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Junior Wins Top Honors at Conference

Ashley Smith's research with Gretchen Gottard receives Best Undergraduate Student Poster Award

4/18/2005 4:14:30 PM


Ashley Smith presents her winning poster in Williamsburg, Va.

Lynchburg — Ashley R. Smith, a junior psychology major, won the Best Undergraduate Student Poster Award at the Virginia Psychological Association meeting in Williamsburg, Va., on April 14.

She presented a research study she conducted along with Gretchen Hanson Gotthard entitled “Spatial Learning and Memory in the Sand Maze: Does WIN-2 Produce State Dependent Retention in Rats?"

The Virginia Psychological Association allows undergraduate and graduate students from across the state to compete and present research. Smith earned top honors from a pool of about 30 poster presentations.

"I loved the conference," said Smith, who is from Gloucester, Va. "It was so exciting and interesting. It was great to talk to professionals who were interested in our research and get a feel for the conference atmosphere."

Her research examined rats’ learning and memory for a food location (buried cereal) while under the influence of a drug called WIN-2 in a task developed by Gotthard called a sand maze. WIN-2 is a synthetic cannabinoid (an artificial form of THC, as found in marijuana) that is known to disrupt memory.

The conference allowed Smith the opportunity to experience the professional atmosphere associated with a research career.

"I was faced with some difficult questions and onlookers challenged me to think carefully about my research and its implications," Smith said.

Gotthard and Smith will continue the research during the summer research program.

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CONTACT: Brenda Edson, Director of College Relations


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