What skills did you gain that you found to be advantageous from being part of the group?
Conducting research of course! By participating in group meetings and being a researcher myself, I got to see first hand the challenges in experimental design, but also many other parts of research: subject recruitment process, following experimental protocols and responding to challenges (human or technical), subject debriefing etc. Also group work and leadership. Administration and management of research groups - both undergraduate and graduate students- is still a big part of what II do now, so that was particularly useful for me later on.
What have you been doing since you graduated?
My main focus was to continue my studies. These included a Masters in Clinical Developmental and Health Psychology in Budapest,from which I graduated in 2005, followed by further clinical practicum, and studies for a doctorate in Cyprus. My Master's thesis was on Gender Development in Early Childhood.
What are you doing now?
Currently I am a Doctoral Candidate at the University of Cyprus in the Ph.D. program for Cognitive, Developmental, and Educational Psychology (expected to graduate in 2010). My dissertation will investigate implicit attitudes that relate to smoking and will examine how these attitudess relate to self-reported and latent/objective emotional reactions measured through psychophysiological reactions to pictorial smoking-related stimuli.
In addition to dissertation work, I work as a Research Associate in the Department of Psychology, where I collaborate on research and applied projects in parallel to work on my dissertation.
My main research interest is in health psychology and health behaviors, and I always retain a strong interest in the social and cognitive components that contribute to such behaviors, particularly attitudes and stereotypes. I collaborate on research on smoking, eating behaviors, anxiety disorders, development and adaptation of psychometric instruments, and experimental psychophysiology. On a more applied level, i do some work in health promotion, like promoting smoke-free public places (unfortunately not yet established nor mandated by law in Cyprus), facilitate some groups for smoking cessation, and also work with sexuality education and promotion of sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Do you have any tips for current lab members?
Work hard. Get as much research experience as you can. In the long run, it will count more than just grades. If you are an undergraduate, plan and conduct your own thesis work, even if it's not a requirement for you to graduate, and if needed, take extra time to finish it, as it will be extremely valuable in the long run. It will help you take your own work further (through conferences, and if it's good in journals), network, get you in the field sooner, and render you much more competitive for grad school!