Two School of Education doctoral students win Junior Scholar Awards
Established by the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, the $1,000 awards support the students’ research.
By Carol Jean Tomoguchi-Perez
May 26, 2023
May 26, 2023
On May 25, two School of Education doctoral students were honored with Center for the Neurobiology of Learning and Memory (CNLM) Junior Scholar Awards.
Mariya Vodyanyk received the John W. Haycock Memorial Graduate Student Travel Award, and Raymond Villareal was the recipient of the Director's Excellence Award. Both awardees shared two-minute elevator pitches and answered questions about their research. Vodyanyk and Villareal were awarded $1,000 each.
Vodyanyk presented “Seeing the world differently by learning to draw” and Villareal’s pitch was titled “Being absent does not mean being behind.” Both students share Professor Susanne Jaeggi as an advisor.
“Mariya has a truly transdisciplinary background and in her work, she integrates her passions in Art and Neurobiology by investigating the extent to which expertise in drawing might benefit other cognitive domains, such as visuospatial reasoning and mental representations across the lifespan using both correlational and interventional approaches,” Jaeggi said, adding that the award will allow Vodyanyk to present her studies to relevant scientific audiences.
During the past year, Villareal has been working closely with the CNLM leadership team, participating in numerous projects and initiatives – from working with middle-schoolers who visited UCI, to mentoring the Irvine Interdisciplinary Internship in Neuroscience Program students in summer, to troubleshooting at the International Conference on Learning and Memory last month. Jaeggi said the award is a well-deserved recognition for all of Villareal’s contributions to the CNLM.
“I am truly grateful to Dr. Susanne Jaeggi, (CNLM Director) Dr. Michael Yassa, and Manuella Yassa for giving me the opportunity to work and conduct research in the field of neuroscience and providing me the support I needed to grow,” Villareal said.
The John W. Haycock Memorial Graduate Student Travel Award was established to honor alumnus John W. Haycock. The award is presented to an outstanding graduate student in neuroscience to assist in attending the annual Society for Neuroscience (SFN) conference. The student must prepare an abstract and plan on presenting their research at the SFN meeting. The purpose of the award is to defray the student’s registration and travel costs. The awardee must be a graduate student who is in the laboratory of a CNLM Fellow on the UCI campus.
The Director's Excellence Award is supported by the CNLM Director’s Excellence Fund, which provides support to the CNLM’s most pressing research, training and community outreach priorities. The award is presented to an outstanding graduate student or postdoctoral fellow to recognize their extraordinary achievement in research, mentoring and/or service to the CNLM.