Georgetown Scientific Research Journal GSR Journal
Caroline Telesz is a senior in the College, majoring in Psychology and minoring in Italian, and is on the pre-med track.
Experience in Research
Caroline has always been fascinated by children and spent her high school years working with them as a camp counselor, babysitter, assistant teacher, and more. After speaking with her college academic dean, she came to the conclusion that the best way to deepen her involvement in the psychology department and prepare herself for graduate school was through research. She knew developmental psychology research was an opportunity to observe how kids grow and mature from a scientific and often cutting-edge perspective. To this end, Caroline got involved with developmental psychology research at the Georgetown Early Learning Project (ELP) in her sophomore year and has been working there ever since, under the mentorship of Dr. Rachel Barr. Throughout her time at ELP, she has been involved with many research projects, including the difference in novelty preference between monolingual/bilingual children, and imitation task success of monolingual and bilingual children.
Caroline has also spent a summer working with the Yale Computation Social and Developmental Cognition Lab, which focuses on the computational basis behind social reasoning and motivation in Children. Additionally, she was granted a Davis Fellowship by Georgetown College to conduct research over this past summer, which centered around instrumental media use and parental well being, the topic of her honors thesis. Since last spring, she has helped develop a pilot research study on those topics by using new ecological measurement tools aimed to better assess media usage. The Comprehensive Assessment of Media Exposure, or CAFE, is a data collection framework that combines a variety of different measures including surveys, ecological momentary assessments (EMAs), time-use diaries, and a passive sensing phone app. The focus of her particular project is to look at how parental well-being predicts or moderates the types of in-the-moment media decisions and activities using the CAFE framework. With this study, she aims to analyze the relationship between wellbeing measures such as burnout, anxiety, depression, and stress in relation to real-time data collected by EMAs which provide random check-ins to participants over the course of 7 days.
Caroline had always known that she wanted to pursue a career in psychology, but upon entering college, she learned that there is a lot more to a career in psychology than taking the required classes. After discovering her interest in research, she had to decide what type of research she wanted to be involved in. She learned about the ELP at the Psi Chi research fair during her sophomore fall. Psi Chi is the international psychology honors society, and every year the Georgetown chapter puts on a research fair where a variety of labs have posters and present their work to prospective research students. It has been a full-circle experience for her because she had the opportunity to organize this year's research fair in collaboration with the Pre-Health department, as this year's president of Georgetown's Psi Chi chapter.
Her research experience has provided her with many practical skills that will serve her well in her future career as a psychology researcher, but also many conceptual skills that can be applied to all facets of her academic life. Her previous experience in research was limited to assisting on established projects, so this past summer she was able to observe a side of the research process she had never seen before. Being a part of the study’s development from the start taught her about the massive amount of work that is necessary to create a research proposal before any data can be collected. Working closely with her research team of undergraduate RAs, graduate students, and professors from multiple universities, she was reminded of the value of a strong, communicative, cooperative team. Caroline’s long-term goal is to continue her work in developmental psychology beyond her undergraduate career. She wishes to support families by taking what she learns from the lab and making it more accessible to those who could benefit from its findings. Her work on the CAFE pilot study has strengthened her interest in parental welling and reinforced its undervalued importance in the field of psychology. In the future, she hopes to support struggling parents because she knows that poor well-being makes parenting, an already difficult task, infinitely more challenging.