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ISpy: Hannah Fipp-Rosenfield

Name & PC: Hannah Fipp-Rosenfield PC’ 15

Tell us about your research project?

My project is about how maternal verbal and non-verbal communication shapes a child’s language development. I am also assessing the role of risk when it comes to Autism Spectrum Disorder, which is determined by whether an older sibling has it or not.

What made you decide to pursue this?

After graduation, I knew I wanted to pursue a PhD in child clinical psychology with a focus on early interventions for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and their language and social communication in schools. The summer after my sophomore year, I was lucky enough to start working at the Child Development in Context Lab under Dr. Rebecca Neal-Beevers. After working there, I was offered an opportunity to conduct my own independent research project which brings us to today!

What was something new you learned?

This may come as no surprise but… research is hard stuff! Everything must be justified and explained. I’ve learned there will be times where you have absolutely no idea what you are doing and that’s a good thing because that’s when you learn. During the statistical analysis part of my project I was so confused. But Dr. Neal was amazing and so helpful with her explanations. Without her, I wouldn’t have learned how to do all the “hard stuff”.

What was the hardest part in all of this?

Staying at the lab until 12 a.m. working on stats. Math is hard enough. Try doing it at midnight.

What was your favorite part in all of this?

Putting in the hard work and having a positive outcome! It is an amazing feeling seeing all your countless hours finally pay off.

Any advice that you have for others wanting to do research?

Join a lab early! Don’t wait until you are an upperclassman. I have worked in the lab for almost two years now and it has been so helpful for questions about graduate school, letters of recommendation and just overall experience.

Who’s your #FBI (no, not like the agent but your Female Boss Inspiration)?

I have a few…

  1. Alexandra Dowd: She is a graduate student in the lab I work in (aka my first boss). I’d be lying if I said she wasn’t intense and focused. I’ll receive 6 a.m. texts from her on things I need to do. But she is the smartest person I know. She went to Harvard undergrad, conducted research at Yale for two years and is now getting a PhD. Oh, and did I mention she has dyslexia? Yeah, this lady is talented!

  2. Dr. Rebecca Neal-Beevers: Have you ever looked at a person and thought “OMG my only goal in life is to be even half the person you are one day”? That is exactly how I feel about this woman. She is a professor at UT, and is smart, has a family and dogs and the cherry on top she gets two days off every week.

  3. Jessica Day: Yes, from the show New Girl. I have completed New Girl about eight times now and I learn more from her every time. She has taught me that it is cool to be awkward, kids are cooler than adults and she is just really freakin’ nice!

  4. (Last one, sorry!) Jane Goodall: I took an anthropology class once and you can ask Viv Martinez or Clare Crotty about how I ended up talking about monkeys for a whole semester! Even though I will not get to hang out with Tarsiers every day (look them up they’re my favorite monkey), I am inspired by Jane Goodall’s passion. She dedicated her whole life to studying one thing and made a huge impact in this world.

Any status updates on your project that you’d like to share?

My abstract has been accepted by the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR)! Currently, I am turning it into a presentation. Stay tuned for May 11th, where I will be presenting in Rotterdam at the INSAR National Conference!

(We will definitely stay tuned! ;) Go Hannah- our very own #FBI!)

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