Interning here so far has allowed me to gain familiarity with the criteria for anxiety disorders, common anxiety measures, both quantitative and qualitative research, longitudinal research studies and much more. It is great to be able to witness and experience firsthand all that I have learned in the many psychology classes I have taken at Wheaton.

The future: I chose to pursue this type of job for the summer because I have a strong interest in psychology and I wanted to do something applicable to my career. Internships are a great way to apply what one has learned in his or her field, as well as get a feel for what to expect in the future for that particular line of work. Everything I’ve been a part of makes me very excited for a future career in psychology.