[VIDEO] Undergraduate Research: Exploring Concussions
Behavioral neuroscience majors Lola Fakunle ’18 and Carter Baughman ’17 are among a group of students working with Associate Professor of Behavioral Neuroscience KatieAnn Skogsberg this semester to study a correlation between concussions and attention spans.
By measuring brain waves in both concussed and non-concussed participants—particularly a brainwave called the P300, which usually grows as a person’s attention focuses—the students hope their research will contribute to a better understanding of the lasting impact concussions can have on general brain function.
Skogsberg knows that the intangible outcomes of research projects like these are just as important to students as the statistical results.
“By taking ownership of the project and really becoming invested in the outcomes, students develop a much deeper understanding and appreciation for the challenges, nuances and complexities of the field they are studying,” Skogsberg says.
The students involved with the research appreciate the autonomy Skogsberg has allowed them, and they also have enjoyed seeing what they learn in class be applied practically.
“When you’re learning from a lecture, some things may not seem real,” says Fakunle. “But I think that by getting on the ground and running participants and seeing how the data plays out in real life, it makes the lessons that you learn in class actually real.”
Skogsberg anticipates that such hands-on research will have a lasting impact on her students.
“The broader outcome from this experience is that our students are learning to be independent and analytical thinkers,” she says. “I hope that, long after they have graduated, these students continue to use the skills they learned in my research lab to think critically about whatever problems they are trying to solve.”
The opportunity to complete a research project or an internship is promised to students as part of the Centre Commitment, which also guarantees graduation in four years as well as the chance to study abroad.
by Elizabeth Trollinger
March 3, 2016