The Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) at Georgia State University is an undergraduate research education and training program grounded in Biology, Chemistry, Neuroscience, and Psychology. Funded through a grant from the National Institutes of Health, the goal of the IMSD program is to encourage students from underrepresented groups to pursue careers in biomedical research, starting with undergraduate research and moving directly into Master’s and Ph.D. programs in related fields. The IMSD program includes paid research assistantships, required research presentations, and professional development workshops. Accepted participants in spring 2020 are guaranteed only one year of funding based on solid participation, but we will seek to identify additional funds for their assistantships th
CASA provided me with access to research labs, professional development, and a research community of peers, graduate students, and faculty. Throughout my time in the program I have worked in multiple labs and was able to narrow down a focus for my research. I’ve learned how to navigate professional settings and my ability to communicate my research has grown tremendously. If you’re interested in research and looking to grow professionally check out the research assistant programs offered by the CASA! – Linzie Taylor, IMSD
2020 IMSD Research Assistant: Linzie Taylor
CASA: What motivated you to get involved in undergraduate research?
Linzie Taylor: I’ve always been interested in research, so entering college I knew I wanted to start research as soon as possible. I was unsure about if I wanted to work with animal models or with humans, so it was important to me that I could explore my options.
CASA: In layman’s terms, tell us a bit about your research project. What is your general field? What research questions are you asking? What kinds of methods are you using to answer those questions? What are your preliminary results, if you have any so far?
Linzie Taylor: My Honors Thesis examines if race and symptom severity predict attention bias to threat in social anxiety. Social anxiety is influenced by underlying factors that are impacted by race such as discrimination, stress, and socioeconomic status. Thus it is important to analyze the disorder through a racial lens. It is hypothesized that those with greater symptom severity will show greater attention bias and this will be moderated by race. Self – report measures for social anxiety and race/ ethnicity were collected and participants completed a computer-based task designed to measure attention bias: the Dot Probe Task. Results showed that there was no significant relation between social anxiety symptom severity and attention bias this was not moderated by race. These results are inconsistent with previous studies that show a link between symptom severity and attention bias to threat. It is important to note that the sample in the present study was majority African American (71%) unlike most of the samples in literature that examine social anxiety and attention bias. This study highlights the importance of including people from underrepresented groups in clinical health research and the inclusion of analyses from a racial lens.
CASA: What are some challenges or roadblocks you’ve faced while conducting research?
Linzie Taylor: My biggest challenge while conducting research has been dealing with imposter syndrome and transitioning to the next step. I’ve always known I wanted to go to graduate school, but when it came time to apply, fear had me stuck in my tracks. However, thanks to the support provided by the CASA and my research lab I thought it wouldn’t hurt to apply. Thankfully I did and got into to my top choice! This taught me how important it is to cultivate a community within research that will support you and push you to do your best.
CASA: Which advanced degree are you pursuing? (Master’s, PhD, MD, JD, PA, etc.)
Linzie Taylor: PhD
CASA: What is your biggest achievement so far? Or something that’s challenged you?
Linzie Taylor: Getting into Emory’s Neuroscience Doctoral Program and receiving the Initiative for Maximizing Student Development Fellowship at the graduate level! Also completing my honors thesis both my greatest challenge and biggest achievement!