Ronnie Clements' Summer 2018 SPUR Reflection

Ronnie Clements headshotThe SPSP Program for Undergraduate Research gave me a wonderful opportunity that just happened to change my trajectory, and my outlook on graduate school completely.  Attending a small university in Arkansas, I was never really able to be exposed to the kind of lab that I was a part of this summer at the University of Washington.  While I am part of a small research psychology lab at my institution, the opportunity to work with graduate students and a faculty member in my field was incredible!

The SPUR program led me to change my trajectory, and to form a new path for myself.  Going into this summer, I knew I wanted to pursue a terminal degree in psychology, but I was still unsure of what I should specifically specialize in.  Being at the Stereotypes, Identity, and Belonging Lab (SIBL) this summer really helped me find my goal!

The members of the lab were very welcoming, and Dr. Cheryan was a wonderful guide and mentor throughout the summer, and even now.  I felt like I had a place at the SIBL lab, as a real part of the team—not an outsider along for the ride.  I have a background in qualitative research, so there were many outcomes I was able to learn from being in the SIBL lab this summer! I was also very grateful of how receptive the lab was of my own research experience, and it seemed as if they wanted to learn from me as much as I wanted to learn from them!

Being a the SIBL lab this summer not only helped me develop more sound skills pertaining quantitative research methods, but also helped me hone my skills as a presenter, and gave me a taste of what it is really like to be a graduate student.  I worked closely with two graduate students in the SIBL lab, Terrence Pope and Laura Vianna, both of which I am very thankful for!

I worked with Terrence on a project looking into discrimination in the student labor market, asking questions to understand the nature of discrimination on college campuses.  With Laura, I was able to look into the masculine social norms surrounding STEM job environments, and her study about how perception can have an influence on openness to changing STEM environments to be more inclusive.

I was also able to give feedback and help with many other studies, and get feedback on a project of my own.  Being at the University of Washington this summer really helped me solidify my vision to fully commit to the field of social psychology, and to use my findings to make a change in the world.  All in all, I wouldn’t trade my experience at UW for anything.  I feel more prepared for graduate school than I ever could have without the SPUR program, and I have made several wonderful connections that I can take with me throughout my academic career!