I just found out that I got into the Society for Personality and Social Psychology’s (SPSP) summer program for graduate students, the Summer Institute in Social Psychology (SISP). SISP will kindly be hosted by Princeton this year, so it looks like I will be escaping the dreadful Texas heat for a little Northeast this summer.
Upon receipt of my acceptance letter, I was completely elated. It is so wonderful to be able to look forward to a two-week long intensive training, research, and collaboration time with fellow graduate students. I am hoping that this meeting will build bridges for lifelong collaborations of interesting research projects.
In reflecting on how overwhelmingly excited I got upon receiving my letter, I thought to myself, “I ought to bring this same type of excitement to my students in my own classes.” And so I have come up with a new idea. In my introductory stats lab, I am going to form various research groups. Those research groups will then come up with their own research questions, I will help them find measures for it, then we will collect data! Then, I’ll take it a step further and say that they all have to start forming research collaborations – finding out how to complement what they research with something another group does and then come up with a NEW research question. This way, learning becomes interactive and fun while giving them a taste of the scientific community.
Oftentimes, I think students believe that we, as scientists, sit up in our labs and do all of our work on our own. However, one of my favorite things about my field is that it is highly collaborative. I constantly work in teams and brainstorm ideas and refine theory, writing, research design, analyses, etc. with other colleagues. I want my students to jump in on this excitement too. I will keep you posted on how it turns out. Let’s hope they get as excited about it as I am!