Anna Zonderman - United Kingdom
Internship location: London, England
Career goal: I plan to pursue a career in designing and implementing public health intervention research focused on child health and development
I worked with researchers from the Anna Freud Centre to implement a longitudinal electroencephalography study in collaboration with Kids Company, a charity that provides practical and therapeutic support to vulnerable children in London. The study—which complements existing evidence that Kids Company’s interventions positively influence behavioral outcomes among participating children—will evaluate the effects of stress on neural functioning in 13- to 17-year-old boys and assess whether support from Kids Company correlates with positive changes in these effects over time. My responsibilities included designing recruitment materials, recruiting at Kids Company and at schools in South London and assisting with data collection.
Value of experience:
This experience gave me the opportunity to put into practice my knowledge of study design and implementation. In particular, I was exposed to the challenges and rewards of collaborating with a community organization and of carrying out research that is methodologically robust while actively addressing the needs of the vulnerable children participating in the project. I also benefited from the opportunity to volunteer during several Kids Company programs throughout the summer. This allowed me to interact with Kids Company practitioners and the children they support, and to better understand and appreciate the avenues through which this support takes place.
In the last week of my internship I assisted in the data collection for the study’s first official (non-pilot) participant. After three months of preparation it was great to see everything come together.
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Preparing the new electroencephalogram (EEG) lab at Kids Company’s therapy house.
Banners created by children supported by Kids Company decorate the main conference room at the charity’s summer conference.
The door to the new EEG lab, called “My Beautiful Brain Room.”
A painted wall outside one of the Kids Company drop-in centers near the therapy house in South London.
An EEG net for tangled wires at the beginning of a study session.
Measuring the participant’s head to correctly position the EEG net.
Fitting a participant with the EEG net.
Showing a participant what a raw brainwave data looks like—the large peaks in the middle of the screen are the result of blinking.
Adjusting individual sensors to optimize data collection.
Examples of the neural functioning (left) and heart rate (right) data collected during a study session.
The EEG net has to be cleaned after each session.
Visiting the Portobello Road Market in the Notting Hill neighborhood of London.
The plaque outside the home of Sir John Simon, London’s first medical officer, at Kensington Square in the Kensington district of London. Simon campaigned for better sewage systems and safe drinking water in the city and his work was closely linked to that of John Snow.
The historic Pulteney Bridge in the city of Bath in southwestern England.
Tower Bridge and a view of the Docklands area of London, taken from the South Bank of the Thames River.
The famous changing of the guard ceremony outside of Buckingham Palace.
Stonehenge, the prehistoric monument located north of Salisbury, England.