Meet @RowanCHASELab: Interview with Jennilee Bradley

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Jennilee Bradley is a senior Psychology major with a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies. bradleyinterviewphotoShe was interviewed by Megan Brown, the CHASE Lab research coordinator.

@RowanCHASELab: Let’s start off with the basics! Since this is your last semester at Rowan, tell us about your undergraduate experience and how you were introduced to psychological research.

JB: My undergraduate experience has been a wild ride. I started college in NYC then had to return to NJ suddenly. I took a couple of half-semesters, took some time off, then transferred over to Rowan in Fall 2017. Since then, I’ve been taking classes year round to complete my degree. During my first semester here I was told about research on campus, something I never knew was a thing at any college, and at the end of one class a professor sent out an email looking for research assistants. I didn’t know anything about research, but was accepted to the team! I was very lucky in stumbling upon that chance, and it helped me get my foot in the door to look into other experiences, which is how I ended up with the CHASE lab.

@RowanCHASELab: Continuing with that theme, you mentioned you previously worked in other Rowan research labs. What was that like?

JB: It was pretty interesting! I spent a lot of time video coding and entering data. I didn’t know anything about research, and it was a great way to ease into the subject. I was able to learn a lot about it, figure out what kind of research interests me, and what opportunities I’m interested in within a research lab.

@RowanCHASELab: How does this experience relate to your specific research interests? How have they changed since then?

JB: Honestly, I got into my first lab by pure luck of having a professor who needed RAs, so I wasn’t too focused on what my research interests were. I also knew nothing about research so I had never thought about my interests! I will say, almost anything that relates to psychology interests me, so I would probably be okay with any sort of research and my interests vary widely.

That being said, I am very interested in mental illness and its biological and environmental factors. Chronic illness is also something that interests me, and how it affects different parts of everyday life and relates to mental illness as well. Those are pretty broad, so one of my more specific interests is eating disorders. I think that they are often surrounded by stigma in everyday society, and more research and information needs to be available to the public.

@RowanCHASELab: What initially got you excited to work in the CHASE lab as a research assistant?

JB: I remember receiving an email from the Psychology department mentioning the CHASE lab was looking for RAs and after reading some interests of the lab, I was thrilled to have this on campus, and even the potential opportunity to be a part of it. I am very interested in eating disorders, diet culture, and body image. All of those can tie into the lab in one way or another, so immediately it felt like a great fit for my interests. I would have been thrilled for the experience in general, but the fact that my interests lined up was even better and more rewarding.

@RowanCHASELab: What is some valuable advice you would give to other students at Rowan looking to pursue a research assistant position?

JB: My go-to advice for becoming a research assistant is to talk to your professors! Learn what psychological research is, what your interests are in it, and keep looking out for professors who are looking for RAs. I’ve found opportunities through Psychology department emails, flyers in random hallways on doors, and even just from professors I’ve previously taken classes with. Keep your eyes open, and keep up to date with professors to see if any opportunities open!

@RowanCHASELab: What is something you want to do or are excited to learn about while working in the CHASE lab?

JB: I never had a lab experience like this before, so I’m still learning about what I want to do within the field. I love being able to see how studies work, how surveys are made, how participants are screened, etc. Even the little things excite me about research! Within the CHASE lab, I am so excited about this Instagram study we just recently launched. I can’t wait to see what the data say!

@RowanCHASELab: Lastly, what are your plans for after you graduate, and how will the skills you learned in the CHASE lab help you in your future endeavors?

JB: When anyone asks me what my plans are after school, my answer is always “more school!” I plan on taking some time off, a year or two, to gain experience in the field of research and then apply to Clinical Psychology Ph.D. programs. I’m still not sure exactly what I want to do within the field, but I see myself working with eating disorders in one way or another.

The CHASE lab has helped me learn all about research and helped refine my interests even more. I am able to learn how to work on a research team, all the different aspects that go into research, and how important it is to follow every instruction and pay attention to even the smallest of details. It’s a great introduction into the field of research, and I have the amazing opportunity to work on studies that I’m interested in!