Meet @RowanCHASELab: Interview with Research Assistant Emily Vendetta

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Emily Vendetta is a senior Psychology major at Rowan University. She was interviewed by Laura Travers, a first-year Ph.D. student in Clinical Psychology.

@RowanChaseLab: Let’s start off with the basics! Would you mind telling us about your undergraduate experience and how you were introduced to psychology research?

EV: I have known throughout most of my undergraduate experience that I wanted to get a degree in psychology. But it wasn’t until the past two years that I was very dedicated in continuing my career and getting my masters in school psychology. Knowing I wanted to go into a masters program, I wanted to get the most experience and knowledge out of my undergrad that I could to help prepare me. That’s when I looked into joining a research lab. I thought, “what better way to expand my knowledge than getting a first hand look at how research is performed?” 

@RowanChaseLab: Continuing with that theme, since this is the first time you have worked in a research lab, what are some valuable skills you’ve learned? 

EV: There are so many valuable skills that I will carry with me throughout my career. Time management is an important one. Not only scheduling your time dedicated to the lab but also being able to manage more time-sensitive research tasks. Another one is being flexible and understanding that things change in the lab and being able to take direction well. I have definitely improved on my literature searches and getting the most out of literature databases. 

@RowanChaseLab: Since you are also interested in school psychology, how does this experience relate to your specific research interests? How have they changed since then?

EV: Health psychology, (CHASE lab’s main interest) can be used in so many aspects of our lives. Taking the information I’m learning about how we can help change behaviors and lifestyles can be applied to all ages. I hope to help children start healthy habits young and make good choices from a young age. This will help set the path to a healthier lifestyle as they grow up. I can also focus on their parents and help guide a healthier lifestyle for the whole family. 

@RowanChaseLab: What initially got you excited about working in the CHASE lab as a research assistant?

EV: I was thinking about joining a research lab when I came to Rowan and I remember getting an email from the psychology department about the CHASE lab taking applications. I knew it didn’t directly focus on what my specific research interests were, but I knew no matter what, I would learn valuable skills that can translate to any career. I was excited to have this opportunity to work with such intelligent women and learn from them. I was very eager to just help out in whatever way I could. 

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

EV I would say to definitely take the risk and apply to a lab even if you think you might not get it. It doesn’t hurt to try and you never know the people you will meet who are willing to help you. Also, make sure you are available and flexible. The professors and students running the research are counting on you and trusting in you. Believe me, you are very important to them and they value your work and time. 

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

EVI am excited that I have the opportunity to take over one of our projects, #Fitspiration. I will be the one responsible for making sure this is running smoothly and keeping up with data management. I feel very honored to have this experience. I also can’t wait to see how we will keep expanding our studies and learning from the data collection. 

Emily presenting our pilot data for the #fitspiration study at Rowan Psychology Research Day (April 2019)

@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? 

EVI plan to enroll in the School Psychology masters program here at Rowan University and become a school psychologist. My time with the CHASE lab has helped me to improve my knowledge and understanding in research which is definitely something I will be using in my masters program. I can use this information to help me understand new research within my field. 

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