On a sunny afternoon here on campus, Hope the dog runs back and forth between offices in Gulick Hall. Summer in the Psychology Department is a lot more laid back than the busy day-to-day traffic of the academic year. “It’s nice to be here at HWS working in a relaxed atmosphere,” says Maddy August ’11, who will spend eight weeks interning with Assistant Professor of Psychology Jamie Bodenlos.
Bodenlos just completed her first year teaching at the Colleges, and has hired August to assist her in researching for a paper on anxiety and depression and how they relate to obesity in ethnic minorities. On a daily basis, August performs literature searches, creates data charts, and reads book chapters on statistics in order to understand the statistical data they will use in the paper. August will also work on a grant to receive funding for a different project on stress and obesity-related disease in African Americans. By the end of the summer, August and Bodenlos hope to generate an original research study based on their findings, and perhaps continue their work together in the fall.
A clinical psychologist with a specific research focus on obesity, Bodenlos’s research with August investigates the co-occurrence of obesity and psychological disorders such as depression among Latinos and African Americans.
“In the work we are doing we want to see if mood and anxiety disorders that co-occur with obesity are the same in different ethnic minorities. People from different ethnic and racial backgrounds may have different patterns of psychological symptoms and these symptoms may affect health behavior differently,” she says.
August sought research experience to complement her clinical psychology internship last summer, where she worked with Unity Health at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, N.Y. She wants to build her resume for graduate school, hoping to get a leg up on the competition. “It’s exciting to work on projects that might get published. That looks good in the eyes of grad schools,” she continues.
In addition to applying concepts learned in research classes, the ability to get her name on a published paper is invaluable. August attributes this to a small school: “I could have gotten the research experience at a bigger school, but not the one-on-one experience that I get here.” With small class sizes, August has developed close ties with psychology professors, and sees Bodenlos as both a teacher and a mentor.
A psychology major and environmental studies minor, August plans to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology in graduate school. Aside from her academic work, August is highly involved in service learning, volunteering at The Living Center at Geneva General Hospital and the Boys and Girls Club.
Bodenlos joined the HWS faculty in 2009 after serving two years as an adjunct professor at Assumption College in Worcester, Mass. She received a Ph.D. from Louisiana State University and did her post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, where she began her research examining comorbidities between obesity and psychological disorders. Bodenlos has several papers published in this area of study.