Wrapping Up My Third Semester as an RRRH Intern


“Wrapping Up My Third Semester as an RRRH Intern”

by Amanda Schaller


This spring semester marks my third semester working as a research assistant for Drs. Katherine Johnson and Alyssa Lederer and their ongoing research on the effectiveness of curricular interventions—specifically Tulane’s GESS 1900 (Sex, Power, Culture) and SOCI 2100 (Sociology of Sexuality)— in addressing sexual aggression on college campuses.

I had the opportunity to present my work as an intern thus far at Conceiving Equity on March 5, 2022. Speaking about the work I had done and plan to do throughout the rest of my internship helped me realize how much I have learned and grown as an intern since beginning in the summer of 2021. Attendees who stopped to talk with me about my poster expressed interest in the goals of our research and my findings on recruiting participants and increasing the response rate, and it was satisfying to provide a brief overview of the project and answer questions. Additionally, I was able to speak about our first steps in collecting longitudinal data, which involved reaching out to former students from GESS 1900.

We held several meetings as a team to discuss our strategy for longitudinal data collection. Based on the literature reviews I completed on increasing response rates and types of response rates, we chose to use a pre-incentive, which was a $5 PJ’s coffee gift card physically mailed to the address students had on file. I coordinated obtaining over 100 gift cards and correct mailing addresses from students before individually stuffing all the envelopes and mailing them out to students both on and off-campus.

I have continued performing literature reviews on topics related to our collected data and future survey design. I am currently working on examining literature related to response rates of sexual violence and sexual health in college, especially related to response rate, non-response, sample, and survey responses from college students.

My goals for this semester included improving my confidence in working with those of greater expertise and avoiding passive behavior, which involves shifting my language to less passive and apologetic and more direct and intentional. I also aimed to set personal deadlines, as I thrive on structure and meeting deadlines, especially for open-ended and less urgent tasks. I feel that I made significant progress toward both of these goals, especially setting personal deadlines, which allowed me to stay on track and complete work as it was needed. My public speaking, presentational, and interpersonal communication skills have greatly improved over the past semester. I also feel well-equipped to begin my honors thesis, which will use the data we have collected from this project to answer my research questions (still to be finalized).

Next semester, we plan to continue collecting data and potentially add interviews to our data collection process. I would conduct the interviews if we chose to go that route, as utilizing a peer-review strategy may reduce interviewer bias, improve response rates, and facilitate trust in answering questions that are often sensitive and personal. I am looking forward to another semester in this program!