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Meet Our Undergraduate Fellows

CLASS OF 2023-2024


"As a research assistant in the Hamann Cognitive Neuroscience Lab, I am part of a novel research program using representational similarity analysis to investigate the neural basis of taboo word processing. This topic has introduced me to the complex and valuable nature of interdisciplinary collaborations between researchers. In designing the experimental paradigm, no one researcher fully understands the auditory, cognitive, and neural aspects that affect taboo word perception. Therefore, input from linguists, cognitive neuroscientists and psychologists all shaped the final paradigm. While at the lab, I also contributed to various projects, including an honors thesis and experiments from graduate students. These experiences have emphasized the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration as well as introduced me to methods and literature in psychology and neuroscience.

In addition, I am involved in two ongoing projects that reflect my interests in transdisciplinarity and philosophy of science. With Dr. Mark Risjord in the philosophy department, I am developing an honors thesis using the Center for Academic Research & Training in Anthropogeny (CARTA) as a case study to investigate the epistemic and social characteristics and limitations of inter- and transdisciplinary ventures. I was introduced to CARTA from a CMBC email invite, and I credit the Center for leading me to this research topic. The existing relevant literature is thin, so this project is challenging me to think creatively and rigorously in the development of concepts and ideas relevant to the philosophy of disciplinarity."

Research Project
"“Dimensions of Disciplinarity”



"As a senior double majoring in Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology and Music Composition on the Pre-Medical track, I have strived to extend my academic interests beyond traditional boundaries. Studying under Dr. Katherine Young for composition and Professor Yinzi Kong for viola, I have been privileged to actively participate in various ensembles at Emory, notably the Emory University Symphony Orchestra. Parallel to my passion for music, I have delved into neuroscience at the Hackney Lab in the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center, researching the neuroprotective attributes of tango music and partnered dance areobic exercise for Parkinson’s Disease patients. My forthcoming research merges my extensive understanding of neuroscience with the nuances of musical composition, with a focus on the complex interplay of music-induced emotions.

My honors thesis, “Musical Minds,” comprises two components: a written thesis and music composition. Informed by neural imaging studies on the brain’s emotional response to music, as well as by studies in music cognition and theory on this topic, I will write a string quartet, Imolara, in which each movement is intended to evoke the emotions of fear, sorrow, anger, and joy. The written aspect of my thesis will explore the topic of music and emotions from a theoretical perspective, a neurobiological perspective, and the methodology and analysis of Imolara. Through this honors thesis, I anticipate deepening my understanding of the intricate connection between music and human emotion, ultimately enriching my experiences as a student of the arts and sciences."

Research Project
"Musical Minds: Exploring the Connection Between Music and Emotions"


"I am passionate about research and have had diverse experiences in different disciplines. I currently study neurodevelopmental lead toxicity in human stem cell derived cortical organoids in the Sloan Lab at Emory University School of Medicine. I am also part of the Hope 2 Action study at Rollins School of Public Health that investigates trauma-informed care practices for HIV patients with a history of violence. These experiences bolstered my curiosity, equipped me with skills to ask novel questions, and demonstrated to me the transforming, lasting impact research can have.  

My experiences with these projects and extremely supportive mentors lead me to pursue my own project through an Interdisciplinary Studies (IDS) Senior Thesis. My IDS Honors Thesis is entitled Compassion Meditation Training for Prehospital Providers: A Proactive Approach to Psychological Wellbeing. 

When a loved one is having a medical emergency, you dial 911 and depend on the fact that medical professionals will show up at your doorstep to provide competent, dependable, life-saving care. What might not cross your mind, however, is how these EMS professionals are alarmingly underpaid, overworked, and often experience severe mental health challenges. Thus, my thesis deals with examining the factors that contribute to Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) burnout, secondary traumatic stress, and compassion fatigue, while trying to mitigate them using a compassion meditation protocol.  

Specifically, this work will be done using Cognitively Based Compassion Training (CBCT). CBCT is based on Tibetan lojong practices and has been designed and secularized at Emory by Geshe Lobsang Tenzin Negi, Ph.D. The group of interest will be Emory Emergency Medical Services (EEMS), which is a student led and operated volunteer EMS agency that provides 911 first responder services to Emory University and the surrounding community.  By combining aspects of anthropology, Tibetan studies, public health, and psychology, I hope to improve conditions for prehospital providers, their patients, and beyond."  

