As I hope to pursue a career in neuroscience research, research was an integral part of my undergraduate experience. I joined the lab of Dr. David F. Nichols in January of my freshman year and completed an internship in Hamburg, Germany after my junior year. I have received a Fulbright Study/Research grant and will be carrying out a project on bat vocalizations in Munich, Germany from September 2017 through July 2018. After my stay in Germany, I hope to earn a PhD in neuroscience and would then like to continue on in academic research with a focus on studying the audition, communication, and language.
Researcher, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU) ~ September 2017-July 2018
- Supervised by Dr. Lutz Wiegrebe, Ella Lattenkamp, and Dr. Meike Linnenschmidt.
- Stay in Munich funded by a Fulbright U.S. Student Program Study/Research award.
- Examining the vocal repertoire of the bat species Phyllostomus discolor and comparing features of their vocalizations across both behavioral contexts and individuals.
- Project entails the design and construction of a customized experimental set-up, the writing of scripts for data collection and analysis, and the creation and analysis of video and audio recordings of bat behaviors and vocalizations.
Student Researcher, Roanoke College ~ January 2014-May 2017
- Supervised by Dr. David F. Nichols.
- Carried out projects in neural processing of emotion, artifact frequency in EEG studies, EEG equipment used in undergraduate settings, and computational modeling of interocular suppression.
- Responsibilities included completing and submitting IRB proposals, collecting data, maintaining participant confidentiality, organizing materials and electronic files, analyzing data, compiling and presenting results, applying for funding when needed, and writing necessary proposals and reflections.
Intern, Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) ~ May 2016-August 2016
- Supervised by Dr. Michael Rose and Signe Luisa Winterling (née Schneider).
- Selected for a research internship funded through the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD, German Academic Exchange Service) Research Internships in Science and Engineering (RISE) Germany Program out of 1697 applicants for 581 positions, only 300 of which were funded.
- Paired with Ph.D. student Signe Luisa Winterling and her research on the effect of aging on memory-related ongoing oscillations, the use of EEG neurofeedback training, and the potential for subjects to learn to modulate neural activities related to memory in order to improve performance.
- Assisted with data collection for elderly group and led data collection for younger group.
- Researched analysis techniques, pre-processed EEG data to remove artifacts before analysis, refined and helped standardize the pre-processing method, performed preliminary analyses, and created preliminary sets of figures.
- Prepared an annotated bibliography on relevant scientific literature.
- Attended group meetings, journal clubs, seminars, and workshops.
Qualitative Analyst, Roanoke College ~ January 2016-July 2016
- Supervised by Dr. David F. Nichols.
- Primarily responsible for using NVivo to analyze online sessions designed for veterans who have brain injuries with a community-based learning environment.
- Watched videos of the class meetings, coded the video content in relation to stated goals of the program using NVivo, and performed quantitative analyses of topics brought up during sessions.
- Wrote reports on what is discussed during class meetings, what aspects of the class are working well, what aspects of the class could be improved, and any feedback given by participants about the class.
- Developed a protocol that could be followed in the future by researchers analyzing videos for this program or for similar programs.
- Contracted through Roanoke College for Brain Injury Services of Southwest Virginia.
- Funded through Wounded Warrior Project grant.
Research Projects: (*Indicates Research Advisor)
- Shields, S.M., Lattenkamp, E.Z., Linnenschmidt, M., & Wiegrebe, L.* (September 2017-present). Vocal Repertoire of Phyllostomid Bats, P. discolor.
Shields, S.M., Nichols, D.F.* (August 2016-present). Computational Modeling of Interocular Suppression Over Time.
Winterling, S.L., Shields, S.M. & Rose, M.* (May 2016-August 2016). Reduced Encoding-Related Modulation of Ongoing EEG Beta Power in Healthy Elderly Individuals.
- Nichols, D.F.*, Shields, S.M., Morse, C.E. (January 2016-July 2016). NVivo Analysis of Online Community-Based Learning Environment Sessions for Veterans who have Brain Injuries.
- Shields, S.M., Morse, C.E., Muntz, T., Applebaugh, D., Nichols, D.F.* (Spring 2016). Are EEG Caps Worth the Investment? An Evaluation of EEG Methods in Undergraduate Neuroscience Laboratory Courses and Research.
- Shields, S.M., Morse, C.E., Nichols, D.F.* (Fall 2014-Fall 2015). Exploration of Methodological and Participant-Related Influences on the Number of Artifacts in ERP Data.
- Nichols, D.F.*, Shields, S.M., Morse, C.E., Arrington, P. (Spring 2014). Exploration of the Influence of Smiling on Initial Reactions Across Levels of Facial Attractiveness.
Conferences and Poster Sessions:
- Treffen der Deutschen Fledermausforscher (Meeting of German Bat Researchers; 12-14 January 2018)
- Vision Sciences Society (19-24 May 2017)
- Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience Poster Session (14 November 2016)
- Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting (12-16 November 2016)
- Roanoke College Parents’ Weekend (30 September 2016)
- Roanoke College Psychology Department Poster Session (21 April 2016)
- Society for Neuroscience Annual Meeting (17-21 October 2015)
- Roanoke College Alumni Weekend (10 April 2015)
- SYNAPSE (28 March 2015)
- SYNAPSE (29 March 2014)