Summer Internships in Psychology

Audrey Long, left & Alexi Cranford, right

July 11, 2013

The summer months provide ideal opportunities for applying classroom knowledge within professional settings.  These opportunities prepare students for graduate school and for professional careers.  Audrey Long and Alexi Cranford are two Bradley psychology students gaining valuable work experience during the summer months in exciting and challenging internships.

Audrey Long, a junior psychology major from Jefferson City, MO is an intern with the Step Up! program at the Center for Prevention of Abuse in Peoria, IL. The Step Up! program was started approximately three years ago to help aggressive teens and their families learn about relationships and to improve behavioral functioning within their homes.  Audrey’s internship features a unique combination of the human service and quantitative sides of psychology.

“My job”, she explained, “is to analyze the data from the past few years of the program in order to track its progress and to help assess its efficacy for the teens and their families. This includes creating a database, and using data analysis to present the outcomes of the program in a meaningful way that can be presented to coworkers and clients of the center.”  In addition to the quantitative part of the program, she also assists with group meetings once a week with the teens and their families. The group sessions help the participants to build positive relationships and respectful communications.  Audrey is considering graduate programs in child clinical psychology after graduation.  “My internship”, she said, “in addition to my classes, have sparked my interest in this field."

Alexi Cranford, a junior psychology major from East Peoria, IL is working this summer as a paid research assistant in the Stress, Emotion, and Alcohol Laboratory (SEA Lab) under the direction of Dr. Amy Bacon.  Alexi’s stipend is funded by a Research Excellence Grant from Bradley University.  She and Dr. Bacon are conducting a study which investigates the factors involved in alcohol use among college students. As a research assistant, she guides the participants through the study from beginning to end and ensures that they are able to safely and effectively participate.  Participants in this study engage in numerous tasks and questionnaires to measure their personality, moods, emotions, and drinking habits.

“Being a part of Dr. Bacon’s lab is a great way to get hands-on research experience. It allows me to see the research process in action and really appreciate all of the work that goes into planning and carrying out a project like this,” Cranford said. In addition to recruiting and meeting with participants, she also has other various responsibilities, such as reading related research articles, entering data into a database for analysis, and collaborating with Dr. Bacon to make sure the study is running smoothly. By the time it is finished, results from this study should provide meaningful information about patterns of alcohol use among college students.  The research experience will be invaluable when Alexi applies to graduate schools next Fall.