Graduate Student Internship Success Story: Gabriel Camacho

Name: Gabriel Camacho
Undergraduate education: University of Virginia
Graduate education: Department of Psychological Sciences, University of Connecticut.

What are your research interests?
My research interests are to understand the role that stereotypes and prejudice play in racial/ethnic disparities across an array of outcomes and to develop theory-based interventions designed to attenuate the adverse effects they have on members of stigmatized groups.

Where are you doing your internship for Summer 2019?
Government Accountability Office (GAO), Washington, D.C.

How did you find this internship? A friend from the University of Virginia who is a current employee at the GAO informed me about the summer internship.

Describe your role in your internship. What do your daily tasks consist of?
I am interning as a research methodologist and data analyst. As a research methodologist, I assist with the design and implementation of research studies. For example, I am currently helping with transcribing focus group discussions. As a data analyst, I clean and analyze government datasets using R Studio and then report the results to research teams.

What new knowledge have you gained from participating in your internship?
I have learned how the federal government conducts research. This is valuable to me because I have learned that the skills that I have acquired as a graduate student are valued in industry and can be applied to non-academic careers. Having to clean and analyze large datasets for my internship has also allowed me to practice and improve my knowledge of R Studio.

What are some challenges that you have had to overcome to reach this point in your graduate career?
Graduate school is challenging for everyone. We have to deal with imposter syndrome and constant rejection (e.g., rejected manuscripts). It is also difficult to balance our responsibilities as a student, instructor, and researcher.

What advice would you give to current UConn graduate students who might be interested in pursuing similar internships? I suggest that students network and speak to people outside of academia who have perused similar degrees. I would have never known about the GAO internship if my friend did not tell me. I also suggest that students carefully consider when to apply for summer internships. I decided to complete a summer internship the summer before graduation because this particular internship offers jobs to successful interns after graduation. However, I am also interested in academic positions and completing the internship the summer before going on the job market has made it difficult to prepare my job application materials (e.g., research statement). Thus, if I could do it over again, I would have likely completed the internship earlier in my graduate career. Lastly, I suggest that students prepare early and use the resources at the career center. Having someone review my resume and cover letter was extremely helpful.

By Tithi Basu Mallik
Tithi Basu Mallik Graduate Student Career Programs and Services Graduate Assistant Tithi Basu Mallik