Kathryn Cushing '18 Combines Service and Science

kathryn cushing

She’s only a sophomore, but Kathryn Cushing ’18 CLAS (Biochemistry, Neuroscience) has already found a mentor at Villanova. 

Katie works in the Cognitive Neuroscience and Memory Lab with Psychology Professor Irene Kan, PhD. In her spare time between Biochemistry and Neuroscience classes, she eagerly runs experiments in the lab. Katie has even attended the Psychonomic Society’s Annual Meeting in Chicago after receiving support from the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships.

“The neuroscience major was what made me want to come to Villanova,” said Katie. “The brain is the physiological basis for behavior and cognition. Understanding the way in which the brain functions is very interesting and valuable to me since I want to work with people as a doctor.”     

The Chicago-area native is currently on a Pre-Med track with the hopes of one day specializing within pediatrics. Katie’s ambition to learn and understand the motivation behind people’s actions has driven her towards the sciences..

Katie’s passion for Neuroscience not only led her to study at Villanova but also to Dr. Kan. Katie connected with Dr. Kan in the fall of her freshman year after then senior Brian Emmert ’15 CLAS introduced the pair. That spring, Katie began testing subjects in the lab. Her research focuses on conflict adaptation and the cognitive functions that help guide behavior. Since Katie was not yet enrolled in upper level Psychology courses as a freshman, Dr. Kan took the time to teach her the Psychology that was needed to work in the Cognitive Neuroscience and Memory Lab. As Katie points out, Dr. Kan remains open to student ideas in conducting research.

“Not only has Dr. Kan taught me how to conduct a study, she’s supportive and welcomes my input,” Katie said. “She’s a great mentor.”

Katie is also devoted to service. Since high school, Katie has made service a large part of her life and continues this at Villanova. Katie is a member of the Sophomore Service Learning Community and currently works with Building 21 in North Philadelphia mentoring pre-health high school students.  

“Service is a big part of my life,” Katie said. “It’s one of the reasons why I want to be a doctor and help people. It has been a part of every aspect of my experience at Villanova.”

kathryn cushing
Kathryn Cushing '18 at the Psychonomic Society's Annual Meeting

Meaningful Success

Know a current student or faculty member doing great work? Please email your nominations and help us tell their story.