Steve joined the Youth Development lab in Spring of 2016 as a junior undergraduate student, anxious for research experience. During his time in our lab, he presented his research at UAB’s Ost Undergraduate Research and submitted projects for consideration at national conferences. Steve graduated from UAB in December 2016 and plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, focusing on issues of substance use in adolescents.
“I first met Meredith during my inaugural meeting with Dr. Sylvie Mrug’s research lab. I remember being terrified by the prospect of meeting fellow students and graduates who had devoted much of their academic careers to the development and understanding of psychology. Upon entering the room, I was greeted by Meredith. She asked my name and welcomed me to the lab. She was agreeable, answered all my questions, and addressed all my concerns immediately. At the end of my first lab meeting, I understood all that was expected of me, and what my responsibilities were as part of the team. In one meeting, Meredith plainly outlined a plan of action that ended with me being trained as a “Parent Interviewer”. During her explanation, she accounted for potential scheduling conflicts, and reassured me that working around my work and school schedules would be easy, as she would make herself available at a moment’s notice.
I immediately knew that I wanted to be a part of Dr. Mrug’s lab. When talking to Meredith, I felt considered and appreciated. As a result, the rest of my training was very accommodating. Soon after my training, I became ambitious and focused my attention on the Ost Undergraduate Research Competition. Until this point, a research competition was something I had not considered. However, Meredith encouraged me to take part in the competition, reassuring me that she would be available to help me with the research and structuring of my topic. This reassurance gave me tremendous confidence. With Meredith’s help, I was able to successfully develop a topic, sift through literature concerning my topic, and accumulate data that supported it. What surprised me is how well Meredith explained even difficult concepts to me, such as the various statistical tests we employed to analyze data.
Upon beginning my research, my biggest fear was statistical software. Meredith was able to explain concepts in a way that made sense to me. She gradually outlined methods of gathering data, amassing it in one location, properly labeling it, and controlling for confounders. Finally, she explained reasons for running various tests and highlighted the appropriate statistical analyses that would aid in proving my hypothesis. While I am not yet an expert in matters of research, I can honestly say that with Meredith’s continued help I will soon be proficient enough to successfully develop my own research independently. Her help has been invaluable in my education, and her mentorship has been tremendously rewarding.”