My name is Emily Carrino and I am graduating in May of 2017 with majors in psychology and women’s and gender studies. My research interests predominantly focus on the bidirectional relationship between interpersonal relationships and psychopathology, including treatment and program development, dissemination, and evaluation research. I am dually interested in the intersections between the fields of psychology and women’s and gender studies, and increasing accessibility and tailoring interventions to accommodate individuals and families from a variety of cultural, socioeconomic, and interpersonal backgrounds. I plan to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology with a research focus in interpersonal relationships and/or women and girls’ mental health after completing post-bacc research upon graduation. The experiences I have had at UNC in Dr. Don Baucom’s Couples Lab and through the Karen M. Gil Internship at innovation Research and Training (iRT) have given me the unique opportunities to develop my research skills and build my enthusiasm for continuing multifaceted and meaningful work within the clinical psychology field.
As a Gil Intern at innovation Research and Training (iRT), a behavioral science research company in Durham, NC, I contribute to various research projects that focus on one area that iRT has expertise in: mentoring children of incarcerated parents. The project is called the Positive Outcomes in Mentoring (POM) Project and it is a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the impact of enhanced mentoring program practices on children who have an incarcerated parent. I have assisted in conducting implementation interviews with staff at 20 participating sites, coordinating survey data collection from mentors, mentees, and families, and developing a qualitative codebook and coding interview data from 80 site interviews.
Additionally, I have had the unique opportunity to collaborate with Dr. Janis Kupersmidt and Dr. Katie Stump to prepare a manuscript that investigates the heterogeneity of the children of incarcerated parents (COIP) population and its effects on attachments in their lives. I created a literature review of contextual factors surrounding incarceration and their impact on child outcomes, interpreted initial statistical tests with iRT staff to determine the direction of paper, and contributed to writing the final product. This experience has allowed me to be an active part of producing a manuscript to be published in a scientific journal, a skill that I am grateful to have built upon through the Gil internship. I have also been able to witness the multidisciplinary collaboration between iRT staff – consisting of basic and applied scientific researchers, practitioners, program administrators, policy makers, etc., which has broadened my understanding of the scope of research possibilities.
These experiences have expanded my research and interpersonal skills, and increased my confidence in professional settings. I feel more prepared for a career in research because of my professional growth throughout the course of this internship. I am very grateful for Dr. Buzinski’s efforts towards making the opportunities I have had through the Gil internship possible.