Top 10 Most Valuable Things I’ve Learned as a TAP LAB Undergraduate Research Assistant

I’ve learned so much during my experience as an undergraduate research assistant in TAP lab! Here are just 10 of my favorites things I’ve learned.

1. Effective Communication Skills

Communicating with fellow lab members has made me more responsible because I’ve learned to keep track of and convey collaborative projects and responsibilities. Weekly lab meetings and cooperation on data analysis leads to better understanding of the research in the lab.

2. Staying on track

Understanding goals and organizing steps to achieve them allows us to meet deadlines and assures that everyone has a certain task to complete.

3. It’s okay to not know everything

Within the year that I have been involved in the TAP lab, when one of us doesn’t know something, other lab members are always willing to explain and clarify. We also work together and discuss research questions that are more difficult to conceptualize to collectively gain an informed perspective.

4. Time Management

I manage my time effectively by making a list before I come into lab, so I know what I need to accomplish and what to prioritize.

5. Data Analysis

Learning how to analyze data has been a work-in-progress and still is. I have learned so much, from using different programs such as R Studio to simply backing up the data. I’ve taken classes such as statistics that have taught me about data analysis, but it wasn’t until I applied these skills in this lab, working with data I am involved in collecting and understand, that those concepts clicked and I learned to appreciate their necessity.

6. Relation between Speech Understanding in Noise tasks and Rhythm Production tasks

Investigating the underlying mechanisms of understanding speech in the presence of background noise, specifically relating to rhythm perception and rhythm production capability, is the the part of the lab that I have been primarily working with. There is still much much to do for this project in the lab, and I look forward to continuing to learn more and more about this topic.

7. Music and Language Link

It was very interesting to learn how music and rhythm link with language. I didn’t have much musical knowledge prior to joining the lab and I was delighted and intrigued to realize how how music relates to my own focus areas.

8. Leadership Skills

I’ve learned to take initiative while collecting data and running experiments and I am honored to be part of a highly driven team, doing important research and making influential progress, and sharpening valuable skills that I will utilize in my professional future.

9. Teamwork makes the Dreamwork

We are able to collaborate and share ideas to determine how to best assess questions, as well as divide responsibilities to lead one another in different parts of lab and help each other out on things that we may not understand, ultimately putting our knowledge and hard work together to maintain a productive and influential network.

10. The Bigger Picture

There’s so much to learn in this lab that and the most vital and intriguing part is figuring out how and why things occur and relate. A broad perspective and multiple levels of understanding are extremely valuable. I’ve learned to examine both the “big picture” and less-obvious details.

I’m delighted to have had such an enlightening experience in the lab, and I look forward to sharpening my skills during the upcoming year!


By Klea Doko, Edited by Alyssa Cleland

Klea Doko is an undergraduate research assistant in the Timing, Attention, and Perception lab and a junior Psychology student at Michigan State University.
Klea Doko is an undergraduate research assistant in the Timing, Attention, and Perception lab and a junior Psychology student at Michigan State University.