Rachel Renbarger, an educational psychology doctoral student at Baylor, is in the midst of a six-month data-analysis internship in Paris with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
The OECD offers many internships — 40 in education alone. However, Renbarger was the only intern selected as a data analyst for the study on social and emotional skills. “Day to day, I’ll be doing a lot of teamwork and a lot of collaboration,” Renbarger said.
During her time working on the study, the main focus is on field data – working to make sure that everything is set to run smoothly later in the study. “I think it’s going to be really great to collaborate with people who are from outside the U.S., because I haven’t done that before,” Renbarger said.
Renbarger will be analyzing the relationship between student grades and demographic variables in order to construct the variable for socioeconomic status. Additionally, Renbarger will be working to refine the parent and student questionnaires, update brochures and write internal reports for advisory and technical groups.
Renbarger has been waiting for this opportunity since she originally heard about a few years ago. “I was at the American Educational Research Association conference where someone was presenting on a data set that I thought was really cool,” Renbarger said. “He was able to do this research because of his experience as a data analyst intern with the OECD.”
At Baylor, Renbarger does research on quantitative methodology and human development. This year Renbarger has also been busy working on her dissertation. She attends a writing group, conducts research meetings, and tries to read as much as possible in the in-between moments. Renbarger is also president of the Baylor Graduate Student Association.
While she loves her work at Baylor, Renbarger was extremely excited to begin this new chapter. She was looking forward to collaborating with fellow researchers and of course, having her fair share of Parisian food. “I’m excited about all of the cheese and baguettes,” Renbarger said.
Though she has visited Paris multiple times, she was eager for the new challenges that come from living in a different country for six months, and she learned as much French as she could in preparation for her trip. “I love travelling abroad,” Renbarger said. “I get antsy being in the States for too long.”
As she began her adventure, Renbarger’s main concern was that she would love her time in Paris with the OECD too much. “I’m a little worried that I won’t want to come home,” Renbarger said.
Renbarger will return from her internship in August, when she will become a full-time lecturer at Baylor.
—By Andi Risk
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