From the onset of my undergraduate studies in Psychology, I have been interested in the intersection between law and psychology and so I was very grateful for the opportunity to engage in research in this field through the SPSP SPUR internship. My involvement in the SPSP summer program for undergraduate research was fulfilling beyond expectations.
During my internship in Dr. Ashley Votruba’s Culture, Cognition, and Law lab at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, my experience ranged from assisting with pre-existing projects in the lab to developing my own independent research project.
By the end of the internship, after a few weeks of literature review, I had developed a research design for a project on victim participation in restorative justice programs alongside Dr. Votruba and the graduate students in the lab that will hopefully continue on to data collection in the near future. It was a very fulfilling experience to be given the independence to conceptualise a research project, while still having the benefit of being guided and assisted by the expertise of Dr. Votruba and the other graduate students. Additionally, while assisting with other projects, I had the opportunity to gain experience with field data collection which was exciting both because I had only ever collected data in a lab setting before and because it allowed me to explore a bit more of Lincoln!
Dr. Votruba also organised weekly reading meeting during which all lab members—graduate and summer undergraduate students—met to discuss readings that had been assigned for the week. I particularly appreciated these weekly reading meetings because they facilitated my exposure to literature on a wide range of topics (that I may have otherwise not come into contact with), gave me the opportunity to lead discussions, and perhaps most importantly helped me feel a sense of belonging in the lab.
In the end, I left the summer program not only gaining more research experience and skills, but also acquiring much needed clarity on what I would like my future in psychology research to look like and how I would like to use my future research expertise to contribute to the advancement of knowledge and justice in whatever society I am apart of.