Kaitlin Zinn is a Psychology major with a minor in Cognitive Neuroscience. The summer after her sophomore year, she became a Research Assistant in Dr. Lauren Ellman's laboratory, examining genetic and environmental factors that contribute to the development of schizophrenia and related disorders. As part of her work in the lab, Kaitlin studied research articles, participated in weekly lab meetings, and recruited participants for two studies aimed at developing new mental health screening measures.
More recently, Kaitlin joined the Temple University Eating Disorders program (TEDp) under the direction of Dr. Eunice Chen. The research of TEDp seeks to understand and improve the understanding of the etiology behind eating and weight disorders. Kaitlin has been assisting on studies aimed at developing and testing psychosocial interventions for eating and weight disorders. She is also compiling literature for understanding related brain structural changes and is collaborating with team members to prepare for future data collection for an upcoming study on addiction to highly processed foods. Her work on this study is supported by a LAURA research award from the College of Liberal Arts. Kaitlin is assisting with the development the study, in which hormone and blood glucose functioning is assessed in groups with and without ultraprocessed food addiction and the effects of these foods is measured using continuous glucose monitoring.
In addition to volunteering in a lab, Kaitlin is the Treasurer of Temple's Psychology Majors Association (PMA). Together with the rest of the PMA board, she helps to create environments where students of various backgrounds can advance their psychology studies and career trajectories through graduate school information sessions, fundraisers, financial planning workshops, and networking events. Kaitlin is also a student worker at the Psychological Services Center (PSC), the nonprofit community mental health center that is run through the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience. The PSC provides counseling and psychological services for mental health and relationship issues, comprehensive neuropsychological assessments, and shorter cognitive assessments. As an undergraduate student worker, Kaitlin works on data management as part of a team that ensures staff and clinicians have what they need.
After graduation, Kaitlyn plans to pursue a career as a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. She credits her experiences in the Ellman Lab, TEDp, and her Foundations of Psychopathology course with Dr. Sandra Sepulveda-Kozakowski for giving her a foundation of knowledge and work experience related to psychological disorders, and she is excited to take this experience forward as she looks ahead to her career.