“Thoughts From A..” interview Series provides you with a small glimpse of different career paths and advice on getting there.

Beverly Conrique, Santa Cruz, Research Assistant

My name is Beverly Iniguez Conrique. I received my BA in Psychology from UC Santa Cruz in June 2016, and have since been working as a Research Assistant at ETR Associates in Scotts Valley, CA. I plan to earn a PhD in Social Psychology and become a university professor in the future. I currently live in Santa Cruz, CA.

Q1: How did you get to where you are now?

I began my experience in research during my second year at UC Santa Cruz. I interned in a lab at the UCSC campus and in a couple labs during the summers at UCLA. I also completed an undergraduate thesis my senior year with Drs. Joanna Weill, Kim Cardilla, and Craig Haney. This experience, some networking, and a little bit of luck in timing is what allowed me to learn about and apply to ETR. I learned about the position from Dr. Faye Crosby at UCSC, then submitted my resume to ETR, had an informal phone interview with them, then went in for an actual interview in late March. I received the call in early April with a job offer, which I immediately accepted!

Q2: What inspired you to take on this job?

ETR really focuses on making all the research we conduct applied research, and we are committed to producing high-quality research that can be applied to real world contexts to improve the very areas that we focus on. This, coupled with the fact that ETR is incredibly collaborative, inspired me to take on this job.

Q3: What is one thing about this job that you really enjoy?

I absolutely love that there’s a lot happening all the time. At first it felt a bit overwhelming since ETR moves fast. Thankfully, my prior experience in research helped me acclimate faster than would have been possible without any experience. Now I am extremely thankful that there is a lot happening on a daily basis because I get exposed to a plethora of different research tasks – I anticipate this will immensely help me as I move onto completing a Doctoral program. And of course, I also enjoy the fast pace, as I love keeping busy. I also really enjoy working with all my co-workers – they are all absolutely wonderful individuals, and I’m thankful that I get to work with each of them on a daily basis.

Q4: What would you say is a minor downfall with this job/career (if any)?

One minor downfall of research in general is that it’s incredibly difficult to find a job as a professor in this day and age. I go into this field with the knowledge that I may not be able to begin a professorship immediately following my PhD. However, I am passionate about research and teaching, and greatly believe in its utility of improving real world problems and its potential for helping others.

Q5: What is one thing you would do differently when searching for a job?

This might be surprising, but I don’t think I would do anything differently! I was incredibly lucky to have heard about the position when I did, and from there I informed myself further about ETR’s mission, submitted my resume, and made sure I felt prepared and confident during my phone and in-person interviews.

Q6: What advice would you give to someone who is interested in this career path?

I would definitely encourage someone who is interested in research to explore different topics and find the area he/she is passionate about. Research can be incredibly intensive, and I’ve found that it’s particularly important to work on research topics that are interesting and genuinely spark curiosity in the researcher!

Here’s more information:

How to be a research assistant

Education to become a research assistant

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