My Academic Goals And Research Interests

My experience as a military child, a military wife and working as a nurse in naval hospitals have been one of my most fundamental means of learning. Little did I know how my own experiences were shaping who I would become today. As an adult, I have fulfilled my passion of becoming a nurse, served patients with utmost care, and gained 19 years of valuable experience. Throughout the years, my extensive work in clinical and psychiatric nursing is what cemented my desire to pursue a Master’s Degree in Psychology; I wanted to learn beyond the general psychiatric symptoms that I treated as a nurse.

The decision to transition from a successful nursing career to a career in psychology was based on my own intellectual appetite and aspirations that consistently revolved around human behavior and the broader theme of behavior research.

I often reflect on how my experience as an undergraduate at Old Dominion University has been replete with stimulating opportunities and how education at ODU has prepared me well for my chosen career.

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As a sophomore, I received the Evon Broderick Award for my commitment to university and community service, and as a junior, I received the Lettie Pate Whitehead Scholarship for my grades. Now a senior, I am currently an Undergraduate Research Lab Assistant in the Human Factors: Applied Cognitive Performance Laboratory with Dr. Yamani and I am a Teaching Assistant for Dr. Jason Parker.

My research in Dr. Yamani’s lab examines the effect of modality on automation trust and the development of perceptual and cognitive processes that constrain human performance in applied domains.

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As a research lab assistant, I will have gained an indispensable experience that will help me understand how sensory information translates into a behavioral response and how our instinct to trust can override logic. I chose this lab because of its contribution to my future academic and career goals. While I will not be pursing Human Factors, it is important to understand human cognition and our interactions with our environment. The opportunity to have fine-tuned my skills in research, prepare for conference presentations, as well as developing higher skills that encourage appropriateness in trust reliance are measures that I could not have gained through textbook readings alone.

Before I became Dr. Parker’s teaching assistant, I was first his student. It was through his Biological Psychology course that I developed an obsession with psychophysiology. I began to understand, in great depth, just how the brain inspires health, or more specifically, how the limbic system affects our human emotions, which then guide our cognitive processes and facilitate memory. What I find so intriguing is how a human’s higher-level processes can be influenced by underlying emotional systems. I found myself questioning how complex reasoning and decision-making abilities are manipulated by emotional responses. I wanted to know if I, as a psychologist, could potentially reverse that process in order to manipulate one’s automatic attention; reframing the brain’s detection of behaviorally relevant and salient stimuli. As a student, this exhilarating train of thought was incredibly salubrious for my academic motivations. My stimulated hunger to learn has continued to flourish as Dr. Parker’s Teaching Assistant. I have encouraged discussions and debates amongst students that have challenged my assumptions, demanding me to achieve a deeper knowledge in psychology. The application of critical thinking skills has been crucial when answering students’ questions and acting as a facilitator in conquering their course related learning obstacles. In addition to Dr. Parker helping me refine the instructional skills necessary to become a valuable resource for students, I am grateful for the collegial relationships I have developed with other professors on campus.

ODU’s psychology department has been a medium for conveying my passion for psychology and is a special place I very much hope to find myself as a graduate student. My desire is to acquire a comprehensive background in health psychology that will fully prepare me for my doctoral program. With great appreciation and zeal, I find that Old Dominion University’s Master of Science in Experimental Psychology graduate program embodies and promotes my interests.

My goal as a graduate student is that through extensive research, I hope to harness the knowledge-based expertise necessary to build upon psychological theories to best analyze and disseminate effective solutions. I believe that Dr Judah would be an excellent choice for my graduate studies mentorship because the majority of his work revolves around similar topics. My personal research interests on how common emotional states relate to psychophysiological disorders are examples of the topics that have catapulted my interests of behavior research.

I am particularly interested in his research in emotion and psychophysiology because it closely coincides with my personal interests in the field. I would like to conduct graduate research in areas such as moral injury and how suffering reduces cognition, which parallels his work in military psychology. I believe that his expertise would be of great value to my future.

I believe that my academic achievements and proficiencies truly showcase my commitment to the university and my areas of involvement. As a graduate student, I would like to provide the mentorship and motivation that I have been given at Old Dominion University to other students. My desire is to pass along my expertise attained as an ODU student as my contribution to the already recognized value of the psychology department. My hope as an undergraduate is to have earned the privilege of continuing my education and earning my master’s degree at Old Dominion University. 


Updated: Feb 04, 2022
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My Academic Goals And Research Interests essay
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