By Maggie Bushman: Associate Research Specialist
The Summer Research Scholars program is geared towards high school students, but the opportunities don’t end when the week does. Students have the ability to come back as alumni mentors, youth advisory board members, and even interns.
Kyle Yu began his journey with SMAHRT as a sophomore in high school. He participated in our 2016 Summer Research Scholars (SRS) program while it was still in Seattle. Three years later he is back with the SMAHRTeam in a whole new role in a whole new city.
Now, Kyle is spending his summer in Madison, WI as one of SMAHRT’s research interns. Instead of only having a week to complete a research project on the fly, he has a whole summer to conduct his own research while simultaneously working on some of the team’s current projects.
He attributes the ease of jumping in to a new team role to the SRS program.
“Building off of this program I did a couple years ago and being able to complete a project at a larger scale has been really helpful to kind of introduce myself to the research process. Having that experience beforehand really helped,” Kyle said.
The SRS program laid the research ground work for Kyle. The program walks high school students through their own projects relating to social media and adolescent health. Scholars are briefly taught about the steps of the research process, but most of the learning is done through hands-on experience.
Kyle’s original project that he conducted during the 2016 SRS program looked at the relationship between using social media to stay connected vs allowing it to detract from one-on-one interactions.
“There is such a good benefit, but there is also such a big negative,” Kyle explained.
While on the team this summer Kyle is conducting another individual project. This time he is diving deeper into some of the negative impacts of internet use.
His current project focuses on parent and teen internet usage expectations. He is looking at the specific internet rules that parents put in place for their children and whether or not the children actually follow these restrictions. He is also interested to see if these behaviors, paired with the content these children are viewing, leads to problematic internet use (PIU).
This past week, Kyle helped another set of scholars with their projects as both an alumni mentor and research intern. When asked to reflect on any advice he would give to the 2019 scholars, Kyle came up with two key aspects to keep in mind.
1. Keep in touch with the scholars you meet this week
Connecting with the other scholars can be helpful even outside of the program.
“I still do see them sometimes in Seattle and a lot of them go to [the University of Washington]. It’s really cool to run into them,” he explains.
2. Keep in touch with the SMAHRTeam
“Being with the SMAHRTeam opens the door to so many other opportunities, like the Youth Advisory Board and coming back and interning,” Kyle said.
What once began as a week-long research program morphed into a summer research internship for Kyle. Now with two independent projects almost complete he is ready to take on more research opportunities as he begins his sophomore year of college.
“I can use this experience and what I’ve learned through the research process and apply it to other positions that I may have as well as finding other lab positions after I leave for the summer,” Kyle said.