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Hi, my name is Connor Linden, and I am a senior from Gastonia, NC with a double major in Psychology and Communication Studies, with a concentration in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication, and a minor in History.  During my time at Carolina, I have always been interested in Social Psychology, because of how applicable it is to business.  More recently, my interests in the relationship between psychology and the workplace have led me to develop an interest in Industrial and Organizational (IO) Psychology.  Within IO Psychology, I am interested in understanding the various factors that influence productivity, both at the personal and organizational level.  Additionally, I am interested in identifying training and development needs to increase employee satisfaction within an organization.  While many of the psychology courses that I have taken at Carolina have provided me with a theoretical foundation for understanding the field of psychology, becoming a member of this semester’s Gil Internship cohort has provided me an opportunity to gain real world experience in a work setting.

I chose to serve as an intern at Innovation Research & Training (iRT), which is a behavioral sciences research company that both works on projects and provides training, technical assistance, and products designed to protect and improve both the welfare and health of youth, families, organizations, and communities.  The project that I have focused my attention on, the Positive Outcomes in Mentoring (POM) Study, is a five yearlong study that looks at the effects of enhanced mentoring practices for children of incarcerated parents.  During my time as an intern, iRT has been at the data collection stage, where follow-up data is being collected and cleaned in order to be analyzed.  The majority of the work that I am doing centers around this, where I am cleaning and organizing data, coding data, and reaching out to participants and other researchers to collect follow up data.

Thus far, I have completed three larger projects that make significant contributions to the POM Study.  The first project required me to identify the various strategies that mentoring sites used to collect follow up responses from participants, and from this identify major themes that emerged.  This allows for iRT to be able to recognize what strategies work and do not work, as well as what strategies should be implemented across all mentoring sites.  The second of the larger projects consisted of me consolidating the data received from each site into a simplified spreadsheet, which would allow for researchers to identify if sites are missing data or entered the data incorrectly.  These spreadsheets were sent to each site for them to either correct or confirm that that data iRT has is accurate.  The third project required me to go through some of the actual surveys that were received to make sure that the data was correctly coded, and to identify any discrepancies.  This was needed to ensure that iRT is working with correct data when tests are run to correctly understand what is happening.

I am extremely thankful and fortunate for the opportunity that the Gil Internship has given me, as it allowed for me to go beyond the classroom and experience what work in social psychology can look like in a business setting.  Aside from providing me with this amazing opportunity, the Gil Internship has also helped me to further develop my professional skills, which I believe will help me as I am applying to IO graduate programs this fall.

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