Meet Arica Lerdahl


Arica Lerdahl, Clinical Research Assistant


I was born and raised in Omaha, Neb.


I attended the University of Nebraska- Lincoln where I obtained my Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences and minors in Psychology, Biochemistry and Spanish. While in school, I also obtained my Certified Nursing Assistant license to gain some firsthand experience working with patients.  

What is your current profession and how long have you been working in this field?

I started working as a clinical research assistant in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) in March 2018.

How did you become interested psychology?

In high school, I had a really great psychology teacher that piqued my interest in psychology. Throughout college, I took several psychology courses and attended the summer BHECN College Ambassador Program. I became very interested in child psychology after hearing from several speakers and doing some shadowing during the summer program.

What type of work are you currently doing, and what do you enjoy most about your work?

I am working as a clinical research assistant for Dr. Soonjo Hwang. Currently, my main focus is subject recruitment and organizing data for a study we are working on. I am also in the process of learning how to conduct some of the testing and help with MEG and MRI scans. My current position is the perfect combination of my interests in research, psychology and working with children and adolescents.

What are your long-term career aspirations?

I have always had a passion for helping people and working with children. In the near future, I would like to attend school to become a physician assistant. After graduating, I want to continue to work with children as a pediatric physician assistant or a child and adolescent psychiatry physician assistant.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I have a newborn son, and most of my time is spent taking care of him. When he is sleeping, I enjoy baking, reading, completing DIY projects and playing with our three dogs. My husband and I also like to do DIY home projects together. We recently refinished our kitchen and reupholstered an ottoman together.

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