My name is Allison Tidwell. I am a junior in Global Studies, minoring in Human Development and Family Studies. After falling in love with both the Global Studies and HDFS curricula, I decided to pursue a career in which I can combine the skills I have developed through Global Studies with my passion for studying family dynamics and development: research. So, when it came time to choose an internship, I looked for opportunities including research experience. Thankfully, at the HDFS Internship Fair last fall, I found the perfect internship. Military REACH is a family research and outreach project dedicated to making research publications accessible and practical to military families, helping professionals, military leadership, and policy makers. REACH’s mission aligned closely with my career goals, as well as my personal value of supporting military families, and I am now honored to intern in the Military REACH lab this semester. My role as the REACH Intern involves writing and editing research summaries, which we call Translating Research into Practice (TRIP) Reports; writing family blog posts grounded in research application; and assisting with data collection and management, along with many other research-related tasks.
Perhaps the most educational aspect of working at Military REACH has been the emphasis on completing projects as a team. Little of my work in the lab is completed individually. We have a full chain of editors who review and update each TRIP Report, research report, family blog post, and social media post that Military REACH publishes. Our team also meets several times a week to track our progress and collaborate on each of our assignments. Though working so closely with others seemed daunting at first, I soon realized that doing so is necessary for Military REACH to collect, summarize, and disseminate research materials efficiently and effectively to the military community. Thankfully, the Global Studies curriculum has prepared me for working in such an environment through the emphasis on problem-based learning and teamwork. I became comfortable with asking difficult questions, seeking input from my team members, and finding creative solutions to challenges that arise. Now, I put these skills into practice every day at Military REACH. Working in the lab has allowed me to grow as a team member, a skill which will remain vitally important to my future career.
My time at Military REACH has also provided an invaluable education in the research process itself. I am involved in collecting, translating, and disseminating research findings to the military community; thus, it is imperative that I develop an understanding of research ethics, terminology, and analysis. The best way I learn is through firsthand experience, and as I continue through my internship, each day I become more knowledgeable about the various aspects of research. In doing so, I have become more confident in my ability to succeed in a research career.
I could not be more grateful to Military REACH for continuously opening my eyes to the importance of research and outreach, as well as to Global Studies in Human Sciences for equipping me with the necessary skills to succeed in this career path. Though I still have a few months left in my internship and another year to complete my undergraduate degree, every day I feel more and more prepared to pursue my dreams and make a difference in the lives of others.