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Institute for Health Care Policy and Aging Research
Nicole Ryan-Nolla
Project L/EARN Intern - 2011
Nicole Ryan-Nolla
The Association Between Parental Death and Physical and Mental Health
Sarah Hertzog

Nicole M. Ryan-Nolla is a rising senior majoring in Psychology at the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus. Currently, she is the President of the International Honor Society in Psychology (Psi Chi), is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and is a fellow of the National Institute of Mental Health’s Career Opportunities in Research (COR) Program.  Nicole has been an undergraduate researcher since her freshman year. Last summer, she participated in the MacNair/Summer Research Opportunities Program of the University of Iowa, and is currently working on her senior thesis on depression and stress using neuro-imaging techniques.

Nicole is highly interested in cognitive, developmental, and health psychology.  She aspires to obtain a Ph.D., become an academic researcher, and mentor underrepresented students in research.  Her past experiences lead her to believe that research is a powerful tool for the improvement of life quality and the progression of science. Nicole applied to Project L/EARN to obtain more knowledge about research methodology and statistics. “Participating in Project L/EARN has definitely been my most intense academic research experience. It pushes you pass your limits and teaches you to work through time constraints.”   She says her biggest challenge was delivering the best possible work in a limited amount of time.  She wants future interns to know that time management is key for getting the most out of this Program and “it is intense, it is very tough, but it is totally worth it”.

Nicole feels very fortunate to have worked with Dr. Sarah Hertzog on a project that analyzes parental loss and its effects on mental and physical health of adults in mid-life.  This topic was very close to Nicole’s heart and she appreciates Dr. Hertzog’s enthusiasm with their project and believes that her mentor’s feedback facilitated her growth in writing and critical thinking. 

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