Psychology Student Shermeyer ’17 to Research Bullying Through CHOP Internship

By Caitlin Burns | March 29, 2016

This summer, Arcadia University psychology student Leaha Shermeyer ‘17 will spend her time conducting research on intervention methods for middle school bullying victims, through the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) Research Institute Summer Scholars Program in conjunction with University of Pennsylvania researchers (CRISSP).

Shermeyer is the first Arcadia student selected for this program, which receives hundreds of applications each year. This year, 25 students from across the country were selected to intern with teams of researchers conducting independent research on a range biochemistry and psychology related topics.

Beginning on June 6, Shermeyer will work with behavioral psychologist and CHOP researcher Dr. Stephen Leff and his team to study relational bullying—a type of bullying that does not include physical abuse—in middle school children using online tools to help with intervention and coping.

“I’ve had a lot of wonderful opportunities this year,” Shermeyer said. “This is probably the best [scholar program] in the country if you are interested in pediatric research.”

Shermeyer said she became interested in studying relational bullying while mentoring in the Teen UpRise organization, when her mentees became victims of bullying. Through behavioral research, Shermeyer hopes to help students in those situations so they don’t feel alone, or helpless.

“As an undergraduate at Arcadia, you’re only allowed to do research with college students,” Shermeyer said. “Doing research to help children is really interesting to me.”

On average, CRISSP interns hold a 3.8 GPA and are interested in pursuing advanced degrees in their fields of study. As part of the program, interns live at the University of Pennsylvania, while conducting research at CHOP, and receive a summer stipend.