Where They’re Headed: Emily Ferguson ’15

Emily Ferguson ’15 will be working at the Center for Autism Research at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Emily Ferguson (second from right) with her Carousel Connections colleagues.

Emily Ferguson ’15 is starting a job as a clinical research coordinator at the Center for Autism Research at the Children’s Hospital of  Philadelphia (CHOP). In her work there, Ferguson will travel to various Philadelphia preschools to monitor the language development of children on the autism spectrum with the goal of identifying the best type of classroom environment for them.

She learned about the Center from her psychology advisor, Visiting Assistant Professor Seth Gillihan, after mentioning her interest in studying autism. Ferguson first developed that interest working for Carousel Connections, a camp for young adults with special needs run by two alumni on Haverford’s campus. Ferguson worked as a job coach at Carousel Connections for the past two summers.

“As a current Haverford student, I was able to introduce participants to campus and empower them with vocational skills related to traditional campus jobs,” she says. “Working with the program also deepened my commitment to working with individuals with special needs, and this is work that I want to continue into the future.”

Ferguson wrote her senior thesis on what Facebook can reveal about family relationships. “ I talked about my thesis a lot in my interview at CHOP,” says Ferguson, “It was interesting to them that I was in the process of engaging in a yearlong empirical study. I was able to talk about data collection and analysis because I was in the process.”

After her two-year research assistantship, Ferguson hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology, but only if it allows her to continue working directly with children on the spectrum. “I wouldn’t want to just do research,” she says.

—Jack Hasler ’15

“Where They’re Headed” is a blog series reporting on the post-collegiate plans of recent Haverford graduates.