Psychology Department Internships

Internships completed through the Psychology Department are opportunities to integrate and develop both academic understanding and practical knowledge. This integration is accomplished by students working directly with populations in the community. Academic content and work performance are equally considered in determining the value of the experience and the grade assigned. The academic portion of the internship varies per faculty supervisor and by the number of credit hours, but generally includes a term paper, a brief reflection on the internship experience, a description of the student’s typical work day, and products or reports generated during the internship.

Psychology majors and minors can count up to 6 credit hours of internship (PS 391) toward filling a 300-level elective requirement. Please contact Dr. Joel Martin if you have any questions about internships.

Some examples of places students have recently interned are:

  • BehaviorCorp (multi-service behavioral health counseling service)
  • Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
  • Indianapolis Zoo
  • Methodist Hospital Substance Abuse Services
  • Julian Center (domestic violence shelter)
  • Planned Parenthood of Indiana
  • Park Tudor Middle School
  • Riley Hospital for Children
  • Joy’s House (day program for older adults with neurocognitive disabilities)
  • Methodist Sports Medicine Center
  • St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

Occasionally, students compete for internship experiences across the country and globe.

Psychology major, Neuroscience minor

During in a six-week summer 2015 internship, I studied Alzheimer’s disease medications at a pharmaceutical company, Eisai China Inc., in Shanghai, China.

I worked in Eisai’s department that develops medications used for various disorders related to the nervous system. Because of my previous research experience with Alzheimer’s disease patients, I mainly worked with Aricept, their Alzheimer’s disease medication. I read research pamphlets and papers comparing various aspects of medication treatment plans, in order to make a presentation that the marketing team could use. Additionally, I helped coordinate aspects of conferences sponsored by Eisai. I attended a live web seminar series and shadowed Chinese traditional medicine and acupuncture physicians at a hospital and clinic. Integrating into a work environment where English is not the first language was intimidating at first, but paid off in the end because I got to learn about Chinese culture firsthand and broaden my knowledge of medicine and neuroscience.

Psychology major, Neuroscience minor

I was chosen as one of 11 William C. Dement Fellows who conducted sleep research under Dr. Mary Carskadon at Brown University in Rhode Island during summer 2015.

In a six-week intensive training program, we learned about sleep and its anatomical, physiological, and psychological characteristics. We were trained in how to apply scalp and face electrodes, analyze polysomnographic data, and follow a timely, detailed protocol. Research participants ages 12–15 followed an eight-hour sleeping schedule that was shifted an hour later every 24 hours, to see if this would alter their food choices. I regularly interacted with the participants early in the morning. While the protocol was intense, there was also time to enjoy games and movies with the kids. I’m now a skilled player of Settlers of Catan. This internship prepared me with the necessary skills for electrode application and participant-researcher interactions. I am able to analyze sleep data, which is relevant to my aspirations to become a sleep researcher.

Psychology and Philosophy double major

I worked as a research assistant in Dr. Dan Gilbert’s Social Psychology lab at Harvard University in summer 2015, studying how individuals communicate ideas.

Living in Cambridge was an incredible experience, and working in Dan’s lab was something that I will never forget. I worked with my graduate mentor Kyle Dillon on a project studying the various factors that actively influence the way that individuals communicate ideas to one another. For this project, it was my responsibility to develop online surveys, analyze data, and help come up with ideas for the next step in our research. I benefited immensely from my experiences working in Dan’s lab, and found new motivation towards my aspiration of pursuing a Doctorate in Social Psychology. Fortunately, my graduate mentor has extended me the opportunity to return to Boston in summer 2016 and continue working on this project. I can’t wait to see what lies ahead!

Psychology and Spanish double major, Neuroscience minor

I spent summer 2014 in the Developmental Brain Lab at the University of Nebraska—Lincoln at the Center for Brain, Behavior, and Biology under the supervision of Dr. Dennis Molfese.

The internship started with a 40-hour workshop on the history, theory, and methodological issues surrounding the use of event-related potentials (ERPs) to study neurocognitive functions. In addition to lectures, I received hands-on training in the application, assembly, and troubleshooting of the equipment. Later, I used these skills to conduct ERP testing on collegiate athletes, gathering baseline data for a study of concussions. I had my own project that examined the effects of simulated microgravity on speech perception. I conducted a literature review, interpreted ERP data using principal components analysis/ANOVAs, and prepared a professional conference poster that I presented at the Aerospace Medical Association conference in Orlando, Florida, the following May.

Psychology major, Spanish and Neuroscience minors

Elizabeth Davis worked with pediatric cancer survivors during her internship in the Psychology Department of at St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.

St. Jude specializes in research and treatment of the most severe childhood diseases—mainly cancer, but also HIV and sickle cell anemia. I worked with kids with craniopharyngioma, a type of brain tumor. Pediatric cancer survivors, especially brain tumor survivors, experience cognitive late effects that really make their lives hard. My research looked at craniopharyngioma patients after their diagnosis to see if they had any cognitive impairments, as well as the results of their sleep studies to characterize their sleep hygiene and habits. I got a chance to work with functional neuroimaging data and perform a ton of analyses to look at the patterns of neural activation during tasks of attention. It was awesome to combine three areas of psychology and work with neurooncology, the specialty I want to go into as a physician.