Doctoral students from The University of Toledo Department of Psychology, Shane Close and Heather Haught, have been awarded summer internships as analysts in Washington, D.C.“These are tremendous training opportunities for both Shane and Heather,” said Dr. Andrew Geers, UT professor of psychology and Close’s adviser. “These government internships provide excellent experience in handling real-world data and engaging with top government officials with consequences that can influence national policy.”
Close, a native of Bozeman, Mont., is working for the Government Accountability Office. Commonly referred to as the congressional watchdog, the office supports Congress by ensuring that taxpayer dollars are spent efficiently and ethically.
Close’s responsibilities, which include conducting research, partaking in interview processes, and assisting with project design and implementation, will give him the opportunity to hone his analytical skills.
“It gives me some experience working as an analyst,” he said. “It makes me more marketable. It definitely opens up doors that may be limited with just an academic track record and no work experience. This helps with getting work experience and shows how I perform in a work setting.”
Haught, a native of Marietta, Ohio, is interning for the Institute for Defense Analyses, a nonprofit corporation contracted by the federal government to analyze national security issues. Specifically, she assists the Operational Evaluation Division, one of the research arms, which supports the testing and evaluation of weaponry and machinery.“A lot of times the military uses performance data in order to decide whether a weapon is effective or not,” Haught said. “One thing that’s becoming a bigger focus is whether the weapons and machinery are something that the soldiers actually like to use and whether it’s easy for them to use. The only way we can get at that is through survey data; so I’m compiling a database of appropriate questions.”
Haught expects the experience to refine her analysis and research skills as as well as give her the chance to apply them more broadly and practically.
“This internship gives me the opportunity to take my skills and apply them to decisions that are practical,” she said. “The division I’m in supports Congress’ decisions and the military’s decisions to purchase weapons, so it’s very applied.”
“It is a high honor for our University to have our students secure these internship positions,” said Dr. Jason Rose, UT assistant professor of psychology and Haught’s adviser. “These positions will offer Shane and Heather the opportunity to extend their training in statistics and research methods at UT into applied contexts that have meaningful real-world consequences.”