Katie Kerupetski ('16, Psychology & Criminology)

Katie KerupetskiWhat do you do for your undergraduate research?

I am currently in Dr. Kate Nooner's lab working on my Honors Project. My goal is to contribute to the field of brain assessment by improving accessibility to asssessment tools.The reason why 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 lacking in lots of areas. There are new tools that are out there, 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.

What made you want to pursue an undergraduate research project?

After completing a semester in the lab, Dr. Nooner told me to look into what a Departmental Honors Project was. After researching and reading through the Departmental Honors Handbook, I realized the scope of opportunities the project would include and I decided that it would be a wonderful learning opportunity.

How did you start your research project?

I started out in the lab running participants on a traditional EEG system. When the lab received a new piece of equipment, a wireless EEG, I was given the task of setting it up and figuring out how it worked. Because I was so interested in this device, we developed my project to find out if/how it could be used for research purposes.

Was doing your own research fun? Be Honest.

Research is a tedious task, but it's also extremely gratifying and rewarding when things go right and you get one step closer to your goal!

It isn't required to do research as an undergrad, so what advantages do you think this experience has provided you?

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 and with company officials. Also, the graduate students in our lab are 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! Completing an Honors Project will be a huge accomplishment. This will make me a great candidate for graduate programs because it demonstrates 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.

What recognition and/or grants did you receive for your research?

I received the Ann Sherman Skiba Undergraduate Research Fellowship Award to help support my participation in my research project.

What are your plans after you receive your degree from UNCW?

Once I graduate from UNCW with my dual Bachelors degrees, I plan to go on to graduate school pursue a Masters in Psychology and eventual a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology.

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