Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

Lauren Erickson

Last summer, psychology major Lauren Erickson gained experience in her field through an internship at the Obsessive Compulsive Disorders Institute (OCDI) at McLean Hospital, which focuses on clinical care, teaching and research.

Persistence pays. I first became interested in McLean Hospital about a year ago, when my grandmother, a Wheaton graduate [Joanne Whitney ’56] who was aware of my passion for psychology, mentioned the hospital to me…. I began my own extensive research on McLean, had an interview there in the winter, and found out by March that I had the internship position. I also applied for and received a Wheaton Fellowship to fund the internship.

A rich palette. At the OCDI, I was treated as an equal member of the research team, and my mentors advocated for my participation in a rich palette of experiences. As an assistant researcher, I had interaction with inpatients on the unit while gathering data, so I gained both clinical and research experience. I also contributed to the creation of a poster that was presented at an international conference on OCD. I felt honored to be given the responsibility of coding and analyzing data that made up the core of the poster.

Bringing it back home. My internship has given me reassurance that I am headed in the right direction. I know more about the workplace environment, and how to handle difficult situations that often arise in an intense clinical setting. I have also learned skills that will be crucial in my pursuit of a research position that will lead to graduate school.

Active on campus. I’m a psychology tutor for the Filene Center and a research assistant to Professor Michael Berg. Our research team is looking at how obesity stereotypes change people’s perceptions of those who are overweight, and how these perceptions influence public policy. I recently joined Best Buds, a program that works to build relationships with special needs individuals in Norton. As president of the Psychology Club, and I have worked closely with Professor Bianca Cody Murphy to revitalize the club on campus.