While the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the landscape for internship opportunities, Psychology major and Global Public Health minor Emily Brown ’22 remains passionate about improving community health.
This summer, Brown earned two highly competitive internships this summer with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP)’s Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program and Beyond Celiac, a nonprofit organization which promotes celiac disease awareness. At her internship with CHOP’s REU program, Brown will participate in the project “Neuroscience of Driving,” where she will virtually attend seminars and conduct research exploring the psychological processes used to drive vehicles. With Beyond Celiac, she will conduct market research and assist the organization in establishing its online presence.
The CHOP REU program is highly selective and typically receives 300 to 500 applicants per summer. The program typically involves students relocating to a CHOP housing assignment for the summer and conducting research in person, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the program will be conducted entirely online. Despite the change in format, Brown is excited to conduct remote research with the program, which involves analyzing data from a driving simulator. The study uses brain imaging to show the participants’ brain activity during the simulated tests.
“Every class I take, I fall a little bit more in love with psychology and I want to do everything,” said Brown, who aims to achieve a doctorate degree in Psychology. “I'm trying to expose myself to as much research that I can, so in two years time when I'm applying for graduate schools, I know what kind of avenue I want to goin. I want to do research all day, every single day for my summer.”
For her internship with Beyond Celiac, Brown was one of seven students selected out of a pool of over 100 applications. She will assist in an array of projects, such as assisting with research for the organization’s science department, or helping the communications team market to a college-aged demographic.
“At Beyond Celiac I do translational research, so being able to actually put research into practice and helping people is key to me,” said Brown. “I can understand the struggle as I have to eat gluten-free as well.”
Brown credits her various work study positions in preparing her for these internships, as she has previously conducted research with both Dr. Christina Brown, former professor of Psychology, and Dr. Steve Robbins, professor of Psychology. Additionally, Brown has worked as a marketing intern for her Honors Project, using her market research skills to promote the Honors Department.