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WIU Junior Awarded Prestigious Summer Research Opportunity

March 18, 2019

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MACOMB, IL – Western Illinois University junior psychology major Megan Bardmass, of Edwardsville, IL, has been admitted to a prestigious Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) summer program at the University of Michigan.

She will work with Dr. Julie Boland, chair of Cognitive Neuroscience, whose research specialty is the psychology of language. The eight-week summer program consists of an individual research project with the student's mentor, in addition to seminars and workshops on research topics and GRE preparation.

"This program is something that allows me to expand my research experience," said Bardmass. "I've been involved in two research labs here at WIU in social psychology and personality, and now I will be studying cognitive processes, as well as the structure and function of the brain. I'm also excited to work with Dr. Boland because she is the chair of the graduate program I want to apply to there."

Bardmass is one of two REU students who will be working in Boland's lab this summer. She is interested in studying perceptions of individuals who make typographical and grammatical errors in written communication.

"Dr. Boland called, and we talked about some of her research and the research I've done," said Bardmass. "We got along really well. She was very interested in my minor in German, and, at the end of our conversation, she told me she would be delighted to have me join her lab."

The REU program is funded by the National Science Foundation and includes room and board, a meal plan and a $4,500 stipend. The program's goal is to provide undergraduate students with research experience and training.

In its 32nd year, the REU program at the University of Michigan specifically recruits outstanding undergraduate students who are underrepresented in their area of research. Students engage in an eight-week intensive research project with their mentors and present their work at a research symposium, consisting of oral and poster presentations, at the end of the program.

A first-generation college student, Bardmass aspires to earn a Ph.D. in clinical neuroscience. Her career goal is to work in a hospital setting diagnosing and treating patients who have brain damage.

For more information about the WIU Department of Psychology, visit

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