CIRP REU Training Testimonial - Vivianna Plancarte

CHOP Mentor(s):

Rachel K. Myers, PhD
To help families effectively receive information to guide their teens through the learning-to-drive process, I created the Best Practice Guide: Dissemination of Research Findings to Families of Autistic Teen Drivers.
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Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Student (Summer 2019)

 “I am a rising junior and Psychology major at Pomona College. My summer at the Center for Injury Research and Prevention (CIRP) as a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) student offered me tremendous professional growth. I worked under the mentorship of Dr. Rachel K. Myers on the Autism ETA (Evaluating Transportation Among Adolescents) Study led by Principal Investigator Dr. Allison E. Curry. Our team’s research goal is to inform the development of interventions to help families decide whether their autistic adolescent will learn to drive. Currently, the team is investigating healthcare providers’ perspectives and experiences with helping families of autistic adolescents who are interested in driving.

At team meetings I learned a lot about the IRB process, the science behind interviewing, data linkage, and how to use existing data to conduct research. To help families effectively receive information to guide their teens through the learning-to-drive process, I created the Best Practice Guide: Dissemination of Research Findings to Families of Autistic Teen Drivers. While developing this guide, I learned about the many barriers to effective dissemination in the autistic community and ways we can overcome them.

Beyond creating the Best Practice Guide, this internship offered me the opportunity to connect with various well-established healthcare professionals and researchers. I shadowed Dr. Joanna C.M. Cole, a clinical psychologist and manager of psychosocial services with the Center for Fetal Diagnosis and Treatment at CHOP who cares for families diagnosed with a birth defect. Shadowing her, as well as speaking with Clinical Neuropsychologist Dr. Jason Tanenbaum, reaffirmed my interest in applying to a Clinical Psychology PhD program. CIRP Associate Fellow Dr. Leah Brogan also helped confirm my decision to gain work experience before applying to graduate programs.

REU panels and roundtable discussions also allowed me to connect with various graduate students. These experiences were invaluable as they provided me with tips for finding a graduate school that is the 'right fit' for me. They also mentioned ways networking could enhance my odds of being accepted to a graduate program. The advice they provided strengthened my confidence in successfully applying.”