Study Updates and Transitions

With graduation just around the corner, most research labs are gearing up for a busy summer. Ours on the other hand, will be undergoing major transitions. Unfortunately, with graduation nearing, my time in the lab is becoming more and more limited. In addition to wrapping up this research study I am in the process of moving to Rochester NY to begin a PhD program in developmental psychology. With me leaving the lab, we must not only focus on wrapping up our research, but also on ensuring a smooth transition to the incoming graduate student who fill my space.

This spring our focus has been on increasing our numbers of criminal justice system involved participants and I am glad to say we have been successful. At the start of this semester we had six participants and are now at 26. Over the next couple of weeks we hope to completely finish recruitment and end with 30 participants total in the criminal justice system. This will be one of my last tasks here in Williamsburg. Our participants this spring were from a local jail near the Williamsburg area. This particular jail has been a great partner and has made study recruitment and participation a minimal hassle. Unlike recruitment at other jails, inmates were eager to sign up and help out, furthermore, the staff were extremely friendly and always willing to help out whether it was by escorting me to the mental health offices, finding me an available interview room, or calling participants so that there was very little wait time in between interviews.

Although our criminal justice system sample is shaping up nicely, our community sample is still struggling. This will be the main responsibility of the new graduate research assistant and the honor’s undergraduate research assistant. This summer we will begin reaching out to local community colleges, local shops, and trade schools in hopes of recruiting individuals between the ages of 18 and 25 who are not enrolled in a 4-year degree program. Our main challenge recruiting this sample, is that Williamsburg is made up of college students and tourists. By reaching out to other areas including Hampton Roads and Richmond we hope that we can overcome these challenges and have a third comparison group.

To help transition to the new graduate student we hope that by mid-summer we can have a steady recruiting source for the community sample. This will enable the new graduate student to focus on learning the study protocol rather than jumping in trying to recruit individuals from areas she has yet to learn. Luckily, we have just recently brought in three new undergraduate research assistants for the summer and we will have two veteran undergraduate research assistants around this summer. With five undergraduate research assistants around to assist the new graduate student, hopefully it will be a seamless transition.