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Collaborating in an Evolving World
Sushmeena Parihar ’20, a psychology major who spent the summer researching in the field of counterintuitive cognition and memory, is mentored by Professor of Psychology Matthew Kelley. Professor Kelley brings to the classroom and lab more than 15 years of experience teaching cognitive psychology. He researches human learning and memory—exploring whether hints help or hurt someone remembering information.
Beginning as a Richter Scholar project, Sushmeena and Professor Kelley examined procedural memory, the long-term memory that is responsible for knowing how to perform different actions and movements, which was inspired by Sushmeena’s passion for dance. “Every time I stepped into a dance class, my instructor would say, ‘You should practice more so it becomes a muscle memory.’”
What originally began as a four-week research project turned into dual endeavors that lasted the entire summer. After a successful collaboration, Sushmeena assisted Professor Kelley in researching semantic memory—the study of common knowledge. They co-wrote and submitted a journal article titled, “Part-Set Cueing Inhibition & Facilitation in Semantic Memory,” a few weeks before Sushmeena’s sophomore year. “For students to be able to submit an academic journal article as an undergraduate, especially in their first year, is a significant accomplishment,” said Professor Kelley.
“The College pushes you to grow academically and personally—really
in every dimension of your life. Every day, I’m proud to be a Lake Forest student. I have never felt more at home.” -Sushmeena Parihar ’20
Living more than 8,000-miles away in India, Sushmeena never visited the College before she moved to campus in the summer of 2016. She chose Lake Forest for the opportunity to not just be another student on campus. “Professor Kelley is an amazing mentor; he allows his students the freedom to be creative and explore without feeling lost. He’s truly interested in what you want to do and in helping students learn.”
Sushmeena plans to pursue a PhD after she completes her undergraduate degree. She knows that the dynamic and challenging curriculum—paired with the mentorship of her professors—will give her a competitive edge when applying to post-graduate programs. “After this summer, all I want to do is spend every day in the lab learning, growing, and exploring. I don’t want to be anywhere else.”
A place like no other, Lake Forest College provides an atmosphere where students can develop deep and meaningful relationships with faculty. The one-on-one relationship Sushmeena Parihar ’20 built with Professor Kelley allowed her to solve problems in novel and creative ways.