Hello! From a young age, I’ve been interested in psychology. My fourth-grade science experiment involved me attempting to condition a mouse to hop over a wooden barrier; however, it was in my developmental psychology course that I fell in love with research. I loved reading about the various experiments in journal articles, and I became very interested in the idea of doing my own research project. At this point, I became involved in a few research labs, where I served as a research assistant for a few graduate student’s dissertations. While talking with my psychology statistics professors one day, she asked me if I had heard of REU programs. I hadn’t, and she provided me with information on how to apply and volunteered to write me a letter of recommendation. I was very fortunate to be accepted into the University of Minnesota’s REU program in the summer of 2009. After returning from this experience, I knew that I wanted to do my own research project. I contacted a professor whose research I found intriguing, and she helped me design an exploratory study. After receiving my bachelor’s at OSU, I went on to work as a research assistant. During this time, I discovered that I have three autoimmune diseases, so my goal to return to school for graduate studies was put on hold. Fortunately, now, my autoimmune diseases are more manageable, and I can fully immerse myself in the experimental psychology program here at UCO. I am a first-year student. Managing my stress levels has been a big part of living with my autoimmune diseases, so my thesis will look at chronic illness and stress. My hope is that someday my research can contribute to the improved health of individuals who deal with chronic illnesses. When I’m not working in the lab or doing homework, I enjoy road biking with friends and going on walks with my husband and our two rescue pups, Cosmo and Tucker.