Lab alumuna Andrea Jones, currently a doctoral candidate at the Interdisciplinary PhD in Aging Studies Program at Tulane University, reports that she has recently passed her qualifying exams. Her dissertation proposal is entitled "Association between Altered Hippocampal Signaling and Age-related Memory Impairment".
We present our recent analyses on the Narrative, Aging and Wisdom study at the 66th annual meeting for the Gerontological Society of America, with Dr. Lydia Manning (Concordia U Chicago) as lead author.
The Change Detection and Aging experiment is now open for testing. Younger adults (18-30 yrs) and older adults (60+) are welcome to contact Dr. Costello to participate. IUSB students can receive course credit (worth 15 pts), and older adults can earn $15. See here for details, and here for signups.
We presented our work on the Embodied Cognition and Aging (ECA) project at Vision Sciences Society in Naples, Fl.
The lab welcomes two new research assistants, Amber Hilton and Krista Ream. Amber, a recent graduate of IUSB and a psychology major, will be applying for graduate school in the fall. Krista is a rising junior at IUSB and a psychology major. Both are happily welcomed into the lab!
Nicholas Panting leaves the lab, after two years of excellent work on the Embodied Cognition and Aging (ECA) and the Visual Simulation and Aging (VSA) projects. Nicholas' work on these projects was essential to their development. In particular, his work on the ECA project was outstanding. Nicholas was a co-author on our VSS poster, and without his help the project would never have reached its completion stage. Nicholas graduates from IUSB in May with strong academic honors, and will be attending graduate school at Chatham University in the fall of 2013.
Mitch Kajzer, former RA, is now a doctoral student at the University of Notre Dame. Mitch kindly sends us some notes about his first semester in graduate school:
"My first semester of graduate school was very busy and went unbelievably fast. Until I was immersed in the graduate environment, I didn't fully appreciate the differences between undergraduate and graduate school. Graduate school is essentially a job. I am typically on campus at least five days a week, nine hours a day. I found that it is best to think of it as a job as opposed to going to school.The course load is not overbearing but the material is intense and fast-moving. I was really struck by the fact of how much the professors want the graduate students to succeed. They go out of their way to help in any way that they can (such as bringing us food on test days!). They really convey the impression that they are your friends and want to help in any way that they can.
Research has dominated most of my time during the first semester. I was fortunate in that I had very specific research ideas when I entered graduate school, but that is not expected. I am concurrently the PI on three research projects and assisting on another five projects. All of the projects involve psychology and technology, but each is looking at something very different. The diversity of topics being researched varies greatly and that has contributed so much to my learning.
The lab that I am working in has two graduate students and 13 undergraduate research assistants. Part of the responsibilities of the graduate students is organizing and coordinating all of the undergraduate RA schedules and the participant schedules for the studies. In the first semester, we ran over 600 participants through experiments in the lab and I had a poster accepted for presentation at the Association for Psychological Science Convention in Washington, DC.
Reading and writing has also been non-stop. My biggest piece of advice for anyone considering graduate school is to make sure that you enjoy (or at least tolerate) writing. In one semester, I wrote a paper, a poster, two fellowships, and five small grants. It seemed like I was constantly writing and I still feel that I am a little behind on some of the writing!
Given the intensity of the graduate program, Notre Dame has done a great job of making sure that the students do more than just school work. There are weekly gatherings, events, parties, etc. sponsored by the university or held impromptu by other students. This ensures that the students have an opportunity to focus on more than just school. Add to that the success of the football team this year and it has been a great time to be on campus!
When the semester began, one of my professors gave all of the 1st Year students a great piece of advice. He said that at some point, every one of us will feel lost, confused, overwhelmed, and have the feeling that everyone else there is smarter than us and wonder how we even got accepted into graduate school. We shouldn't worry about that because every student goes through it and the professors have full confidence in all of us. That has really stuck with me as I reached many points of confusion.
Now that the first semester is behind me, I am really looking forward to continuing. We already have plans to try to add three additional studies in the lab this semester. The non-stop pace of research and course work will continue, which in turn contributes to a great learning environment."
- Thanks for the update, Mitch!
The Cognitive Aging Lab heads to San Diego for the 65th Annual meeting for the Gerontological Society of America. Our lab will be presenting a poster on our Narrative, Aging and Wisdom study.
Lab RA Nicholas Panting recieved the Frank O'Bannon Grant for Higher Education - Congratulations!
Congratulations to our graduating RAs - Ashley Hilliker, Michelle Anastasio and Mitch Kajzer. Ashley will continue to work in the lab and will be serving as IUSB Assistant Psychology Lab Coordinator for the next year. Michelle has been accepted into the IUSB MSW graduate program (congrats!!). Mitch will be starting up in the fall at Notre Dame. In related news, the South Bend Tribune ran a wonderful story on Mitch:
Also, welcome aboard to Sarah Ratkiewicz, our newest member of the Cognitive Aging Lab team! Sarah is an honor's student whose interests are directed towards social cognition.
Lab RAs Ashley Hilliker, Michelle Anastasio, and Austin Blue have won some key academic awards. Ashley won both the IUSB Excellence in Psychology award and the IUSB Service award. Michelle won for best Social Science Presentation at the 2012 IUSB Undergraduate Research Conference. Austin won a best paper award for the IUSB Women and Gender Studies student writing contest. Excellent job, LabMates!
Dr. Lydia Manning, postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Aging at Duke University, has joined the research team. Lydia will be assisting in data analysis in the Narrative, Aging and Wisdom study. We are happy to welcome Lydia to our group, and are very appreciative of her efforts.
Mitch Kajzer, former lab RA, has been recently accepted into the Ph.D. program of Cognition, Brain & Behavior at the University of Notre Dame. Mitch will be working at the eMotion and eCognition Lab under the direction of Dr. Charles Crowell. Well done, Mitch!
Andrea Jones, former lab RA and now at Tulane University, writes about her graduate school experience:
"Well the first semester of graduate school is coming to a close and I cannot believe how fast it went. It has been a really exciting time. I’m amazed at all that I have done, seen and learned. The material is interesting and not as difficult as my imagination led me to believe. I thought it would be non-stop work, exams and papers. While I do have that sometimes, it is far from constant (except for reading…that never ends). I am taking classes and reading (even understanding) material I never thought I would such as: Cellular Biology, biological mechanisms of aging, and Themes in Mortality and Health. Even when I do not understand something that is presented the professors are very kind, patient and generous with their time and knowledge. It is a very different experience than I expected although, not unlike what I encountered at IUSB.
I guess the moral of the 1st semester is: While I have gained a lot of “traditional” knowledge, the greatest thing I have gained is an open mind. My advice to anyone thinking about graduate school is: “stay open to whatever comes your way.” Never in a million years did I imagine myself being interested in the biological processes of aging but they presented themselves and I am taking full advantage of it! Graduate school is a whole new world of opportunity. Most of us enter with some preconceived notions of what we will do because we think that is all we CAN do. I beg to differ. Stay flexible and try to absorb as many different concepts and ideas as they will allow (they will usually allow many). You will be amazed at all that you can achieve with an open mind.
One last thing, research is very important but having a study idea in hand when you enter is not what they expect. Like I mentioned, I thought I knew exactly what I wanted to research but they exposed me to many ideas and now my initial path has changed slightly (and probably will again before I am done). So again, knowing what you want is great but don’t let it get in the way of taking in new ideas and trying new paths."
Thanks for the update, Andrea! We wish you the best!!