Jingyi Sun

CAS ’24

  • Title CAS ’24

Major and Minor: Psychology / Advertising

Area of Research: Psycholinguistic

Mentor: Catherine Caldwell-Harris

How did you get involved in research?

I had been interested in research since high school and volunteered at a developmental psychology lab. Therefore, I looked up BU’s psychology department’s website when I came to BU as a psychology major. I found Professor Caldwell-Harris’ area of research really interesting. As an international student, I am really curious about foreign language acquisition and cross-cultural psychology. My background in different cultures allows me to gain new insights on the cross-cultural and bilingualism study.

How did you meet your mentor?

I first came into contact with two lab managers and learned about experiment procedures with them. Then I met with Professor Caldwell-Harris and further learned about the central concepts and deep logic of our research. After one year of volunteering as an intern, I mainly worked on one project and helped another project with other interns at the psycholinguistic lab during my second year in the lab. Professor Calldwell-Harris mentored me about study logistics and ways to conduct research by discussing our experiences and expectations throughout the semester.

What has your UROP experience taught you?

My UROP experience taught me what research in the real world looks like. I wrote research proposals, studied data analysis tools, and communicated with professors as well as students from different areas. It allowed me to understand there are many things that we need to learn to conduct successful research which is beyond the academic materials. As we need to talk to participants and student researchers, communication and organization skills are also very important.

How has this experience helped you with non-research related things at BU?

I met great people who are also interested in my research area and they became my friends in daily life. Moreover, as I am majoring in psychology, research is a big part of my life and a career choice. It helped me know more about what my future career would look like.

What does a day in your research life look like?

I usually organize my lab computer and check whether the files had been correctly recorded. If I have a participant coming in, I would review the scripts and prepare the software before the participants arrive. Moreover, we would get ready to speak in a specific language since we aim to build a language environment when we conduct research related to language acquisition or bilingualism. If we did not schedule to run participants, I would write notes and analyze data. I also communicate with other interns in the group chat to give updates and schedule meetings with the team.

What advice would you give to someone interested in UROP?

Do not hesitate to get involved if you are interested. I met great and intelligent peers and mentors here. If research is something that you want for your future career, you should definitely join UROP. However, you should also get involved if you are still unsure and curious about the research world. You would only know if this is what you want when you try it. It also helped with teaching you to solve real-world issues that are more than academic research. Although there are many challenges to conducting research as an undergraduate, three are useful resources at UROP that would help you. UROP allows me to conduct real-world research in my major. I studied interesting topics like whether different learning environments affect foreign language learners’ levels of emotion and whether foreign language effects vary depending on logographic similarities between native and second language. Through meeting participants from different cultural and language backgrounds, I gained more insight into cross-cultural psychology which is very beneficial for my current and future research.

Jingyi Sun

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