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Molly S

- Research Program Mentor

PhD candidate at Drexel University

Expertise

Neuropsychology (i.e., study of brain-behavior relationship), aging and dementia (e.g., Alzheimer's disease), older adults and healthy aging, cross-cultural clinical assessments

Bio

Hi everyone! My Name is Molly and I am currently pursuing my PhD in clinical psychology at Drexel University. My specific area of study is clinical neuropsychology or the study of brain behavior relationships. My research interests includes discovering new ways to identify early signs of cognitive decline in older adults and promoting positive brain health strategies to improve day-to-day functioning. I am also passionate about cross-cultural neuropsychology, so my research is largely focused on improving clinical care for older adults from historically marginalized communities. I love to bike, hike, rock climb, cook, and spend time with my pup, Roo. School work can take up a lot of time, but I try my best to balance it with outdoor activities and spending time with friends and family.

Project ideas

Project ideas are meant to help inspire student thinking about their own project. Students are in the driver seat of their research and are free to use any or none of the ideas shared by their mentors.

The Relationship between Socialization and Cognition in Older Adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment

Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) is defined as the intermediate stage between normal aging and dementia (e.g., Alzheimer's disease). When an older adult has a diagnosis of MCI, this means that they are experiencing some degree of cognitive impairment (i.e., declines in their memory or language skills) but they are still able to live independently. Approximately 1 in 5 older adults living in the U.S. have MCI and are at elevated risk of progressing to dementia. At present, there is no FDA-approved medication for the treatment of MCI and there is a lack of high-quality, long-term studies identifying pharmacological or dietary agents that can improve cognition or delay cognitive decline. As a result, behavioral interventions, such as exercise, cognitive training, and improving social engagement, have been key areas of research, with growing evidence that these interventions can protect against cognitive decline. You might find yourself wondering, well what about social engagement acts as a protective mechanism against cognitive decline. Or, what other lifestyle factors are also neuroprotective? In this project, we could explore why socialization is such an important part of older adulthood, especially for those living with MCI. You could learn about the different parts of the brain that are positively impacted by socialization and if you are curious in exploring the cross-cultural nature of this question, we could investigate what types of socialization patterns might be best for older adults from different ethnoracial backgrounds. This project could be a literature review and/or research paper.

Coding skills

SPSS

Teaching experience

Throughout the five years of my graduate school training I have worked with junior doctoral students, master's students, and undergraduate students helping them to develop and carry out their personal research projects. My research lab follows a tiered mentorship style, where more senior graduate students serve as an intermediate mentor between the more junior students and the primary mentor of the lab. My main responsibilities include weekly or biweekly meetings to help students maintain progress and answer any questions they have.

Credentials

Work experience

Emory University School of Medicine (2023 - Current)
Clinical Neuropsychology Intern

Education

Temple University
BA Bachelor of Arts (2015)
Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience
Drexel University
MS Master of Science (2021)
Clinical Psychology
Drexel University
PhD Doctor of Philosophy candidate
Clinical Psychology

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