ADHD and Development Lab
June 10, 2015
This past week marked the first week of my research fellowship at the Iowa ADHD and Development Lab within the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences at the University of Iowa directed by my site mentor, Dr. Molly Nikolas. The current project the Lab is undertaking, of which I am involved, intends to identify a more reliable diagnostic assessment of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in adults, while at the same time better understand how adults with ADHD perform on cognitive tasks in comparison to adults with depression and adults with no history of a psychiatric disorder.
Specifically, I will be involved in the administration of the experimental protocol, which consists of a series of neurocognitive tests, behavioral rating scales, and mood and personality questionnaires. Following testing with each subject, I will be in charge of scoring the tests and questionnaires and entering the data. I may also get the opportunity to code the data and run analyses. Aside from the research, I will meet weekly with Dr. Nikolas and discuss the science of ADHD and discuss career options beyond Cornell. In addition, I will get the opportunity to meet with other professors who focus on neuropsychology and shadow their work within the University Hospitals and Clinics.
My first week in the lab so far has consisted of training on the protocol, practicing the protocol with other lab members, reading articles, and filling out paperwork and making sure I have everything I will need for the summer. Considering the extent of the testing battery, as well as my lack of experience administering neuropsychological tests, there was plenty about the protocol I could practice. I’ve spent multiple times this past week reading and practicing the protocol with my fellow lab members. Though this week was mostly spent going over the protocol, my first lab visit is this week, where I will begin administering tests and collecting data.
Over these past few weeks, though, I have mostly been involved in orientation, training, and paperwork related to my appointment within the Lab. I have gotten to know Dr. Nikolas and my fellow lab partners on a more personal level. Over Memorial Day, several of us spent time at Lake MacBride in Solon, IA, where we sat on the beach and got to know one another (or rather they got to know me). It was a very fun time.
My lab partners, most of whom are graduate students in clinical psychology, recent graduates of the University of Iowa, or post-baccalaureate fellows, seem to come from all sorts of backgrounds with all sorts of interests and plans for the future. Many have backgrounds in biology, chemistry, genetics, and sociology among other disciplines aside from psychology. Many seek to continue onto graduate programs to become physician assistants, genetic counselors, clinical psychologists, counseling psychologists, and school psychologists, if they have not already been accepted into those programs and working toward their goals.
Over the next three months, I will be given the opportunity to learn from and bounce ideas of off Dr. Nikolas and other research assistants with the Iowa ADHD Lab, while contributing as much as I am able to the project. My Fellowship within the Lab will serve to provide a context of learning, exploration, and professional and academic development, and should prove to be highly beneficial experience in my preparation for graduate school and future research in psychology.
Andrew is a Psychology and Philosophy major from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.