Hey! My name is August Wei (he/him) and I’m a senior from Charlotte, North Carolina graduating in December 2021 with a degree in psychology. Outside of science, I enjoy playing drums and guitar, browsing around in bookstores, and drinking tea that’s way too hot.
Admittedly, I have taken many twists and turns in my academic path to land on my current aspirations to pursue a doctorate degree in clinical psychology, jumping from computer science to psychology to linguistics to sociology… then back to psychology. If you, like I did, wonder how to go about discerning what you want to study, I hope that by reading along my seemingly disjointed path, you find some solidarity!
My research career began completely remotely at the start of the pandemic in March 2020 in Dr. Kurt Gray’s Deepest Beliefs Lab, where I coded qualitative ethnographic data for quantitative analysis on cross-cultural differences in god representation and co-authored a manuscript published in the Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology with Dr. Josh Jackson. For this project, I independently completed a literature review on sociocultural and economic correlates of depression, revised the introduction and discussion of the paper, and presented its findings in a poster at the Diversifying Clinical Psychology conference in April 2021. During my time in Dr. Gray’s lab, I discovered my love for the various steps of the research process, from idea conception to research dissemination. Additionally, in May 2021, I joined Dr. Sara Algoe’s Emotions in Social Interactions in Relationship lab, where I have explored an entirely different line of research: relationship science. In Dr. Algoe’s lab, I code written expressions of gratitude between couples, run participants in-person for a grant-funded longitudinal study on how freshmen form relationships, and conduct behavioral coding of videos of romantic couples. The experience I acquired working directly with lab members and participants confirmed my desire to go into behavioral research moving forward, specifically emotion regulation in different social and cultural contexts.
I am thrilled and honored to be a part of this semester’s Gil cohort. After taking an Intro to Clinical Psychology course at UNC, I wanted to secure hands-on experience in the domain, learning from clinicians and following their cases. As a member of the evaluation team at Lepage Associates, a psychological practice in Durham, I get to do exactly that! In my work, I support multiple clinicians in their efforts to provide person-centered care for their clients. My tasks include transcribing clinical interviews for custody evaluations, proctoring psychological evaluations like the MMPI-2 and the Rotter Incomplete Sentences Blank (RISB) test, and distilling information for my mentor, Dr. Mina Ratkalkar, on topics relevant to her ongoing cases. One of the literature reviews I conducted that I found particularly interesting was about Unified Protocol, a transdiagnostic intervention that directly targets clients’ propensity to experience negative emotions rather than treating individual disorders.
In a Gil alumni panel, I learned more about the breadth of what I can do with a clinical psychology doctorate: go into court, practice therapy, conduct my own research, and teach – the possibilities are even greater than I imagined. With the help of my Gil mentor and the resources provided through the Gil seminars, I feel equipped to take my research and internship experiences with me into my next chapter in the professional and academic world. A big thank you goes out to Dr. Buzinski and the team at Lepage Associates for giving me this incredibly formative experience!