I’m Nina McPhaul, a rising junior Psychology major from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I chose the NIMBUS lab because it was completely different from the research I am part of at my home institution of Howard University. I knew that this lab would allow me to explore a field that would otherwise be quite inaccessible and difficult to navigate without the aid of mentors. I hope this experience will leave me with a better understanding of what the life of a researcher looks like and if I would like to pursue that, a larger scope of research and career options in my field, and lasting meaningful connections with those around me.
Today I had to take a moment to simply be grateful for the opportunity that I am part of. This morning we came to the lab expecting to sit at our circle table and do our work (the engineering students mainly focusing on ROS tutorials and me doing my CITI training and finding literature), instead we were given the keys to our work room. I’m not sure why that felt so special, maybe it was because it was yet another time Nebraskans were so accommodating or because we finally had a space that was somewhat our own, either way it felt very special.
This week has been full of eustress and stress. Coming into this lab I felt out of place and overlooked. Even though learning how to code and getting through ROS tutorials was interesting, I found myself relying on my peers and the graduate students in the lab which was deeply uncomfortable. However, as the week progressed I found myself getting more comfortable inside the lab and then I was finally given the assignment to work on my R and SPSS skills. Later in the week I met Dr. Duncan and Dr. Sharif and found myself pleasantly excited to begin searching for psychology articles and brainstorming about the articles.