A Postcard From: Samantha Plate ’17

IMG_0288 - Version 2Name: Samantha Plate

Year: 2017

Major: Psychology 

What’s happening? We’d love to hear how your internship is going!

This summer I am interning at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia in their Center for Autism Research (CAR). I have been working on the language-motor team there helping to develop and code data for studies focused on language development in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

So far I’ve spent most of my time working on the Infant Brain Imaging Study, a longitudinal study that has collected data from infants with both high and low risk for ASD. For this project I have been watching videos of 24-month children who were either later diagnosed with ASD or are thought to be typically developing. I code these videos for all communication: speech sounds, non-speech sounds, and gestures. The goal of this project is to look for early markers of different ASD phenotypes. I am currently developing a small project within this study that is looking at the differences in positive (laughing) and negative (crying, whining, fussing) affective non-speech sounds between children later diagnosed with ASD and typically developing children.


I have also had the opportunity to learn about and work on several other projects at CAR. I also attend weekly meetings with the other CAR interns where we get to hear from various staff members and guest speakers. In the picture above, the Language Team interns all took a field trip down to the new Buerger Center at CHOP, where we got to tour the Center for Childhood Communication and speak with speech-language pathologists.

The hallways of CAR are filled with artwork made by children with ASD. I love coming up the elevator every morning and seeing all of these beautiful pieces. The picture below is of one of my favorites.

sam2How I heard about my internship:

I spoke to my thesis advisor about doing research for my senior thesis and she suggested I e-mail some of the researchers at CAR to see if any of them were looking for summer interns. I got put in contact with Dr. Julia Parish-Morris and after hearing about her work I knew I wanted to work on her team. I am excited to continue working in collaboration with CAR to turn my summer project into my senior thesis.