My name is Kathrin Hennigan, and I am a senior from Kitty Hawk, North Carolina majoring in Psychology and minoring in Neuroscience. As a Gil Intern, I am working at the UNC Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders (CEED). UNC CEED provides treatment for eating disorders and conducts research on the genetic and environmental causes of eating disorders along with disorders that occur co-morbidly with eating disorders. Currently, I am performing my own research on eating disorder symptomology in UNC students who do and do not use e-cigarettes under the supervision of research psychologist Dr. Melissa Munn-Chernoff.
I first became interested in treating and researching eating disorders through my work in Dr. Anna Bardone-Cone’s Eating Disorders and Body Image lab. As a research assistant in Dr. Bardone-Cone’s lab, I have had the opportunities to create innovative studies with a research team, recruit participants for studies, and perform data entry and cleaning. These experiences introduced me to the world of research and taught me the importance of conducting thorough, well-designed studies and experiments in order to understand and ultimately treat psychological disorders.
Through the Gil Internship, I have gained invaluable hands-on experience with research. Not only have I been able to perform my own novel study, but I also have learned how to conduct organized literature reviews, run statistics using SPSS, and create codebooks for analyzing data. I have also learned about the processes behind designing studies, seeking IRB approval for research, and publishing academic journal articles. These experiences have allowed me to refine my pre-existing research abilities while simultaneously adding to my repertoire of skills.
Working as a Gil Intern at UNC CEED has been one of the most rewarding and informative experiences that I have had at Carolina. I am extremely thankful for the Gil Internship program for affording me with this unique, instructive opportunity. The abilities and knowledge I have gained at UNC CEED along with the professional skills I have learned from Dr. Buzinski and Molly Corrigan will undoubtedly help me succeed in graduate school and the future.