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Rawan Ajeen, a graduating senior, is the recipient of the fifth annual Susan M. McHale Award, a diversity in research award.

The purpose of the Susan M. McHale Award for Outstanding Psychological Research by a Student Who Enhances Diversity is to encourage and honor students from under-represented groups who make a contribution to the advancement of knowledge of psychological science.

Rawan received this award for several research projects involving psychiatry, nutrition, and design and interpretation of psychological research. For her honors project, she built a website to examine factors that influence hunger in Yemen analyzing the different coping mechanisms employed during time of food insecurity. In completing her research project for her Design and Interpretation of Psychology Research class, this year’s winner said: “Research is a platform for social change and being able provide evidence and work towards something such as reevaluating public spaces to ensure that individuals feel as though as they belong in a given setting and to encourage full potential. Focusing on the emotional aspect of how one performs or behaves, such as identity, is an important research interest of mine as someone who plans on representing those often underrepresented in research.” Her nomination letter written by Dr. Viji Sathy described her as “exceptional not only in her breadth of research work, and “how she has grown into her identity as a scientist” and also commended her for her “ability to weave together a research agenda that is about giving voice to those that are underrepresented in research.” Rawan was honored with the Susan M. McHale Award at the Psychology and Neuroscience Commencement Ceremony on May 12, 2019.

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