Sidney Fimiani, Junior, Psychology
Sidney Fimiani, Junior, Psychology:
What do you research?
I participate in research for the KSU Neuropsychology Lab. We study cognition and how it is affected by different health issues.
How do you conduct your research?
We have a couple studies going on simultaneously. One is a clinical trial where we administer a probiotic supplement to a population and give them a neuropsychological assessment. We track them while they take this specific supplement, and then we re-test them at the end of their time in the trial to see if any significant changes occurred. In another study, we collect data through recording speech, and we analyze the speech patterns with special software.
Why did you select this topic?
I personally did not select the topic of research, but I did select the lab I am currently working with! I have always loved the brain, and I think it is arguably our most important and complex organ. The neuropsychology lab had a strong focus on the brain, of course, but also an incredible team. Dr. Gunstad is a wonderful teacher and an accomplished professional, and I have learned so much from him. The graduate students are also helpful and patient, and they make me feel essential to the team. Working on this type of research has opened my eyes to how important it is that we take care of our brains and bodies, and I feel this will benefit many people.
How did you become involved in research at Kent State?
I knew I wanted to get involved in college research after some experiences in high school. I googled the psychology research labs at KSU and came up with a list of labs that needed assistance. From there, I narrowed it down to those that I was most interested in and then emailed the grad student in charge of recruitment.
What was one of the biggest challenges you have encountered in the process of research? How did you overcome it?
One of the largest challenges in research, especially at the undergraduate level, is just jumping in and getting involved. It is very intimidating to walk into a room and know the bare minimum about a topic that people have been studying for years and be expected to help them on it. Luckily, my primary investigator and grad students were very receptive to questions. I learned just to ask about something if I was unsure. This definitely helped me overcome this insecurity, and I even learned in the process!
How do you think you have grown as a student and/or as a professional as a result of research? What would you tell a friend who would like to become involved in research?
Research has definitely bolstered my professional network as well as my “soft skills.” I think of these as my organization, time management, and people skills. Working with actual human participants gave me empathy and appreciation for study subjects. I also improved my writing.
I encourage everyone I meet to get involved in research. It is truly an opportunity that will teach you so much but is extremely enjoyable. Overall, I think it makes you a stronger student and a better human.