Research Project
"Compassion Meditation to Improve Psychological Wellbeing Among Volunteer Collegiate Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs)"

CLASS OF 2022-2023



"Over my undergraduate career, I was drawn to the theory of economics, the technicalities behind computer science, the nuances within semantics in linguistics, and the human-centered focus of psychology. With my background in macroeconomics and influences from linguistics, psychology, and computer science, I hope to analyze how temporal statements on Twitter mold the consumer narrative and thus affect macroeconomic indicators of household spending and savings during COVID-19I will dive deep into how Narrative Economics and Identity Economics altered traditional approaches to predicting macroeconomic outcomes and plan to use temporal classifiers to analyze text on Twitter during the time span of COVID-19 starting from the first case in China to the end of 2022With a temporal classifier, I am able to track consumers’ anticipation of the beginnings and endings of COVID-19 surges and use that data to analyze correlations to consumer spending and saving. I seek to combine these micro insights with macroeconomic models to fine-tune predictions of household spending and saving to analyze how that affects the macroeconomic outlook during the uncertain times of COVID-19.   With the guidance of distinguished Emory computer science and economics faculty, I seek to build upon the field of narrative economics grounded in linguistics and cognitive sciences in a more operationalizable manner." 



"During my fellowship, I will pursue a project entitled “Investigating the effect of modern dance on cortical activation during reactive balance.  My motivation comes from my fascination in the neuroscience of movement that is rooted in my obsession with dance. While performing, I found myself asking questions about how the brain can control such intricate movement. Wanting to understand the complex interplay between the nervous system and musculoskeletal system is what drew me to neuroscience research. Dancing with the Emory Dance Company (EDC) has allowed me to continue to pursue modern dance at a high level while also having access to the research I have been interested in through dance. I wish to determine whether skilled professional dancers recruit cortical resources during a difficult balance task compared to those who are untrained. I hypothesize that since dancers have gone through extensive training to allow for their brain to control complex movements, they have stronger automatic control of balance. Therefore, dancers will not recruit cortical resources during reactive balance control compared to nondancers. I also predict that dancers will show less cortical engagement than non-dancers to maintain balance following a perturbation when balance difficulty increases."  



"As a neuroscience and behavioral biology major and an ethics minor, I intend to complete an honors thesis project in the NBB department to explore how we may apply a feminist bioethics framework to the novel field of neurorightsI intend to partner with the NIH BRAIN Initiative’s Neuroethics Working Group to design and implement a public engagement experience related to neurorights that integrates feminist and cross-cultural perspectives into the process of setting legal guidelines for neuroethical issues. This project is an opportunity to combine my interdisciplinary interests in feminism, neuroscience, ethics, and public education.   I have become increasingly involved in neuroethics and neurofeminism research and have conducted research on the intersections of feminist neuroscience, post-colonialism, and reproductive justice as it relates to sexual differentiation and understandings of sex differences in the brain." 



"As an interdisciplinary scholar double majoring in neuroscience and behavioral biology and computer science, I am motivated by an interest in understanding the cognitive and affective deficits that arise in disorders of the mind.   During my time at Emory, I have taken courses in neurophysiology, behavioral genetics, and systems neuroscience to understand the biological basis of human memory and cognition. Furthermore, I have developed a keen interest in the application of computational tools and technologies to record, analyze, and model cognitive phenomena.  Through research experiences, I have developed experimental paradigms to study the multimodal aspects of memory and familiarity. Specifically, my project seeks to understand the neural correlates of déjà vu, a metacognitive memory phenomenon, using immersive virtual reality paired with intracranial electrophysiology. This research project enables me to collaborate with neurologists, psychologists, and philosophers to ask fundamental questions about how the mechanisms that mediate familiarity memory inform our understanding of consciousness." 


CLASS OF 2021-2022


Angela is a senior from Edison, New Jersey majoring in linguistics and mathematics. She is a member of Dr. Yun Kim and Dr. Jinho Choi’s Language Acquisition and Natural Language Processing labs, in which she has pursued projects in psycholinguistics, fieldwork, and meaning representation. This summer, she is attending an REU hosted by Stanford CSLI, where she will be contributing to work on abstracting causal models under the guidance of Dr. Thomas Icard. During the upcoming school year, she will be completing a senior thesis formalizing inference calculation for dialogue systems. In her free time, Angela enjoys reading fiction and spending time with friends and family. 

