Internship is the Opportunity to Put Your Education to Real Work

(*Filmed in May 2021)

Student Intern Profile

Name:
Naomi Sanyika Moore
Country:
The United States
Major:
Psychological Studies
Internship at:
BMK Digital Cognitive Neuroscience Lab at Hiroshima University & TELL Japan

—Please describe the internship program you participated in.

I started my TELL internship in spring 2020. Tell or the Tokyo English Lifeline is a counseling and mental health support organization that primarily serves the International Community in Tokyo.

I worked as an outreach intern which meant, most of my role involved supporting with social media. Making different post to help educate the International Community about mental health. But I also help with a research project for the clinical director where I was gathering information about the history and the core principles of emotionally focused therapy and that was related to a seminar that he would be working to host later that year.

As for my internship with the Hiroshima University BMK Digital Cognitive Neuroscience Lab, I mostly worked as a data analysis intern. I had two main projects. My first project was related to creating a short form of a translated mental health questionnaire, and so for that I was doing the Lead Statistical Analyses.

For the second project, I had more of a supporting role and that was related to building a quantitative model of an emotional state that was based on data gathered from Japanese internet questionnaires.

—What challenges did you face?

For my TELL internship, the major challenge that I dealt with first was having to really pull into my own initiative to show up for the position and be ready to suggest my own ideas for what kind of work I could do, or just managing my own schedule when I was in the actual office, as well as what work I was going to do when I was doing my remote work.For my TELL internship, the first part was in person and in the second part was online, since that occurred during our transition into online and remote work. I had definitely different challenges working remotely. Suddenly no one is telling you what to do each hour. You have to do more to understand what can I put into this that I am not explicitly being asked to do. And so that was most of the challenge, understanding the initiative in my own passion for the work.

For my second internship when I was working with the BMK Lab, I was really thrust into a professional lab research environment. And everyone was looking at me, like I was fully confident with what I was doing and was ready to come and present about my work during each meeting. And I was like, oh my gosh, I’ve honestly never done this before, this is kind of intimidating. So it took a lot of effort to really find my sense of self-confidence and my sense of self-efficacy and trust. And what I had learned at TUJ in my research and my statistics courses to understand that I was ready to do that work and be in that environment.

But as soon as I was able to understand “I know what I’m doing!” You know? when I don’t know, I can learn, and I can ask questions. And that’s my role here as an intern. It was much easier for me to find flow in both my own projects and feel comfortable leading that as well as meaningfully supporting the other research work that I was asked to help with.

-What did you enjoy the most?

For my tell internship, my favorite part was getting to be involved in the clinical staff meetings, as well as getting to assist with the research project for the clinical director.

I really want to work as a psychologist when I start my career. So it was really wonderful to have this opportunity to be in a room of other clinical staff, to understand what does it look like to be working collaboratively with other therapist and other psychologist.That really gave me some key insight and to what it will look like for me when I start my job in the future. That was really helpful and something I wouldn’t have otherwise had the opportunity to see.

It also was really inspiring because it made me realize like wow I actually have quite a bit of knowledge for my own education and the work that I do even outside of school. So it really made me feel more comfortable about what kind of education and career I was pursuing.

For the BMK Lab internship, I was able to have an opportunity to present at the Society for Affective Science 2021 virtual conference. That conference was ultimately of affective neuroscience, and it was amazing to be around other academics, educator, and professionals, and learn more about mental health and psychology from specific Neuroscience standpoint.

I’m really interested in affective Neuroscience as well, but I don’t have the opportunity as many classes on that at TUJ. So this is a really cool opportunity for me to see what this research looks like in real life.
And it also allowed me to make some connections with people at other universities. So I can have a better understanding of what I might like to do in a Ph.D. program, or what more opportunities or folks I could connect with to continue my research in the future.

-Any advice to future students?

If I were to encourage other students to enjoy an internship or experience an internship settings, I would say, the best thing you can get out of it is really getting opportunity to put your education to real use outside of the classroom. It allows you to enter professional settings, but also practice those skills hands-on. Do you actually like when you need to put these skills to use. You can really find that out more deeply when you’re working in a professional setting. And as well, I did both a credit internship when I was working with TELL and a non-credit internship when I was working with the BMK Lab.

So the BMK lab internship was really an extra where I just wanted to get more experience in a new setting. The reason why I did that was again because I wanted to know what it was like to do a research. It was something that made me nervous. I felt intimidated by psychological research the most, within my major. So it’s really important opportunity for me to really see what does it look like when I challenge my self to intern environment, to learn more and also to build up my preparation for further schooling that I can do.

Internships really play a huge role I think in bolstering your application.If you do want to do more school afterwards but also when you’re entering the workplace you can show you already have actual practical experience and build really important connections while doing it.So I’d say there are absolutely phenomenal and invaluable experience to have.

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