What skills did you gain that you found to be advantageous from being part of the group?
I learned how to organize the work in a way to be most efficient, and I discovered the value of thinking about the individual responses rather than just looking at the cumulative data. I think it helped me be more patient about how long it takes to discover the answers to your research questions. I also summarized articles related to stress and coping, which was a useful skill for grad school. In retrospect, I believe the focus of the research influenced the direction of my current work.
What have you been doing since you graduated?
I got a doctorate from GSAPP. During grad school I assisted Cary Cherniss in presenting some stress management programs to corporations, and spent some time with Arnold Lazarus. Since then have been creating and presenting workshop programs related to how to live a happier, more serene life. I call it The Path to Happiness.
What are you doing now?
Besides creating and presenting workshop programs related to The Path to Happiness, I also offer individual consultations. I am currently working on creating an interactive on-line learning website so that people can discover what they can do to be happier (changing beliefs and attitudes, positive psychology practices, building coping and communications skills, etc.) at www.pathtohappiness.com.
Do you have any tips for current lab members?
It can feel like repetitive grunt work, so look for what there is to learn in each experience. Observe the subjects you are working with (even if it is students who are completing a survey – I used to keep the results in the order they were turned in so as I scored them I could observe the completeness of the answers of those who worked quickly versus those who took more time). You can be honing your observational skills, to answer some of your questions (and challenge your assumptions) about human behavior. I learned more from my experience running the data gathering than made it into the research results. It also helps if you can develop a friendship with the researcher(s) you are assisting. It makes it more fun, plus they know you better for writing recommendations.