Psychology

Sewanee: The University of the South

Sewanee-At-Yale Directed Research Program

for Students at the University of the South
in Collaboration with the Yale Child Study Center

Introduction and Rationale

During summer internships over more than ten years, undergraduates from Sewanee have spent six to eight weeks working in a research laboratory at the Yale Child Study Center in New Haven, Connecticut. Through this experience, students have been exposed to research in a clinical setting and to the day-to-day workings of a behavioral neuroscience research laboratory. They have worked with school-aged children participating in developmental studies, administered developmental and cognitive assessments, and learned about database management. Over the summer months, only a small number of students have had sufficient time to complete a small project from the steps of gathering data to completing the analysis and writing a research manuscript. The Sewanee-At-Yale Directed Research Program is intended to provide directed research experience for Sewanee students who wish to be exposed to an active developmental and behavioral neuroscience research laboratory in a medical school setting and to have the experience of carrying through a directed research project in greater depth over a somewhat longer time frame. Although participation in the program is not restricted by year or major, we expect it will be particularly appealing to students majoring in biology or psychology and to pre-medical students with other majors; participation during the junior or senior year is generally recommended.

General Nature of Program

During their time at Yale, students will typically work on one or more research projects, participate in weekly research meetings, and participate in a research methods seminar and at least one upper-level seminar offered by the Child Study Center. Each student will be sponsored by a Sewanee faculty member, who will serve as advisor, set the requirements, and assist the student in developing a written plan of study. The student should work collaboratively with his or her Sewanee faculty advisor, the directors of the program at Sewanee and at the Yale Child Study Center, and any other designated Yale faculty mentors to insure that the written plan of study can feasibly be completed at the Child Study Center. Normally, the minimum final requirement for the program will be a written report of the completed research; individual faculty advisors may set alternative equivalent requirements.

For any given student, the typical program duration will be one semester plus a summer, in either order. During their time New Haven, students are expected to be involved in data gathering and data analysis. The written report of the work could be completed in New Haven, or after leaving New Haven while maintaining active contact with the program director and other faculty mentors at the Child Study Center.

Grades and Credits

This program is an approved Sewanee off-campus academic program that is also formally acknowledged and approved by Yale Medical School. Students will be officially enrolled at Sewanee during the semester that they are at Yale. Grades will count as if the work were for an on-campus Sewanee course, except that there will be an allowance for more than one pass-fail course during the semester (counting toward the maximum of 4 for students in the College). At most, 16 semester-hours credit will be granted for the program.

We expect that most students will need or want to acquire the standard 16 semester hours of credit for the semester at Yale; we expect that typically 12 of these 16 credit hours will be research-related credit with 4 hours of separate course credit. The research-related credit will typically include participation in a semester-long research methods seminar (4 semester hours) as well as 4 credit hours for the semester research and 4 credit hours for the research paper. The research methods seminar during the semester is organized around presentations of individual research projects with detailed critique of both project designs and findings. Seminar participants learn about research methods through these hands-on, project-specific presentations. The seminar courses available for the first two years of the program are:

  • Language, Literacy, and Play
  • Introduction to Cognitive Science
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Autism and Related Disorders
  • Principles of Neuroscience
  • Neurobiology of Emotion
  • History of Modern Neuroscience
  • Research Topics in Emotion and Cognitive Control

These Yale courses have been formally approved as part of Sewanee's curriculum by Sewanee's Curriculum and Academic Policy Committee, and by the college faculty.

Grading will normally be Pass/Fail. With prior approval of the relevant Sewanee departments and the program directors at Sewanee and at Yale, students may elect to receive a letter grade for a specific portion of the program; for example, a student may wish to count a specified number of credits from the program toward the major and those must be graded. The Yale faculty member responsible for each course or research component will provide written comments on each student’s participation and performance, along with a recommendation for a grade, to the program director at Sewanee. This faculty member—after reviewing the student’s work, the instructors’ written comments, and the instructors’ grade recommendations—will officially submit the student’s grade to the University Registrar.

Prerequisites and Selection

Interested students are expected to submit an application that describes their proposed plan of study and research at Yale. An application form is attached as an appendix to this document. In most circumstances, applicants are expected to have a minimum overall GPA of 3.2 and a minimum major GPA of 3.5.

Students will need to be in consultation with the program directors at Sewanee and at Yale and with biology and psychology faculty at Sewanee as they develop their applications. Unless otherwise stated, applications are due by mid-semester of the semester prior to the student’s proposed residence at Yale. Participation in the program requires pre-approval of all details of the program from the program directors at Sewanee and at Yale as well as the relevant departments at Sewanee.

