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  • Psychology graduate benefits from remote internship with Yale
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Psychology graduate benefits from remote internship with Yale

October 15th, 2020 -- Abby Olcese
Evelyn Wilson gained hands-on experience through a competitive program at Yale’s Mind and Development Lab.
By Abby Olcese

Evelyn Wilson has always been interested in human behavior.

“The field of psychology is interesting to me because I feel like it applies to almost everything that happens,” Wilson, a 2020 Bachelor of Arts graduate in psychology, said.  “You’re around people all day, and it also applies to the way we make decisions, and the way we develop across our lifespan. I feel like psychology is the discipline that can explain that all for us.”

This past summer, Wilson had the opportunity to get real-world experience in psychology research through a competitive internship at Yale University’s Mind and Development Lab. Wilson worked remotely with Dr. Paul Bloom, a leading researcher in the field of cognitive science. Wilson says the experience included several facets designed to strengthen clinical and research skills, including helping graduate students with their work and running appointments with families in a child development lab setting.

“We’d have families come in for these meetings over Zoom usually, and we’d run them through the studies on there and record their responses,” Wilson said. The internship also included a professional development component, which covered everything from reading groups to help applying to graduate school and considering careers in research psychology.

Another component of Wilson’s experience involved creating an outline for a study project and receiving feedback from peers. Wilson’s focused on self-dehumanization, which she says relates to the way individuals understand their own behavior related to immoral acts.

“Often, people fail to attribute human qualities to themselves when they do something that is immoral, or if they’re in a position of low power, which is really interesting,” Wilson said. “I worked with one of the Yale grad students who did a lot of work on dehumanization of the self in children. We kind of expanded on that idea for my project and put together a study of that phenomenon in children.”

Alex Williams, KU Edwards Campus psychology program director, says that Wilson’s experience at Yale is a great way to kick off her career in the field.

“Evelyn is one of the top graduates of the KUEC psychology program. The Yale internship she completed receives applications from the world-over,” Williams said. “That she was selected for it is not surprising those of us familiar with her intelligence and diligence. Evelyn wants to pursue a Ph.D. in psychology, and the field will continue to benefit from her contributions.” 

Anna Pope, long-term lecturer in KU’s Department of Psychology, worked with Wilson on several research projects, and says she was impressed by her dedication.

“Evelyn and I worked on a number of projects together, but what really stood out to me was that she was willing to take on projects that were completely new to both of us,” Pope said. “If the project seemed worthwhile, she did not seem to mind that we would be starting from scratch to complete it, and she was willing to become an expert on entirely new topics to reach our research goals.”

Wilson became aware of the Yale opportunity through the Department of Psychology and was encouraged to apply by Edwards Campus faculty. She says while she chose to come to KUEC for its proximity to home, she stayed for the quality of the instruction.

“There were so many great experiences I could get here that were equal to what I’d get at the main campus of KU, or other universities,” Wilson said. “It was important to me to have research experience, so the fact there was research going on, and a lab I could work in was absolutely great.”

In addition to her work on her degree, Wilson served as a transfer ambassador, and notes that she also appreciated feeling valued as a transfer student by the Edwards Campus community. “I think transfer students are a really important part of university life,” Wilson said. “Sometimes universities don’t treat their transfer students that well, but KUEC was amazing. It was important to me and great to be part of that.”

Tuesday, October 20, 2020 - 4:00pm