Elle DiLorenzo is a sophomore psychology major, completing her first year of work as a research assistant. She was interviewed by senior Sabrina DiBisceglie.
UofSHealthPsych: Where are you from, and what drew you to the University of Scranton?
ED: I’m from Valley Stream, New York, which is town on Long Island. I wasn’t interested in Scranton at first because so many people from my high school were planning on coming here. My friends encouraged me to look here anyway, and once I stepped on campus, I fell in love with the academics and the atmosphere. I guess I just got a feeling that this school was the right place for me.
UofSHealthPsych: Why did you choose to be a psychology major?
ED: Initially I was a biology major on the pre-med track, but I wasn’t inspired by what I was learning or by what my future looked like. I knew I was interested in medical settings but I wasn’t really sure where I belonged in that environment. After consulting with different professors and people in my life I recognized that I could work in and study the medical field with psychology. I decided to take and introductory course and I immediately knew that I wanted to be involved with psychology for the rest of my life. Psychology sparked inspiration in me, so I decided to declare it as my major and I haven’t regretted it. I still have a biology minor.
UofSHealthPsych: What activities are you involved with on campus, besides research?
ED: I am the future President (current Vice President) of S.A.F.E Space, which is a club focused on equality, charity, advocacy, and education particularly in the LGBTQ+ community. I am also the future Secretary of the Psychology Club here on campus. Other than that I am a teaching assistant for Abnormal Psychology and I am a part of the Honors Program.
UofSHealthPsych: How did you decide to join the Clinical Health Psychology Research Team?
ED: I took Abnormal Psychology as a first semester sophomore, which at the time was taught by Dr. Arigo. One day I went to her office and we began to discuss the work that her lab did and how my interests aligned with the field of Clinical Health Psychology. For the rest of that semester I sat in on lab meetings to learn as much as I could about the lab. Eventually I made the decision to join because I was particularly interested in the upcoming research that was being done by a senior and really wanted to be a part of it.
UofSHealthPsych: Can you tell us a little bit more about your individual research interests and the projects you’ve worked on?
ED: I am interested in chronic pain and how physicians’, family members’, and friends’ perceptions of the pain affect the person suffering from pain, psychologically and physiologically. I am also currently working on a few different studies involving fitspiration, physical activity, and social comparison.
UofSHealthPsych: What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from doing research with the team?
ED: I think the most valuable lesson I learned was to enjoy the process of doing research. When I first started I was really fixated on final results and implications of the research I was doing and I didn’t value the journey. Throughout the year I would talk to other lab members, especially Kristen Pasko, and through talking to them (as well as to Dr. Arigo) I have learned how important the learning process is.
UofSHealthPsych: What is your favorite memory of working with this research team?
ED: My favorite memory of working in the lab is when I was able to present at Student Scholar Day with all of the other members. It was a really amazing experience and I learned a lot about what it’s like to present a poster at a conference. Also everyone in the lab was really supportive and encouraging so I also really enjoyed that.
UofSHealthPsych: What have you enjoyed most about working on a research team?
ED: I have enjoyed working on the fitspiration studies the most for many reasons. Initially I wasn’t sure I would be able to help, but I had so many opportunities to be involved with the fitspiration studies in particular. Not only was I able to learn all about the research methodology, but also I developed an interest in social media and physical activity which I did not initially having coming into the lab. I really enjoyed the opportunity to learn and expand my interests.
UofSHealthPsych: Was your experience with the research lab what you thought it would be?
ED: My experience in lab was different than I thought it would be, but in the best way. I think coming into the lab I was really concerned that I would unable to help anyone because I had no prior experience. Now I realize that I had a misconception of how a lab actually runs. The lab really focuses on helping everyone out so I always had something to do and the members were always willing to guide me if I was ever confused. Overall I learned much more than I expected to.
UofSHealthPsych: Is there any advice you would give an underclassmen interested in psychology research?
ED: I would advise underclassmen to communicate with any professor they are interested in working with. I was initially too intimidated to speak up, but when I finally did I got an amazing opportunity. Most professors are willing to help you as long as you show them that you are motivated, interested, and hardworking.