Amber BelcherAmber Belcher

Early on during my undergraduate career, I considered a psychology major. Although I was well aware of a psychology practice career path, I knew less about what a career in psychological research would entail. Having been selected as a COR student in my junior year, I participated in a summer internship through the University of California, Los Angeles under Dr. Shelly Gable. The research project involved romantic couples, approach-avoidance motives, and daily diary methods. Initially, my responsibilities in the lab included independently running studies, cleaning and entering data into SPSS, and reviewing literature. However, because I was taking advanced research courses through the COR program I was able to contribute more to the project. I identified measures for constructs, wrote the IRB application, conducted data analyses, and presented a paper and poster at professional conferences. I continued working in Dr. Gable's lab the following year.

As I embarked on my graduate career, I chose to work with Jean-Philippe Laurenceau, Ph.D. at the University of Delaware. Currently, I am a third year clinical doctoral candidate. My central research focus concerns chronic life stressors in marital relationships. To study these processes, our lab examines the daily lives of breast cancer patients and their significant others at the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center and Christiana Hospital. A central focus of mine concerns the effectiveness of daily supportive transactions between patients and their significant others as well as changes in relationship functioning and psychological adjustment in the months following cancer treatment. Our lab uses electronic daily diaries to examine these processes. This type of design permits us to construct statistical models that take into account the reciprocal nature of daily supportive transactions using multilevel modeling analytic techniques (i.e., HLM). In addition to research, I am completing supervised clinical practica at the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center working individually with cancer patients and also with patients and their spouses in a group therapy setting.

I found the move from undergraduate to graduate school was an uncomplicated transition; this was in great respect due to the research preparation I received as a COR student. Under the supervision of Dr. Carrie Saetermoe, the COR program provided me with a stringent academic course plan in advanced research methods, professional development courses in graduate studies, summer research internships, and opportunities to attend professional conferences. COR equipped me with the research training necessary for a doctoral training program.