Trinity University, San Antonio | News Release



CONTACT: Susie P. Gonzalez

Jan. 13, 2011




Mind Science Foundation Awards Grant to Trinity University Students Seeking to Sharpen Scientific Inquiry Skills  


SAN ANTONIO – Students majoring in biology, neuroscience, and psychology at Trinity University are getting a taste of research, thanks to funding from the San Antonio-based Mind Science Foundation.


Trinity students participating in research programs funded by the Mind Science include, from left, Tarick Megahed, neuroscience major from Houston; Gilad “Gil” Poplinger, psychology major from Houston; Melanie Sweeney, neuroscience major from Houston; and Nicholas Holder, neuroscience and psychology major from South Lake, Texas.
The foundation has given Trinity $5,000 to launch a program for improving students’ understanding of scientific inquiry about the mind and in preparation for advanced study. The gift is being segmented into microgrants allowing a host of students not only to review grant proposals but also to conduct research on what professors describe as small projects.


“The Mind Science Foundation is committed to inspiring promising young researchers as they seek to unlock the secrets of the mind, brain, and consciousness,” said Paul T. Ingmundson, Ph.D. executive director of the foundation. He said the Trinity program is a pilot project –featuring small, targeted microgrants – that may be replicated at other undergraduate institutions in the region.


Among the Trinity student researchers is Nicholas Holder, a junior from South Lake, Texas, majoring in neuroscience and psychology, who has studied cleansing habits of capuchin monkeys under the direction of Assistant Professor Kimberley Phillips. He plans to use his microgrant to complete work for a scholarly article to be published in the American Journal of Primatology, before applying to graduate school to become a clinical psychologist.


Melanie Sweeney, a junior from Houston majoring in neuroscience, also is working with Phillips but on a different project involving eye-tracking behaviors of monkeys. Sweeney wants to go to medical school, where she said the “taste of research” she has gotten at Trinity will pay off. 


Gilad “Gil” Poplinger, a senior from Houston majoring in psychology, is working with Assistant Professor Kevin McIntyre to examine the links between persuasion and memory. Because he hopes to become a therapist, Poplinger said it is important to grasp the way research informs clinical practice.


Carol Yoder, professor and chair of psychology at Trinity, said the peer proposal review process has been valuable for students who might consider a grant-funding career at a broader level. She said Trinity’s review process has been modeled after specifications of the National Institutes of Health.


Other professors involved include psychology Professor Paula Hertel and James Roberts, the Cowles Professor of Life Sciences.




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