Katie Li Kerupetski
I am currently in Dr. Nooner's lab working on my Honors Project. My goal is to contribute to the field of brain assessments, such as EEG, by improving their accessibility. The reason I developed my project with Dr. Nooner is because mental health services are severely lacking, especially in states like North Carolina that have large rural areas that are underserved. Brain based assessments are a way to understand mental health problems but they are currently unavailable in many areas. There are new tools, though, such as the Emotiv EEG, that are wireless, less costly, and just as efficient as the traditional EEG. I want to look at new ways to bring brain based assessments to underserved areas.
Around registration time, my academic advisor asked me if I was in a lab, but at that time I had never heard of this opportunity. After my meeting, I did my research on what a D.I.S. (directed individual study) is and who in the psychology department had a lab. When I saw that Dr. Nooner had a lab (I was currently in her statistics class that semester), I read about her research and was fascinated. After our next class meeting, I asked her about her lab, if she was accepting students, and if she was, would she be willing to meet with me about joining her lab. That following semester, I was accepted as part of her lab and was able to start my hands-on experience right away. Within a couple of weeks I was running participants on a traditional EEG system on my own. Upon joining the lab, I really didn't know what to expect at all. But, later on that semester, Dr. Nooner told me about the opportunities an Honors Project would offer me and asked if I was interested.
Working on an Honors Project and being an active member of a lab does much more than I can even begin to quantify. I have grown academically, professionally, and personally. I have learned and developed EEG skills, writing skills, and improved my analytical reading. I have had many professional interactions with other professors, companies, etc. Also, the graduate students also in the lab are the one of the best resources for advice; they are willing to help you beyond the scope of the lab duties. Of course having a faculty mentor is the most beneficial aspect of being part of a lab, even more when she is mentoring your Honors Project! Research often is a tedious task, but it's also extremely gratifying and rewarding when things go as expected and you get one step closer to your goal!
Completing an Honors Project will be a huge accomplishment. This will make me a great candidate for graduate programs because it demonstrates that I have a higher level of writing ability, experience working in a lab, extraordinary autonomy, as well as exceptional organization. Also, this project will show that I am dedicated to my studies and to my current field of interest.