Three years ago I joined UROP (Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program) and went through the laborious process of identifying and securing a research position. We were given this huge book of potential labs and a short description of the research that they conducted. At this time, I had no idea what I was looking for other than some sort of research that dealt with children (preferably special needs children). I applied to over 10 labs, interviewed at nearly all of them, and finally chose the Pathways to Literacy Lab.
This lab has given me so many opportunities and truly nurtured my love of psychology. When I first joined, I knew nothing about the P.I. (primary investigator) or the graduate students. Now I can say that I know them all very well and have learned so much from each and every one of them.
Adrienne Woods is the graduate student with whom I currently work. She is truly a wonderful mentor and was even awarded with the Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award last semester. Throughout the course of my time here at Michigan, I have realized that special education and disability research is hard to come by and there is not a single professor at this university that studies exactly what I one day hope to study. Luckily, I met Adrienne and found a way to study special education even though the lab itself is not focused on it.
Dr. Fred Morrison is the primary investigator of the lab. Besides being a wonderful mentor himself, he is also married to Dr. Catherine Lorde, a renowned clinical psychologist specializing in Autism. She is primarily known for helping to create the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS), which is considered the gold standard for research diagnoses. Basically, she is a pretty big deal and I have had the luck of a lifetime with not only getting to meet her, but also having her advise me in my pursuit of further research and graduate education.
Looking back, I am truly astonished that I ended up in a lab that has offered me so much. It was by mere chance that I chose this lab and ended up finding such great mentors.