A Postcard From: Rebecca Kaplan ’19

Name: Rebecca Kaplan
Class Year: 2019
Major: Psychology
Hometown: New York City


Internship Placement: ESTEEM Research Group/Yale School of Public Health
Job Title: Summer Research Assistant
Location: New York City

What’s happening at your internship? 

I’m working with a team of researchers from the Yale School of Public Health who want to learn about ways to improve the mental health and wellbeing of the LGBTQ+ community. Our main study, ESTEEM (Effective Skills to Empower Effective Men), has been running for three years, and is investigating different types of psychotherapy with the goal of improving mental health and reducing risk of contracting HIV for queer men. The other study, Project EQuIP (Empowering Queer Identities in Psychotherapy), is an adaptation of the ESTEEM protocol for queer women that officially launched a few weeks ago. Much of my work involves recruiting new participants for both studies, as well as collecting data from current participants.

Why did you apply for this internship?

I knew that I wanted to spend this summer getting research experience, and although I had been interested in both mental health and LGBTQ+ issues for a long time, ESTEEM was the first research lab I found working at the intersection of these areas.

Was there anything special about how you found this internship?

I found out about this internship through a Bryn Mawr alum, who was working at the lab as a study psychotherapist at the time. She emailed the psychology department listserv about an opportunity for a full-time research assistantship at the lab. Although they were not advertising for summer-only RAs at the time, I was interested enough in what they were doing that I decided to email the principal investigator directly.

What has been your favorite part of this internship?

I enjoy the work we’re doing to recruit new participants for the studies. We are always trying to come up with new recruitment strategies, which allows us to be creative. We’re currently reaching out to several organizations in the area, ranging from bookstores to mental health service providers to houses of worship, to form partnerships in the community, and we recently ran a booth at NYC Pride with the other Summer RAs (in the photo above).