Summer Experiences from Working in the Bulik Lab

We wanted to tell you more about our summer internship program and thought we would ask the summer interns to write little about their experience. Lauren Metzger from Kenyon College and Anna Jones from Brown both worked with us for 6 weeks this summer. We loved having them her. Here is their description of their time with us:

This summer we have been working as interns or as we’re affectionately known here, VHPs for “very helpful people.” Learning and participating in the program has been great and everyone has been very willing to answer our questions and help us get involved.

Throughout the summer we have been fortunate to be a part of the weekly research team meetings and journal clubs. These meetings gave us the chance to hear about the different projects in the lab and learn about the latest research in eating disorders. In the journal club, we also helped lead a discussion on an article examining the effect of obesity prevention public service advertisements on self-esteem and anxiety.

One of our main projects has been developing the website content for the Dads and Daughters Study (DADS). The website will be designed to provide dads with information about eating disorders and body image issues and help them find ways of talking about these concerns with their daughters. While working on the DADS project we were faced with questions like “What is a healthy ideal?” and we realized that it is much easier to define what isn’t healthy than what is healthy. On other research projects, we got to see the inner workings of the study databases and got an inside look at the Clinical Translational Research Center where many of medical components (like blood draws and EKGs) of clinical studies occur.

We come from different areas of academic study, Lauren from psychology and Anna from human biology, but it was so interesting to see how these fields overlap in the UNC Eating Disorders Program. Because of the focus on both psychology and biology, especially genetics, at UNC we learned how psychology and biology can complement research on eating disorders. We both hope to translate our knowledge and experiences into heightened awareness at our college campuses in the fall.