Sophie Haase ’23

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Timko Research Group, Philadelphia, PA

This summer, I interned as a clinical research assistant through the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). I worked with the Timko Research Group, which conducts psychological research to help adolescents struggling with eating disorders, focusing specifically on anorexia nervosa (AN). I primarily helped with the Shifting Perspectives research study, which explored the relationship between cognitive inflexibilities and the development of anorexia nervosa in adolescents. This research was then implemented into the development of new treatment methods and models to improve recovery rates. I had the opportunity to shadow doctors in the hospital, and I visited inpatient adolescents in the CHOP eating disorder unit. I helped with data collection, scoring, and analysis, and I also observed therapy sessions. Each day, different members of the research team delivered presentations to teach us about countless aspects of the research process, including statistical methods, research design, data collection, and more. Additionally, I was extremely fortunate to be able to conduct my own research project, which I am working on turning into a publication to submit to a conference this fall. I examined the impacts of different precipitating factors on the development, course, and recovery rates of anorexia nervosa. I explored questions such as, is an adolescent with an AN onset relating to body image disturbance more or less likely to recover and maintain weight gain than an adolescent whose onset was triggered by a medication change or depression?

Our poster presentation for research results.

Overall, my work with the research group has strengthened my interest in the field of psychology. It has also made me more confident in my research abilities and analytical skills, which will translate to any career field that I may choose to pursue. I worked with so many amazing people in the lab, and I gained exposure to numerous paths that I am considering. I learned about possible degrees in psychology, including the master’s level, PsyD, and Ph.D. Becoming a therapist is something that I have been considering for a few years, and after meeting so many impressive therapists through my lab, I am definitely more excited about this career path. Additionally, my work made me certain that I want to do a senior thesis next year. I hope to have Dr. Timko as one of my advisors, as she has already taught me so much about the research process. I want to focus my thesis on some aspect of psychology (optimally eating disorders). I will continue working with my lab this fall to finish my publication, and then to continue helping with their ongoing research projects. This lab provided me with an incredibly supportive learning environment where I was encouraged to move past my comfort zone. The lab also encouraged independence while supporting me along the way. I am so thankful for this experience, and I have expanded my skills in so many different areas. I feel much more confident in my career search, and I also feel much more comfortable with my ability to adapt to new environments and get along with peers with many different experiences.