Reflections on a Summer Fellowship at the UNC Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders

By: Bernadette Pivarunas

DATE: July 23, 2015

My passion for research began as a little girl. Since then, I have been fortunate enough to work with a number of researchers studying eating disorders across the lifespan. Thus, when I learned about the summer fellowship opportunity with the UNC Center of Excellence for Eating Disorders, I jumped at the chance to apply. A few months later, I was overcome with excitement at the opportunity to interview for a summer fellowship slot, and a few days later, even more excited to accept the position.

You might be wondering what it is like to spend a summer here. It has been outstanding! When you’re as passionate about eating disorders research as I am, a summer with some of the most accomplished clinicians and researchers in the world is like your birthday, favorite holiday, and most cherished dessert all in one.

My summer has included a number of activities. First and foremost, I’ve gotten involved in multiple research studies, including ANGI, UCAN, and UNITE, where my tasks include (but are not limited to!) communicating with participants, consenting participants, scheduling blood draws, observing couples therapy sessions, conducting literature reviews, drafting papers that will be submitted to peer-reviewed journals, and contributing to the conceptualization and design of new research studies.

Second, I have been able to participate in a number of clinical activities at all levels of care, including inpatient, partial hospitalization, and outpatient treatment. I’ve attended intakes and evaluations, psychiatry rounds, and group therapy.

Perhaps what I have been most grateful for is the ability to customize the fellowship to satisfy my curiosities and interests. This summer I’ve had the pleasure of working with some of the friendliest, smartest, most passionate people I’ve ever met. It has been nothing short of an incredible summer!

We all need to plant ourselves in nutrient-rich soil…soil that encourages us to grow. For me, I found that soil here UNC CEED. May you also find soil that nurtures your growth personally and professionally!

 Thanks for all of your hard work this summer, Bernadette! It was a pleasure having you at the UNC CEED!