Carlow Student Receives Big Ten Competitive Research Opportunity

Jalina McClarin loves to learn. This summer, she will beafforded an opportunity that, as she puts it, is “too big todescribe.”

McClarin has been selected by the Committee on InstitutionalCooperation’s (CIC) highly competitive Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP). She is the first student in Carlow’s85-year history to receive this honor.

A junior psychology major from Bethesda, Ohio, McClarin willtravel to the University of Wisconsin-Madison to work in thepsycholinguistics lab of Gary Lupyan, PhD, for 10 weeks thissummer. Lupyan’s research revolves around the interaction betweenlanguage and cognitive processes.

“I’m really interested in psycholinguistics, and how we gainmeaning from sounds,” says McClarin. “I will be doing my ownresearch and publishing my own article on the subject. Gettingpublished as an undergraduate is an amazing opportunity!”

The CIC is a consortium of the Big Ten member universities, plusthe University of Chicago. SROP, now in its 28th year,aims to increase the number of underrepresented students who pursuegraduate study and research careers. SROP has received thePresidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, andEngineering Mentoring and has mentored more than 12,000students-610 of whom have gone on to receive PhDs.

McClarin says Carlow—and the close relationships she’s developedwith her professors—made the SROP a reality.

“The Carlow community is the whole reason I ended up with thisopportunity,” she says. “Had it not been for the intimate settingat Carlow, I might have been just another student in a huge crowd.My professors here helped me through the entire applicationprocess. Coming to Carlow is the best decision I ever made.”

Mary Ann Sestili, PhD, (’61), Carlow Laureate, trustee emeritus,and president of Health Sciences Associates, was instrumental inbringing the program to the attention of Sylvia Rhor, PhD, associate professor of art history and co-director of Carlow’s Honors Program.

“The SROP is an excellent opportunity for Carlow,” says Sestili.”Recognizing the benefits of this program, I laud Dr. Sylvia Rhorin her leadership and Jalina McClarin for pursuing this careerenhancing experience.”

“I am absolutely thrilled for Jalina,” says Rhor. “I hopethis research helps her get a better idea of what she would like toexplore in her graduate studies, and what it is like to be a partof a research team at a large university.”

Rhor is a firm believer in the power of mentoring and says theSROP will open many doors for McClarin.

“Studies show how challenging and often unfair academicenvironments have and can be for women and people of color,” saysRhor.” Mentoring helps provide professional training, but alsohelps build networks of support.”

Stephanie Wilsey, PhD, director of Carlow’s undergraduatepsychology program, says the experience will enable McClarin tofocus her research and professional interests. “I can’t think of abetter way for an undergraduate student to catch the research bug,”she says.

Rhor calls McClarin’s achievement the beginning of a new chapterfor Carlow.” Jalina may be the first Carlow student to receive theSROP,” she says, “but she will not be the last.”

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