James Madison University

Senior Award for Achievement in Research

This award is given to senior students who have demonstrated significant achievement in undergraduate research projects.

2018 Award Recipients


Caroline Cole

PHOTO:Caroline Cole
  • Completing an Honors Thesis titled, The Effect of Perceived Dissimilarity of Events on Change Deafness, advised by Dr. Michael Hall
  • Has extensive research experience in three different labs, including Dr. Hall’s lab, Dr. Andre’s lab and Dr. Dyche’s lab, with experience ranging from perceptual interactions between pitch and musical instrument timbre, change deafness, saccadic eye movements while reading, to the effects of sleep deprivation and caffeine administration on psychomotor vigilance tasks in rats
  • Has presented at a national conference, the Society for Neuroscience in Washington DC, as well as regional and local conferences
  • Has extensive research training in ERP software, computer-based eye-tracking devices, analysis of urine samples for norepinephrine, administration of injections in rats, operant boxes and sleep deprivation techniques; these skills span both human and animal populations

Matthew Best

PHOTO:Matthew Best
  • Completing an Honors Thesis titled, The Psychology of Higher Level Performance in Elite Youth Soccer Players, advised by Dr. Monic Reis-Bergan
  • Has been heavily involved in conducting original research projects with Dr. Kenn Barron at the Motivation Research Institute and has also partnered with the University of Virginia’s Motivate Lab, while also conducting his own research in high schools and middle schools aimed at increasing a mastery-oriented culture and growth-mindedness
  • Has experience in all levels of research, including writing a grant proposal, which was awarded
  • Has presented at four different regional and local conferences on topics that range from contrasting the first inaugural addresses of Abraham Lincoln and Barrack Obama to several presentations about the psychology of higher level performance in Elite Academy Soccer
  • Has published an article in the Undergraduate Journal in Writing, Rhetoric, & Technical Communications titled, Language Learning: Journey of a Polyglot.

2017 Award Recipient


Melissa Manley

PHOTO: Melissa Manley
  • Works with Dr. Claire Lyons (and formerly Dr. Vivien Chan) on research related to learning and foreign-accented speech.
  • Has presented her work with Psychology Peer Advising at regional and national conferences.
  • Served as a teaching assistant for Psychological Statistics under the supervision of Dr. Tracy Zinn.
  • Serves as a  Psychology Peer Advisor.
  • Is a member and vice president of Psi Chi.
  • Completed a summer internship in a clinical psychology lab at George Mason University.

Maddison Miles

PHOTO: Maddison Miles
  • Works with Dr. David Szwedo conducting research on the impact of social relationships on future adjustment to college, has prepared and presented poster presentations at regional and national conferences, mentors other students on statistical analyses and research methodology; she has also worked with Dr. Crichfield examining the effectiveness of long-term Interpersonal Reconstructive Therapy.
  • Completed Field Placement and volunteers at Second Home, helping children with homework and math and reading skills.
  • Member of Psi Chi and a member of the National Society for Collegiate Scholars, through which she has participated in a Pen Pal program with elementary school children and March to College.
  •  Has been awarded the John Wayland Scholarship and a JMU grant for funding her research.
  • Has been on the President's or Dean's List from Fall 2013 to Fall 2016.