Sewanee and Yale Collaborations

Summer 2015 News from New Haven

We are delighted that some of the 21 Sewanee students involved in research internships at Yale this summer have written in to share a bit about what they have been doing, including some photos.

A little over a week into her internship, Mary Graham Harvey wrote on June 9th:

“Hello. I just wanted to write and let you know that I am absolutely loving New Haven and the work I am doing here this summer through the Yale-Child Study Program and Sewanee. I am working in the Zigler Center with Dr. Walter Gilliam (who came and spoke to our Psychology 230 class this past spring) on Early Childhood Education Policies. I am learning so much and I really love the people I am working with as well.”

And on June 12, about two weeks into her internship, Yubi Ventura wrote:

“These past two weeks I have been doing a little bit of everything! I have been helping out in 3 different studies through recruitment, distributing surveys to high schools and collecting data, coding, sitting in on intakes and psychological evaluations.

I am working with my mentor, Dr. Suchitra Krishnan-Sarin, on her current experimental study on e-cigarettes. We will examine different levels of menthol and nicotine and see if they alter reinforcement. I am currently working on behavioral coding (i.e., inter-puff interval and puff duration) from the lab sessions. Participants who are current users of e-cigarettes and or cigarettes come into the lab and go through a series of steps and we record their normal smoking habits. This is the project I will be presenting at the end of July and hopefully present at Scholarship Sewanee 2016!

I have also been working with Dr. Grace Kong on her e-cigarette and or cigarette cessation pilot study. Dr. Kong recruits high school students that are currently smoking cigarettes and/or e-cigarettes and are looking to quit. Once they enroll in the study they receive texts (randomly in the day throughout the week, for 4 weeks) through their smartphone for them to submit a video showing that they are abstaining from smoking. The way they do this is that each participant is provided with a CO monitor and saliva strips and they need to record themselves blowing air into the CO monitor and show the results and their saliva pH. I am so excited and amazed at how technology has advanced so much and is helping science!

I have also been able to sit in on psychological evaluations and intakes…! 

Yubi hopes that in the coming year she will be able to bring the knowledge and skills she gains from this summer experience to continue the work begun in local communities. Among other things, she hopes to contribute to an effort begun last spring that was led by the Grundy County Health Council in partnership with Grundy County High School, Sewanee, and Dr. Krishnan-Sarin’s team at Yale, in which some initial focus groups were conducted at Grundy County High School to begin to explore student perspectives on e-cigarettes and other tobacco products.

Ariyan Cox shared the following on June 25th:

“My time at Yale so far has been nothing short of amazing. I'm currently working on two research projects. One is examining preschool expulsion and the other one analyzing the number one cause of death among adolescents, motor vehicle traffic accidents. While researching preschool expulsion, I had the amazing opportunity to go to Washington, DC with my mentor, Dr. Walter Gilliam. In DC, we attended a congressional briefing detailing the policies in effect in the United States as well as the great strides being made to reduce the number of preschool expulsions. We also were able to socialize with a lobbyist at his house, all the while learning some amazing things from him. While researching the motor vehicle traffic accidents with my mentor Dr. Federico Vaca, I was able to experience some amazing things in the Emergency Medicine Department here at Yale. I was able to participate in some lectures for first year Emergency Medicine residents, learned how to apply two different types of splints—the thumb spica and the sugar tong splint (as seen in the photo)—and soon I will be shadowing Dr. Vaca in the Emergency Room.”

 Summer 2015 Internship Ariyan Cox

Both Mary Graham and Ariyan were able to attend a June 11th congressional hearing on preschool expulsion in Washington D.C. with their mentor, Dr. Walter Gilliam, Director of the Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy at Yale. Dr. Gilliam has done considerable work on the issue of preschool expulsion and he led the panel discussion at the congressional briefing.

Summer 2015 Internship - Ariyan Cox Mary Graham Harvey Walter Gilliam

Of the event, Dr. Gilliam writes:

“We scored them some reserved front row seats. Good thing, because many people ended up standing and several were unable to get in the door because of the audience this drew."

Dr. Gilliam goes on to describe what happened after the congressional hearing:

“Then, we went to a friend's (an early childhood lobbyist with great political ties and tons of Hill experience) house a block away from the Capitol to discuss how policy is "really moved," watch a current vote on his CSPAN and discuss what it all means and how the process is done (they had seen people duck in and out of the briefing to attend votes, and they heard the voting alarms that go off as warnings in the building, but needed to see the vote process to understand what they had seen earlier), and discuss policy initiatives in early childhood and how the legislative process plays into this. VERY insider kind of conversations….It was a bit of a real-world-civics class….

Then we retired to the front porch to continue the conversation and people watch the congressman and staffers as they left the Capitol. My friend would tell the interns who they are and where they are going and why (some of the neighboring spots are known liaison spots for donation transactions, or the DNC, or congressional caucus houses, etc. And then out for dinner before I left them to catch my flight.”

And Matson Conrad and Hudson Robb shared this photo from the International Festival of Arts and Ideas on the New Haven Green, reminding us that there is much to do in New Haven and nearby environs!

Summer 2015 Internship International Festival of Arts and Ideas