Psychology Major Lands Summer Fellowship

May 05, 2010

Pscyhology_Major The subjects of psychology and behavior have fascinated Adaixa Padron since a psychology class in high school in Tampa, Florida.

“I love the brain,” the enthusiastic junior explained, adding, “there’s so much to study: behavior and the neurology behind it, it’s a growing field. It’s pretty much wide open.”

Padron started as a Bachelor of Arts degree candidate in psychology when she enrolled at Saint Leo, but switched to the new Bachelor of Science program when that option became available in the 2009-2010 academic year. The additional research courses required for the B.S. degree fit well with the young woman’s ambitions to go on to graduate school and earn a doctorate.

Her interest and ambition made her a prime candidate for a paid fellowship program for minority students at the University of West Georgia in May and June. This is only the second year of the program, and its existence was a surprise to her––she discovered it through academic mentors.

Heather Parker, Ph.D., chair of the Social Sciences Department in the School of Arts and Sciences, received information about the opportunity, specifically for minority students in biology, computer science, English, history, nursing, psychology and sociology.  Parker circulated the information among colleagues, including Shannon Greer, the assistant director of academic student support services. Greer happens to oversee paid student tutors including Padron, a part-time tutor for classes in psychology and Spanish (the language she learned and spoke in her native Cuba and during her early childhood when she and her parents first moved to the United States). Greer encouraged Padron to check out the fellowship. At the end of March Padron learned she had been accepted.

At the University of West Georgia, Padron and seven other undergraduates will be assigned to teams, and she is eager to see what the research assignments will be. Student housing is provided at no cost, and participants receive a $3,000 stipend. Additionally, each student receives $1,150 for meals and a $200 travel allowance. The program begins May 16.

Other Saint Leo students should be excited about Padron’s experience too, because her fellowship is only one example of the possibilities open to students, Parker said, especially when students keep in touch with their academic advisors about their interests. “Opportunities like this are available for minority students every year, regardless of academic major,” she said. Parker is collecting information on internships and fellowship programs for minority students and urges undergraduates to contact her for leads. Some programs have deadlines early in the semester or academic year, she noted, so the earlier students let her know they are interested in such programs, the better. She can be reached at heather.parker02@saintleo.edu.