Monday, July 1, 2013

SRAP Student Spotlight: Savannah Pham and depression in adults

SRAPer: Savannah Pham
Home state: California
Grade in high school: Senior
Plans after high school: Attend college in California, studying Russian

When looking at summer programs, Savannah Pham was put in a difficult spot.
 “I had to pick SRAP over the Naval Academy Summer Seminar and at first I was really bummed,” Savannah says. “But now I feel like this is such a good experience because you actually get hands-on research experience and much more experience than most high school students get.”
That hands-on research experience is exactly what Savannah is getting this summer while being in the SRAP program. Savannah’s work in the psychology department involves understanding depression knowledge and experiences associated with depression among a sample of baby boomers residing in rural communities.
“I’m researching older adults and their knowledge and perceptions and personal experience with depression,” she says. “What I do is go through all the interviews, and I search for the main themes within them and then I try to develop those themes.”
Savannah’s mentor, Katie Kitchen Andren, is a graduate student in the psychology department. Katie had previously conducted a study of older people and depression for her thesis, giving Katie and Savannah ample data to work with.
“We obtained a lot of data from these interviews, so that’s what Savannah’s been taking a look at, to really understand this particular group of soon-to-be older adults and their knowledge about and experiences with depression,” says Katie. “This type of research, the qualitative approach, is really great for understanding personal experiences and attitudes at a deeper level.”
Having the opportunity to study and analyze data has given Savannah a unique chance to grow her enthusiasm in science.
“I just think anything with science is really interesting.”

For Savannah, SRAP has been a unique opportunity to work in the science field, and will give her a great experience to put on her resume.  

SRAP is a six-week intensive research program for high school students. It is based at the University of Wyoming and sponsored by Wyoming EPSCoR.

By Robin E. Rasmussen and Kali S. McCrackin 

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