Something that’s been a huge part of my year and a half at SMU has been my participation in Faculty led research. It all started the first week of my freshman year. Coming into SMU as a Psychology major, I knew that if I didn’t get some research training under my belt soon, I wouldn’t be as competitive in applying to graduate schools as I wanted to be. So, I met with my Introduction to Psychology Professor during her Office hours and talked to her about research opportunities at SMU. She advised me to go onto the Psychology Department’s website and read up on some of the professors’ research studies in hopes of finding something interesting and to email that professor to see if there was any availability to work in their lab.
Online I found a link to the Anxiety and Depression Research Center at SMU (or ARC), and was immediately interested in the researching going on there. I sent Dr. Alicia Meuret, the head of ARC, an email admitting that the extent of my experience with Psychology was two classes of Intro to Psych, but that I was eager to get involved with research and would be willing to work hard to catch up in my knowledge on the subject. She emailed me back the next day and asked if I wanted credit hours for my work or not.
Since then I’ve been working at ARC, helping on numerous research projects. I’ve interacted with participants in a study on self-harm while acting as a confederate, I’ve been trained to run participants through a rigorous protocol for a study evaluating the physiological mechanisms that might indicate the presence of psychological disorders, and I’ve even finished up my first, first-authorship publication of the Fight-or-Flight response. It’s certainly been difficult along the way, but reaching out at the beginning of my freshman year was one of the best decisions I could have made, and one that I would recommend to anyone interested in any field that does research. As a research university, SMU has countless opportunities for students of all years to get involved. All one has to do is ask!