Surrounded by her colleagues, Shannon Tierney, research assistant, finds herself immersed in translational research at the Parsons Research Center, Life Span Institute at Parsons and loving every minute. Shannon says she is really more of a basic research person and likes to find out how things work. “Once we find out more about how behavior works, this knowledge can be used to address problems of social significance. Participating in the translational research here with Dr. Dean Williams and Dr. Kate Saunders is helping me to understand how exactly basic behavioral concepts turn into ways to understand and change complex behavior. I think that students who are interested in any type of behavioral research would benefit from the kind of experience I am having here this summer.”Shannon continues, “Dr. Williams and Dr. Saunders have me working on a wide variety of skills that will help prepare me for a career in research. The most important thing I think I am getting from thisexperience is being guided through the conceptual foundations for the research we do through reading articles from journals, such as the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and Journal of the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. I am also gaining experience running lab sessions with human participants, working with individuals with disabilities, conducting preference assessments, and administering standardized tests. I am working on a few different projects here in Parsons, most notably Dr. Williams’ project studying aberrant behavior that occurs during transitions and Dr. Saunders’ projects focusing on literacy skill acquisition.”
Shannon, a 4.0 University of Kansas Junior, was recently awarded the Helen Jedlicka Mandigo Scholarship in the specialty area of basic research and conceptual foundations as well as the Niswander Japanese Dictionary Award for her work as a first year Japanese language student. In her free time, she enjoys knitting and crocheting, learning XHTML and CSS, studying Japanese and spending time with her cat and her dog.