Claim your curiosity.

Elsey Barnhart

Student Spotlight | Summer 2020

Major: My major is Psychology with a minor in Journalism and Human Sexuality.

Describe your research/creative work in just a few sentences that we can all understand: My research is centered around adult attachment theory and using security priming as a way to enhance attachment security. My mentor and I created a mobile app that essentially gamifies priming as a way to subliminally mediate users stress response by decreasing their anxiety and depression, and enhancing their self-esteem and attachment security. 


Q: Who mentors your project?

A: Dr. Omri Gillath. He is a Social Psychologist and Professor in the Psychology Department.

 

Q: What surprised you about doing a larger research project?

A: How meaningful and fulfilling it really is to see a project through from start to finish. You not only are contributing to and potentially drastically changing the field you are working in, but you also grow so much as an individual during this process! I have become so much more confident in myself as a researcher, a student at KU, and as an individual in this world trying to figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life. I have learned a tremendous amount about what it means to push myself beyond my comfort zone in order to achieve things that I never before thought I could do.

 

Q: What did you find most challenging about getting involved in or doing your project? What advice would you offer to students facing similar challenges?

A: The initial startup. I knew I wanted to complete an honors project in psychology, but I was not sure what I wanted it to be about or who I was going to do it with. I encourage students to start early and start looking at what research professors, faculty members, or graduate students are conducting at KU. After that, reach out as soon as possible! I was in contact with Dr. Gillath about mentoring me in this process a whole semester before the project actually began. I think doing this is a smart choice so that when you and your mentor are ready to begin the project you feel fully prepared, well-acquainted with your mentor, and ready to rock and roll.

 

Q: What do you like most about your project?

A: I am especially grateful for my mentor. He has been incredibly encouraging to me and he challenges me as new researcher in this field. He is enthusiastic about my honors project, my other academic interests, and really believes in me and my ability to succeed. That alone has made this research all the more enjoyable. He is not just a mentor for this project, but a mentor for life. 

 

Q: What advice would you give to a friend wanting to get involved in research?

A:  I know that is may seem like a scary ideas or even intimidating in the beginning, but I can promise you with absolutely no doubt that it is an experience that will truly change your life as a student at KU. It is hard work but is so worth it in the end. 

 

Q: How do you spend your time when you're not working on your research?

A: In my free time I enjoy going on long drives and listening to audiobooks, traveling with friends, painting, dad jokes, and most of all, napping.


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