Reflections from an Undergraduate Summer Research Intern

Erika Romanelli-Baird completed an Undergraduate Summer Research Internship with the HEAL this summer. In this post, Erika shares her experiences and reflects on the skills she gained throughout her time with the HEAL.

Over the past four months I’ve had the privilege of working as an Undergraduate Summer Research Intern for the HEAL. Through this experience, I have learned many valuable skills that I believe that will not only help me in the completion of my undergraduate degree but in the rest of my academic and professional career to come. During my work on the ASRTS project, my interest in clean transportation and the importance of community planning grew as I learned more about the importance of both of these factors on both physical and mental health. As part of my work, I read and analyzed many academic journals and papers published on these topics to aid in the creation of the survey and travel diary to be used for the project. While doing this, I learned critical literature analysis skills and gained even more of an appreciation for how many steps were involved in each of the studies completed prior and how much time and effort goes into research in general.

Although working from home online was a very different and sometimes challenging experience, I was still able to make strong connections with my coworkers and through the use of video calls and email still gave me as realistic of an office work experience as possible. Primarily working online also helped me to prepare for the upcoming semester which will be held in a similar format. Most of all, the mentorship and guidance that I received throughout my internship has made such a huge impact on me and has helped me streamline my interests and inspire some of my future career aspirations. Working with so many hardworking and passionate individuals has really inspired me to become a better student and pursue more work opportunities in community-based research in the future. I am so thankful for this opportunity and I hope to continue to work and volunteer with the lab in the future!

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