Research Project
"An Analysis of Causal Language Constructions in Diverse Discourse Data"



Megan is a senior in the college studying Neuroscience and Behavioral Biology. She started doing sociolinguistic research on folktales from different cultures using natural language processing with Dr. Franzosi last year and is excited to continue to use NLP tools in future research. She also researched social behavior in Dr. Maney’s Bird Brain Lab. She is grateful for the many directions her research has taken her at Emory and looks forward to finding more connections between neuroscience, language, and sociology. Outside of academics, she does virtual mentoring, plays ultimate frisbee, and is a student leader at Bread Coffeehouse.

Research Project
"Behavioral responses to social tutoring in male Bengalese finches"



Caroline (Hyung Seo) is a rising senior majoring in psychology and minoring in quantitative sciences. She is from Seoul, South Korea, but also grew up in Jakarta, Indonesia and Pottstown, PA. She is an undergraduate research assistant at the Personality Research Lab, where she explores the assessment and behavioral implications of intellectual humility, as well as the relationships between personality, psychopathology, and behaviors more broadly. She also conducts research with the Lebowitz Lab (Yale) and the Junior Researcher Programme, and will serve as the incoming editor-in-chief for the Emory Undergraduate Research Journal. Outside of academics, she also enjoys Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, weightlifting with the Emory Weightlifting Club, and visiting new cafés around Atlanta. 

Research Project
"The Influence of Psychopathic Traits and Affective Feedback on Cooperation in the Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma"



Calen is a senior from Palmetto, Florida majoring in Neuroscience & Behavioral Biology and English & Creative Writing. His undergraduate research is concerned with language evolution in humans and non-human primates and he is specifically interested in how a language's transmission shapes its evolution. Outside of research, he writes all manner of fiction and is working on a creative writing honors thesis exploring body politics in the American south. He is also a member of the Emory crew team, an IDEAS fellow, a SIRE peer mentor, and a Resident Advisor.

Research Project
"Language evolution stagnates in a single-participant iterated learning experiment"

Inaugural CLASS OF 2020-2021


Isabella is a junior from Atlanta, Georgia, studying anthropology and human biology on the pre-health track. She is currently an undergraduate research assistant at the Wesley Woods Health Center and plans to investigate end-of-life perceptions among couples aging together in assisted living for her senior honors project. 

She is an Emory tour guide, a learning assistant (LA) in introductory biology classes, and a volunteer at Grady Memorial Hospital in the senior services division. She also enjoys knitting, swimming on Emory’s club swim team, and being involved with Emory Hillel.

Research Project
"End-of-Life Perspectives Among Couples Aging Together in Assisted Living: A Narrative Approach"



Tania Ndirangu was born in Kenya but grew up in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. She is majoring in Comparative Literature and English. Her main research interests include postcolonial studies, posthuman studies, and critical race theory -- much of which was spurred by a recent internship at the Zanzibar Heritage Society. Her other interests include Russian literature and literary theory. Her hobbies include reading and writing fiction, though she occasionally dabbles in poetry.

She is currently a reviewer at the Emory Journal of Society, Politics, and Ethics (SPE) where she works to encourage and share meaningful student scholarship. In pursuing her research interest she hopes to imagine more ethical and expansive modes of human relation.

Research Project
"A Humble Warning to the Residents of Ol Kalou"



Alec is an aspiring biomedical researcher from Decatur, Georgia. He is majoring in Applied Mathematics and Statistics at Emory and will begin a joint masters program in Biostatistics at Rollins in the fall. He is interested in developing and applying statistical theory to improve neurodevelopmental outcomes in children, and is currently working at Marcus Autism Center.

Following graduation, he hopes to pursue an MD-PhD and ultimately obtain a research position in pediatrics at an academic or public health setting. Outside of academics, Alec is also an avid singer-songwriter and is in the process of recording his debut studio album.

Research Project
"Recursive Phase Estimation with Applications to Heartbeat Processing"



Daphne is a rising senior from Hanover, PA studying neuroscience and linguistics. She became involved in research at Oxford where she studied the effect of alcohol on second language acquisition. She then joined Dr. Nygaard's Speech and Language Perception Lab, where she currently explores prosodic correlates to meaning. This summer, she is thrilled to be joining a lab at Stanford's Center for Study of Language and Information to continue researching language and cognition.

Outside of academics, she is a freelance writer and tutors for the Emory Writing Center. She is also a bit of a theater geek, having directed two productions at Oxford and attended countless others. She can often be found lounging in the Matheson Reading Room, trying new teas at the Depot, or doing yoga outside Clairmont. After graduation, Daphne hopes to spend a year studying a master's degree abroad before jumping into a doctoral program.

Research Project
"Speaking Big and Small: Integrating Prosodic Size and Meaning in Spoken Language"