In general, interested students should have the following prerequisites:

  • Biology majors: Biology 130 (Field Investigations in Biology) and 133 (Introductory Cell and Molecular Biology)
  • Psychology majors: Psyc 251 (Research Methods), and either Psyc 254 (Introduction to Behavioral Neuroscience) or Psyc 357 (Child Development)
  • Other majors: two courses from the prerequisites for Biology or Psychology majors

These prerequisites may be modified depending on the student’s particular plan of study and research at Yale. Other biology and psychology courses may serve as prerequisites with the consent of the appropriate department chair, Sewanee’s Curriculum and Academic Policy Committee, and the program coordinator at Yale.

Students wishing to obtain academic credit from a department outside their major must consult with that department about suitable prerequisites before their proposal is approved (e.g., a biology major wishing to obtain psychology credit while at Yale must consult with the Sewanee psychology department for recommendations about prerequisites in Psychology; likewise, psychology majors wishing to obtain biology credit should consult with the Sewanee biology department). Sewanee’s faculty guidelines on internship credit stipulate that when an internship is not in the discipline of the major, credit will be decided on a case-by-case basis by the Standards Committee. Students who are not biology or psychology majors should thus seek prior approval of this committee.

During any one semester, the program can currently accept up to two qualified students. Whether all of the available slots are filled depends not only on the number of applicants but also on the suitability of the program to the applicants' background and goals. Should the number of interested, qualified students exceed the capacity of the Child Study Center laboratories in any given semester, selections will be made by consultation among faculty advisors, the director of the program at the Child Study Center, and the director of the program at Sewanee. In the case of oversubscription by qualified students, rising seniors will be given some preference since they would have only one opportunity to participate. As the program develops, we hope to include other research laboratories in the Child Study Center and School of Medicine in order to accommodate more students.

Tuition, Stipends, and Housing

Students will pay tuition—but not room and board—to Sewanee for their semester at Yale (but no separate tuition or official Sewanee summer enrollment for the summer of participation). Students receiving financial aid from Sewanee may apply for portability of aid through the same procedures and subject to the same deadlines used for study abroad programs.

Students will receive an internship stipend for the non-credit, summer portion of the program.

The Yale Child Study Center staff will help students to secure housing in New Haven. Options include sublets, medical school housing, and shared housing with Yale students needing roommates.

The Yale Child Study Center

The Yale Child Study Center is a department within the Yale School of Medicine as well as Yale University. The Child Study Center is an academic and clinical center devoted to the understanding, evaluation, and treatment of children and adolescents with developmental and psychiatric disorders. Administratively, the Center is the Department of Child Psychiatry for Yale University School of Medicine and Yale-New Haven Hospital. It serves many functions, including: (1) The advancement of knowledge in child development and childhood psychopathology through study and research; (2) Training of professionals in child psychiatry, pediatrics, psychology, social work, special education, and other fields concerned with child health and development; and (3) The provision of exemplary clinical services to children with psychiatric and developmental disorders and to their families. The multidisciplinary clinical and research staff of the Center includes professionals in developmental psychology (with a special focus on infants and young children), developmental pediatrics, child psychiatry, psychoanalysis, developmental and molecular neurobiology, neuroimaging, human genetics, language and communication, public health, and education.

The laboratories that have served as the site for the summer internship for Sewanee students are coordinated by Dr. Linda Mayes, a senior member of the Center’s faculty and a Sewanee alumna. Dr. Mayes’ laboratory incorporates studies using basic electrophysiology (including high-density electroencephalography), neuropsychological and neurocognitive assessment, and more traditional social psychology methods relying on interview and self-report. Dr. Mayes has a number of collaborators at the Yale School of Medicine in, for example, the departments of neuroimaging, surgery, and anesthesia who will also offer clinical research experiences for participating students. As the program develops, other members of the research faculty of the Child Study Center will be encouraged to participate.

Evaluation

A program review will be conducted at the end of two years of the program.

Applying to the Program

Application materials for the Sewanee-At-Yale Directed Research Program should be submitted in electronic form to Karen Yu (kyu@sewanee.edu) by
midsemester of the Fall semester for the next Spring + Summer program
midsemester of the Spring semester for the next Summer + Fall program

Applications for summer-only internships at the Yale Child Study Center are ACE Medical Internships administered by Sewanee's Career & Leadership Development Office, and typically due in early to mid February.

Contact Information

Program Director at Sewanee:
Karen Yu, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Psychology
Woods Lab 321
Telephone: 931-598-1920
Fax: 931-598-1145
E-mail: kyu@sewanee.edu

Program Director at Yale:
Linda C. Mayes, M.D.
Arnold Gesell Professor
Child Psychiatry, Pediatrics, and Psychology
Yale Child Study Center

230 S. Frontage Road
New Haven, CT 06520

Telephone: 203-785-7211
Fax: 203-785-7926
E-mail: Linda. Mayes@yale.edu

Additional information on Dr. Mayes and the Yale Child Study Center can be found at:

Sewanee: The University of the South