To start with, what’s your preferred name, pronouns if using, year, and program:
Preferred name: Sushmita Mahadani
Program: BA Psychology Honours
Can you tell us about your research?
My research interests have varied throughout high school and university, but I have always leaned towards topics around social/personality and health psychology. Some of my previous work during my initial years at university comprised exploring morality and motivations through involvement with various labs. But my current interests lie in a field I recently discovered and would love to continue pursuing in the future: understanding digital interventions and blending the fields of psychology and technology. My 3rd-year thesis is based on user-testing “Minder”, a mental health app developed by the Mental Health Systems and Services (MHSS) Lab for university students, and adapting it to fit the needs of secondary school students by gaining feedback from high school students. I’ve also volunteered with the MHSS Lab to help adapt Minder for marginalised populations by conducting multiple literature reviews and formulating focus group plans, which has given me the opportunity to meet some wonderful people!
What has been your favourite experience from the psychology honours program?
My favourite experience in the honours program has been meeting a diverse set of people with a varied range of research interests! It’s really interesting to see how different students explore their own fields, and I have had the opportunity to learn from the numerous approaches research in psychology can take! The honours program also gives me a shoulder to rely on with the same set of cohorts to celebrate with and work through assignments with, and I ended up making friends along the way!
Has your perspective on psychology changed since you’ve been in the program?
I initially considered the realm of psychology to be limited to clinical research, with professional opportunities only within the fields of counselling and government. But entering university, and moreover, entering the honours program, opened my eyes to the plethora of opportunities available for those pursuing psychology. The versatility of this field intrigued me when I discovered I could volunteer at numerous labs doing some amazing research work. So when I discovered my own research interest within user research experience, my perspective of psychology underwent a complete change, and this revelation made me willing to say ‘yes’ to more opportunities that came my way!
Do you have advice for anyone considering applying for the honours program?
My number one advice would be to find current honours students within the relevant fields you are interested in and hear about their experiences! I was lucky to have a current honours student look over my application drafts which turned out to be such a blessing, not just for reviewing the application, but also to get a sense of what it’s like to actually be in the program and whether it is a good fit for you! So go ahead and make those connections through your friends, professors, and clubs!