Andy Chang is a student from Galloway, New Jersey studying at Rutgers University (’15) where he double-majors in Psychology and Evolutionary Anthropology. After prior research experience where the work wasn’t as hands on as he would have liked, he was drawn to the fact the Project L/EARN provides the opportunity to work closely with a faculty mentor on a research project. Andy’s short-term educational goals include getting his honors thesis aa well as his project from Project L/EARN published. He aspires to work in a prison/hospital setting, working closely with severely mentally ill patients in treatment, therapy, and research. In addition to this, Andy would also like to teach at the university level, teaching abnormal psychology while doing research; in addition he would like to have his own clinical psychology practice, specializing in treating patients with severe mental disorders such as schizophrenia, behavioral personality disorder, bipolar disorder.
During the summer, Andy had the opportunity to work with his mentors Dr. Deborah Carr and Dr. Mei-Chia Fong on a project exploring how family heart health history impacts health behaviors and levels of worry. He says the best part about working with his mentors was getting all of the helpful feedback on his paper. The comments he received on his paper, though many, helped him to strive to do better and always improve upon his work. Andy says: “This was the best part for me because I am always trying to improve and I am starting to get a sense of how research papers should be written just from the insight my mentors have given me.”
Andy says the best thing about Project L/EARN is how supportive all of the staff are. “Every time I ask a question, whether it was simple or difficult, every member of the staff was always willing to help and made sure I knew the answers. There was never a stupid question and all of the faculty encouraged all of the interns to ask any questions we have because they genuinely care and want us all to succeed.” He says it was difficult at first to see how all of the concepts and statistical methods connected and related to his project, but after beginning to write more of his paper and work with his data set, he began to see the bigger picture. Andy would like future interns to understand that “Yes, the beginning is a lot of work and most of it seems unnecessary, but everything we do is applicable to when you are actually writing the paper and that it is worth it in the end. Also, do not be intimidated in the beginning by all of the work. You all can handle it and if the directors didn’t think you could. they wouldn’t have picked you.”