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.

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.

2016 Award Recipient


Nikole Gregg

PHOTO:Nikole Gregg
Nikole Gregg is a senior Psychology major who already has an impressive research history that includes presentations at national, regional, and local conferences.  Under the supervision of Dr. Bryan Saville, Nikole has examined passion for general and academic-related activities and how these variables are related to intelligence mindset and competitiveness. She has also worked with Dr. Tracy Zinn investigating the efficacy of interteaching in statistics, the effects of in-class application questions on academic behavior, and was instrumental in developing assessment measures for written communication skills and sociocultural awareness.  All three of these projects resulted in presentations at national conferences. Nikole’s interest in quantitative psychology and assessment has led her to pursue a graduate level degree in quantitative psychology where she hopes to positively impact student learning and achievement.  Her interests also extend to positively impacting the work life of teachers by using mindfulness to reduce stress and increase teacher retention.

Akyla Joseph

PHOTO:Akyla Joseph
Akyla Joseph is a very active senior Psychology major who has been involved in teaching and service, as well as making a substantial contribution to Dr. Tracy Zinn’s research lab.  Akyla has been involved in multiple projects throughout her time at JMU, including presenting research at national and regional conferences, and has been especially busy her senior year with several projects in Dr. Zinn’s lab, including investigating perceptions of pregnant women based on their race and drinking habits.  She is also involved in work regarding rape myth acceptance and expanding the traditional body of research by incorporating male rape myths, an area that has previously received little attention.  Akyla also hopes to raise sociocultural awareness by assisting in the research on improving sociocultural awareness in undergraduate and graduate students.  Akyla plans to attend graduate school where she hopes to pursue a degree in clinical psychology, focusing on treatments for trauma victims (e.g., PTSD), especially active duty military, veterans, and their family members.

Richard “Ben” Krause

PHOTO: Ben Krause
Ben Krause is a senior psychology major. He is not only a dedicated student, but also an innovator in every lab in which he participates. Working with both Dr. Jeff Dyche and Dr. Dan Holt, he consistently displays a higher level of understanding of research ideas and frequently assists in the design and modification of both undergraduate and graduate level research. His comprehension, especially in the experimental analysis of behavior, shows the breadth and depth of a dedicated student of experimental psychology. Ben frequently uses his knowledge to pose analytical and theoretical questions about the research in which he is involved. He often acts as an informal mentor to students, carefully explaining complex topics and scaffolding the understanding of his lab mates. His interpersonal skills are evident in lab through interactions with both graduate students and undergraduate peers. Those who have had the opportunity to work with Ben know him as an asset both inside and outside of the lab.

Kathleen Owens

Katy is a senior Psychology major and Criminal Justice minor. She is currently a member of the Honors Program and completing her thesis investigating cue-induced withdrawal among smokers under the supervision of Dr. Jessica Irons. She has been a member of Dr. Irons’ research team for 6 semesters. She has collected biological, behavioral, and self-report data across a range of research protocols including studies examining the priming effects of alcohol on subsequent substance choices, the impact of an exercise intervention on substance use, the influence of sleep deprivation on substance choices, and the influence of rhetoric on food choices. Katy has also served as a teaching assistant for both Introductory Psychology (under the supervision of Dr. Irons) and Learning (under the supervision of Dr. Dan Holt). Katy is a member of Psi Chi, has served as Vice President of Committees for Student Ambassadors, and she volunteers at Second Home. Katy plans to attend graduate school in the Psychological Sciences MA program at JMU and will ultimately pursue a Ph.D. in child clinical psychology.

Lily Takahashi

PHOTO: Lily Takahashi
Lily is currently a research assistant in two labs.  She has been a member of Dr. Matthew Lee’s Cultural and Racial Diversity Studies (CARDS) Lab since spring 2015.  Lily has been involved in a Campus Climate study that explores student perceptions of diversity and inclusivity on the JMU campus with regards to multiple aspects of one's identity. She has also been involved with a study researching Feminism and those who do not identify as feminists as well as an international student engagement study. Lily has been part of a team who analyzed the Campus Climate data, presented findings to numerous groups on campus, including at the JMU Diversity conference and upper administration, will present at APA in August and is helping to write a technical report of the findings.  Lily has been a member of Dr. Krisztina Jakobsen’s Cognitive Development Lab since spring 2014 and is currently the lab manager.  Lily has been involved in studies that examine the own-species bias in infants, toddler, and adults using an eye tracker.  Across her lab experiences, Lily has contributed to developing new ideas for studies, preparing IRBs and stimuli, programming tasks, analyzing data and disseminating finding, and has participated in JMU and community outreach.  Lily has seven presentations at local, regional, and national conferences.  Lily will be attending graduate school for Forensic and Legal Psychology at Marymount University in the fall.