Research Excellence Award

The Research Excellence Award recognizes undergraduate students for outstanding contributions to and performance in departmental psychological research. One award will be given annually for each major (PSY, BNS). Recipients of the prestigious award will have demonstrated curiosity, critical thinking, open-mindedness, evidence-based decision-making, and overall research excellence. Award recipients are nominated by the Psychology faculty and selected by the Psychology Department Awards Committee.

Nomination Process

Psychology faculty will nominate candidates by submitting a supportive letter to the Psychology Department Awards Committee. Along with describing why the student is deserving of this award, please make sure this letter includes:

  •  The student’s GPA
  •  Relevant coursework
  • 1-2 artifacts of their work (e.g., paper or other assignment)
Timeline and Recognition

The Awards Committee will send an email calling for nominations beginning in December and faculty will have until mid-February to submit letters. The letters can be submitted anytime up until the deadline.

Winners will be selected in February and be announced in early March. Winners will be recognized at the Psychology Department Awards Ceremony in April. They will receive a framed certificate and they will be featured on the Department website.

Recipients of the Research Excellence Award

Madison Wheeler

Madison Wheeler

How did you become interested in psychology?

I have always been interested in the brain and human behavior since I took psychology in high school, and as a behavioral neuroscience major, psychology became something I was fascinated with as I began to take more and more psychology courses for my studies. I found that I love being able to connect the biological and psychological pieces of human behavior to understand what fully makes us, “us”.

 

What have you learned from doing research?

While I have learned a lot, I would say the most important thing I have taken away from my research experience is learning academic resilience. There are many unprecedented and unpredictable obstacles when it comes to research, and gaining the skills to endure and work with obstacles is an important tool I take with me.

 

What are you planning to do after graduation?

After graduation, I plan to attend graduate school at Michigan State University starting in the fall to earn my Ph.D., working in a neuroscience research lab.


Phuc Dang

Phuc Dang

How did you become interested in psychology?

I got interested in psychology in a fairly stereotypical fashion. I had taken AP psychology in high school and found it was really easy to be interested in the subject. This, coupled with encouragement from my peers to pursue a career in therapy lead me to declare a major in psychology upon entering Grand Valley. I think it’s more important to talk about, Dr. Kristy Dean, Amanda Dillard, and Mihaela Friedlmeier who were amazing mentors, inspiring me through their own teachings, initiating the development of my drive for research and curiosity for psychology as a whole.

 

What have you learned from doing research?

The research process has taught me far past what the literature explicitly conveys. Research in combination with my coursework and practical experiences has served as a place to express my academic curiosity, explore personal questions, and strengthen my psychological foundations. It’s clearly shown the value of being well-read and an effective consumer of science; taking literature for exactly what it is, nothing more, and nothing less. Most importantly though, it’s taught me the intrinsically rewarding nature of being curious.

 

What are you planning to do after graduation?

As of writing this, I have recently accepted an offer of admissions from Purdue University’s Social Psychology Ph. D program. I hope to successfully obtain my Ph. D, being the first in my family to receive a doctoral degree, and pursue a career in academia thereafter. As of right now, the most appealing career activities to me are the continuation of psychological research, dissemination of the science, and guidance of future researchers. 




Page last modified August 1, 2023