The University of San Francisco: College of Arts & Sciences

Spotlight Ashley Interview

This summer I had the opportunity to sit down with Psychology Undergraduate, Ashley Plushnik, to talk about her summer research grant and what her  research entails.

Q:  Explain a little bit about your research.

My research is basically a study of the screening forms that we receive from a local non profit organization, A Home Within, that works with foster children.  It’s the referral screening form that they fill out on behalf of the children when they are referred for psychotherapy.  I’m taking all of the forms and analyzing these forms to see which types of kids are getting referred to therapy, to see what the typical problems are and any other information that could inform.  I’m also helping that organization to help their screening and referral process. 

Q:  What got you interested in it?

I’m a  research assistant in the foster care research group through Dr. Clausen so that was kind of the launching pad for my thesis.  I’m also going into teaching and working with kids and I’ve been working with really disadvantaged populations.  This was an opportunity that I saw for me to combine my interest in kids and then also look at foster care and look at what kinds of services they’re getting. Then from an education stand point to come in and give a different point of view and help refine the screening.  

Q:  Talk about the summer research grant

It’s through the psi chi foundation which is the national honors society for students in psych. They had a program where you could apply for a summer research grant so it is competitive on a national level.  I applied and I sent them my research proposal and they were interested in basically funding it so I could remain here for the summer and focus on my thesis and not have to necessarily have to have another job.

Q:  What’s next for you?

I am going to finish my honors thesis in psychology and graduate with a bachelors but I’m applying to grad school for teaching.  I’m hoping to teach at risk youth and then go get my PhD in education and work on education reform.  This is basically a stepping stone to the populations that I’m working with - so it’s not too far fetched.