Apprenticeship within a supportive community.
Training Philosophy: I encourage my trainees to be active members of my research team. Senior trainees help supervise junior trainees, allowing senior trainees to gain mentoring skills and enrich the training environment in the lab. When I train research assistants to work on my research projects, I make sure students engage in multiple phases of the research process, working on more sophisticated tasks as they gain experience with the projects. This helps them develop a more holistic appreciation for the scientific process. In addition, I ask my research assistants to attend a weekly journal club where we work through recent empirical papers, discussing strengths and limitations as we work through methods and results. Once data have been collected and analyzed, I walk research assistants through the analyses I completed. Students are also encouraged to attend department talks and to attend other lab’s journal clubs – facilitating collaboration, information exchange, and the generation of new ideas. Experimental work always contains some element of unpredictability (especially work with young children), and students involved in these projects will be encouraged to offer their input (an essential aspect of my training philosophy), so I foresee my team making adjustments to our plans where needed. Indeed, research assistants play an integral part in my research program – two have made contributions that have warranted authorship on manuscripts. In addition to involving research assistants in my research program, I also encourage them to apply for their own funding. While a postdoctoral fellow at Boston University, three of the research assistants who worked with me obtained funding through the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP).