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Institute for Health Care Policy and Aging Research
Theresa Alston
Project L/EARN Alumna - 1998
Theresa Alston
The Effects of Perceived Social Support on Hopelessness in Adolescents
Stephen Hansell

Theresa Alston entered her internship as a Rutgers College Psychology major prior to her senior year. Previous experience entering data for a self-concept research project provided initial exposure to research; however, she longed to have a deeper understanding of the meaning of data. That experience served to motivate her to take full advantage of Project L/EARN. She earlier stated as an intern, “…here you are involved in the whole process of the research project. I was able to understand [the implications of] the results and the whole project in general.”

Theresa had anticipated working with children and adolescents, and therefore enjoyed working alongside Dr. Steve Hansell, whose research projects had also focused on adolescent mental health. Her independent research project, The Perceived Effects of Social Support on Hopelessness in Adolescents had given her the opportunity to evaluate data on this important age group. Theresa had formerly reflected, “Working on an actual adolescent data set gave me insight into this problem that I otherwise would not have had.”

As an intern, Theresa had commented on her Project Learn experience: “[It gave] me the skills and the availability of a mentor to conduct independent research, which is a big step toward achieving my goals”. When asked her most memorable part of the program, she had stated, “My classmates and I had so much fun together as well as a great working relationship. Everyone was willing to help each other out.”

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