Dr. Michael Prtiz recalled the importance of summer fellowships during his own participation in the honors program, and the opportunity to get a jump start on research without the course demands of a typical semester. Upon learning that similar summer funding for undergraduate honors research was no longer available, he took it upon himself to help fulfill this gap and generously established the Michael B. & Edmay Gregorcy Pritz Summer Research Scholarship.
Sarah Craig is the deserving first recipient of the scholarship. She has finished her junior year majoring in psychology with a concentration in behavioral neuroscience and minoring in criminology, law, and society. Sarah first gravitated to the field during her senior year of high school as she was fascinated with connections between behavior and physiological conditions.
The goals of Sarah's summer research project will involve creating a timeline for sexual differentiation, and better understanding the feminization process using an anemonefish model. Her senior honors thesis focuses on cell proliferation within the preoptic area of the hypothalamus, an area of the brain responsible for reproductive behavior with known robust sexual dimorphisms. Sarah is especially interested in the critical periods of cell growth, the process of brain feminization, as well as interactions among sex steroid hormones, gonads, and behavior.
Upon completing her honors thesis and senior year, Sarah plans to attend graduate school to obtain a doctoral degree in neuropsychology. After graduate school, Sarah hopes to continue her research in a university setting and/or work within a clinical setting researching and diagnosing brain injuries, and illnesses.