Juliana Sikorski ’21, psychology
By Shannon Sigafoos
Juliana Sikorski ’21 wants to make an impact on children’s lives.
Though Sikorski knew when she got to Lafayette that she had a strong interest in psychology, she began to realize child development and psychopathology stood out because those fields help children understand their emotions in a way that is productive to them. “I potentially have the ability to help children regain control over their emotions and behaviors,” she says.
After taking a class with Angela Bell, assistant professor of psychology, and developing an interest in prejudice, Sikorski knocked on Bell’s door and asked if Bell was looking for students to work in her laboratory. The two began to work together so that Sikorski could understand people’s own perceptions of their prejudice, and how they compare their prejudice to others. She gives Bell credit for strengthening her skills in all areas of the research process. “I learned how to find and analyze relevant literature, create surveys, look through data, and prepare posters for future presentations at research conferences,” Sikorski says of her work with Bell, who also helped her develop a strong résumé, find internship postings, and reach out to different researchers.
Sikorski ended up working with the Developmental Investigations of Strategy and Behavior (DIBS) lab at University of Chicago on a child psychology internship this past summer. Despite the challenge of COVID-19 preventing internships from being completed in person, she was able to work with the DIBS lab on conducting studies with children—which also provided a lesson on proper protocols for working with minors, as well as protocols for conducting studies via Zoom. The internship, she says, “was extremely beneficial in learning more about child development through my interactions with children.”
Sikorski’s future career goals include conducting further research in child development and clinical psychology, and she plans to continue her education in clinical psychology by attending graduate school.