Q: How did you get started doing relationship research?
A: I began studying relationships in my senior year of my undergraduate studies. I chose to complete an honors degree, and that required finding a professor who would supervise an honors research project. I was extremely fortunate to have the chance to work with one of the top researchers in the field of human sexuality, Dr. Sandra Byers, and she helped me develop, implement, analyze and ultimately publish my first study of sexual relationships. Working with her was fortuitous on a number of levels: I had not considered working in this area before, but we realized that we had a good “fit” in our approach to work. Other students were interested in working with her, but I lucked out. It was also the start of a career-long collaborative relationship. From this experience, I honed my research interests and a range of skills that served me well in graduate school. Most importantly, however, I committed myself to a career as a researcher studying sexual relationships, one that has proven difficult over the years, especially given its “outlaw status” in many areas of the field of Psychology, yet one that has been an incredibly rewarding area in which to focus. I am one of the few people I know who remains passionate about my work year after year.
Lucia F. O'Sullivan, Ph.D.
University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, Canada