Karlahad been a junior at Rutgers College, and majoring in Psychology, when she became an intern at Project L/EARN. The first of her Peruvian family to be born in America, she starts a new path by becoming the first in her family to have pursued a Ph.D. She had decided earlier in her college career that she wanted to attend graduate school and wanted to differentiate herself from the average applicant.
She had applied to Project L/EARN because she hoped to participate in research studies and meet people sharing her interests who could guide her in her efforts. As for the rigorous statistical training, Karla previously stated, “…If I look at the literature now, I will know what they are saying whereas before it was like another language”. She felt that having former interns, Melissa Rivera and Shirley Gonzalez, as instructor and teaching assistant were helpful because, “They knew exactly what we were going through. We weren’t alone when we’d say that we were here forever…they knew that we really meant we were here forever.”
Karla worked under the mentorship of Dr. Carol Boyer and Donna McAlpine on a study about the treatment of persons with schizophrenia entitled Race Differences in Subjective Quality of Life: Material, Social and Psychosocial Predictors.
Since joining the Project L/EARN 'family' Karla states, "I definitely have a place to come when I have questions. In high school, you have a guidance counselor, but you're just a face in the crowd - with Project L/EARN it's more personal."