Michael Doane ’11 is hard at work studying sleep patterns and the potential health benefits of religion in Galway, Ireland.
This summer marks Doane’s second trip to Galway; the psychology major spent a semester abroad in the city in the fall of 2009 where he studied at the National University of Ireland (NUGI), Galway. While there, he formed a relationship with Doctors Brian Hughes and Siobhán Howard, conducting research at NUGI’s Center for Research on Occupational and Life Stress. Due to Doane’s exemplary work as a visiting researcher, he was asked to continue his research for five weeks this summer.
Doane is expanding his knowledge of research by assisting in the university’s Sleep, Health, and Wellness project. Led by Dr. Howard, he is studying how the quantity and quality of sleep affects the body’s response to stressful situations.
“The goal of the research is to better understand how the daily life of individuals impacts their physical body and, ultimately, the physical and psychological health outcomes later in life,” explains Doane.
He has also reconnected with Dr. Hughes, with whom he is working on a project to assess the association between how individuals differ in their view of religion and the quality of social support they receive.
“We hope to better understand the health benefits of being a religious individual,” he says. This project will continue into the next semester when Doane will be conducting a survey with a sample of first-year students at NUGI.
Doane is grateful for the experience he gained prior to his stay in Ireland. “I worked with Assistant Professor of Psychology Portia Dyrenforth as a summer science student,” he explains. “It was my first hands-on experience in psychological research. I was able to learn the skills necessary for a fulfilling and productive experience this summer.”
Entering his senior year, Doane sees the research as an opportunity to consider new intellectual territory. “This experience will provide me with the chance to explore ideas and methods for an independent research project during my senior year.” He also notes the time spent in Ireland will help highlight the depth of his abilities to graduate schools. “There is an emphasis on research experience for all graduate school applications.” He plans to attend graduate school focusing on social and personality psychology.
Doane was the 2009-2010 recipient of the Drs. Abraham B. and Lenore K. Weinstein Scholarship.
Doane is pictured above with Doctors Brian Hughes and Siobhán Howard.