Margaux Kanamori ’23.5

McLean Hospital, Division of Alcohol, Drugs, and Addiction, Belmont, MA

This summer, I worked as a student research assistant at McLean Hospital, in the Division of Alcohol, Drugs, and Addiction. This was a great experience and I would encourage anyone else interested in Clinical Psychology to contact researchers at McLean to ask about summer opportunities! I was primarily under the supervision of Dawn Sugarman, Ph.D., who focuses her research on digital interventions for substance use among women. I had some involvement with the labs of Kathryn McHugh, Ph.D., and Dr. Shelly Greenfield as well, who investigate related topics in substance use and women’s mental health.

Writing up the manuscript for an upcoming publication on mental health among AAPI women!

One of my main projects was to collaborate on a literature review of substance abuse among Asian American and Pacific Islander women. The research assistant and I chose to focus on this subject because we were both interested in and passionate about mental health in the AAPI population. It was wonderful to be given the agency to make such decisions about lab publications, while also frequently receiving guidance from Dr. Sugarman throughout the process. In prior research experiences, I had only focused on data collection and scheduling participants, so seeing a literature review through from the beginning to (almost!) the end was an important new skill for me to learn. I also assisted with qualitative coding, data analysis, and manuscript writing for a study of a digital substance use intervention designed for women enrolled in inpatient treatment. Finally, I designed a poster on substance use increases among young women during the pandemic. These tasks were challenging at times, especially with the lack of contact with participants; however, it was worth it to get experience with these other aspects of research, and I know that the work I contributed to will have positive impacts, even if I do not see it directly.

This internship has advanced my understanding of psychology and allowed me to gain new research skills that will be helpful as I pursue a career in the field. Interning at an academic teaching hospital was a unique opportunity in itself; in addition to advancing my research projects, I was able to attend a student seminar series on current topics in psychiatry and make connections with various researchers. My supervisor and co-workers made me feel consistently valued and rewarded for my work throughout the summer, and I am so grateful for their mentorship. It was valuable to be in a very small lab, because I was able to take on various projects and have a lot of one-on-one guidance from my supervisor throughout each week. Being at McLean has reinforced my interest in research in women’s mental health and my choice of psychology as a major, and it has made me excited for what else is to come. As I finish my internship this summer, I am leaving with a better sense of what careers in psychology and psychiatry can look like, and I look forward to learning more about clinical work as well. Thank you to the ’68 Center for Career Exploration for making this amazing internship possible for me!