As an undergraduate research intern, I have had the chance to work on a variety of projects that correlate to public health and social issues, specifically relating to substance use and community demographics. My role has been focused on communicating research and science topics in a way that's easier for the general public to understand, but I've also helped the team with important administrative tasks and practiced professional skills relevant to my future career. My favorite project contribution has been collaborating with a team to draft and revise a series of research briefs.
My greatest accomplishment was definitely gaining the confidence to share my ideas and give opinions on projects as I got farther along. My opinions were valued, making my internship a motivating environment to work in. Even though this is a general accomplishment, I think I grew greatly in my professional abilities and feel much more confident entering a job post-graduation.
The greatest lessons I learned were time management and how to communicate information in a way that is understandable to a variety of audiences. The research side of human services is something I had never considered as a career until I looked into the research, so I am also thankful for taking the chance to explore something I didn't expect to enjoy so much!
What advice would you give?
I would say to not limit yourself and keep your mind open. When I changed to HD FS, I thought I knew what I wanted to do with the degree, and my experiences in the career classes had me considering multiple new paths I never thought I could pursue with this degree. Ask a lot of questions, and don't be afraid to connect with your professors - ask them about their school and work experience and their advice. I figured out what I wanted to do for a career by simply asking my professor to talk about their research. They want to know and support you!