Carlow Student Receives Big Ten Competitive Research Opportunity

Alison D'Addieco - April 08, 2014

Jalina McClarin loves to learn. This summer, she will be afforded an opportunity that, as she puts it, is "too big to describe."

McClarin has been selected by the Committee on Institutional Cooperation's (CIC) highly competitive Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP). She is the first student in Carlow's 85-year history to receive this honor.

A junior psychology major from Bethesda, Ohio, McClarin will travel to the University of Wisconsin-Madison to work in the psycholinguistics lab of Gary Lupyan, PhD, for 10 weeks this summer. Lupyan's research revolves around the interaction between language and cognitive processes.

Jalina McClarin, junior psychology major, selected for Committee on Institutional Cooperation's (CIC) highly competitive Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP)

"I'm really interested in psycholinguistics, and how we gain meaning from sounds," says McClarin. "I will be doing my own research and publishing my own article on the subject. Getting published as an undergraduate is an amazing opportunity!"

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

McClarin says Carlow—and the close relationships she's developed with her professors—made the SROP a reality.

"The Carlow community is the whole reason I ended up with this opportunity," she says. "Had it not been for the intimate setting at Carlow, I might have been just another student in a huge crowd. My professors here helped me through the entire application process. Coming to Carlow is the best decision I ever made."

Jalina McClarin, junior psychology major, has been selected for Committee on Institutional Cooperation's (CIC) highly competitive Summer Research Opportunities Program (SROP)

Mary Ann Sestili, PhD, ('61), Carlow Laureate, trustee emeritus, and president of Health Sciences Associates, was instrumental in bringing 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 Rhor in her leadership and Jalina McClarin for pursuing this career enhancing experience."

"I am absolutely thrilled for Jalina," says Rhor. "I hope this research helps her get a better idea of what she would like to explore in her graduate studies, and what it is like to be a part of a research team at a large university."

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

"Studies show how challenging and often unfair academic environments have and can be for women and people of color," says Rhor." Mentoring helps provide professional training, but also helps build networks of support."

Stephanie Wilsey, PhD, director of Carlow's undergraduatepsychology program, says the experience will enable McClarin to focus her research and professional interests. "I can't think of a better way for an undergraduate student to catch the research bug," she says.

Rhor calls McClarin's achievement the beginning of a new chapter for Carlow." Jalina may be the first Carlow student to receive the SROP," she says, "but she will not be the last."