I did an honors project working with Dr. Bruce and Dr. White. I designed an experiment to test for episodic-like memory in rats using a Radial Arm Maze and different flavored pellets.
I knew that I wanted some research experience and I was most interested in animal behavior so I was refferred to Dr. Bruce by a friend. I contacted Dr. Bruce and she showed me around the lab. I immediately knew that the lab was something I wanted to be involved in so I started collecting data on a task called the Odor Span Task. I loved it so much that I decided I really wanted to do an honors project! The lab had a newly purchased Radial Arm Maze, so it was a really great opportunity to design a brand new procedure!
I have learned so much from doing an honors project. I have learned what it is like to put together a procedure to test animal cognition (and it is not easy), from the very basic step of setting up the testing room, to training animals on a task Dr. Bruce and I came up with, to analyzing data and writing a thesis in APA style. It has been challenging, but also very rewarding. The most challenging aspect was probably learning that science is a product of trial and error. My procedure today is VERY different from the original procedure that I started with back at the begining of my project and I have no doubt that if people keep working on it in the lab it will change even more.
I have actually been accepted to graduate school for comparative cognition! I will be going to Rochester Institute of Technology in the Fall and I know that my advisor was very impressed with my research experience when I interviewed with her. Other than academically, this project has helped me with interviews! It has been a solid topic to talk about in any interview because it has given me discipline. The type of research I have done has also helped me get animal training internships because I train rats every day! I will be training dolphins this summer at Gulf World Marine park!