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Student Spotlight: Nicole Dhruv 09F

Submitted by on July 24, 2013 – 9:10 amNo Comment
Hometown: Boston, MA Div III: TBA “I’m not witty enough to think of a title,” Nicole jokes. Div III committee: John Castrino and Melissa Burch Student groups: former signer for SOURCE mixed-heritage Work: Melissa Burch’s research assistance and lacrosse co-coach for CONNECTIONS afterschool program at Kelly School in Holyoke

Hometown: Boston, MA
Div III: A cross-disciplinary approach examining depressive behavior in a college-aged sample
Div III committee: John Castorino and Melissa Burch
Student groups: former signer for SOURCE Mixed Heritage group
Work: Melissa Burch’s research assistant and lacrosse co-coach for CONNECTIONS after-school program at Kelly School in Holyoke

Nicole’s Division III project is a massive interdisciplinary study on the biological and psychological triggers and factors of depression.

While, in high school, Nicole had thought she’d attend one of the other schools in the Five College Consortium, studying creative writing and continuing her impressive athletic career; she found she wanted a change of pace and enrolled at Hampshire, eventually unearthing a passion for science while here.

“During my Division II experience I was really obsessed with the idea of finding a middle ground between biology and psychology. I was overwhelmed because these are two vast fields with completely different methodology and terminology,” Nicole said, going on to explain that the questions she was asking and exploring in her Div II concentration laid the ideal foundation for her current study.

The interdisciplinary nature of Nicole’s Div III means that a massive part of her efforts are involved in bridging disciplines and independent bodies of scholarship.

“So my question is, if all these variables are linked to depression, why haven’t we studied them all together to understand more about depression?” Nicole said.

Nicole’s study specifically examines a particular brain mutation, morning cortisol levels, stressful events, autobiographical memories, and depressive behavior. The interaction of these factors has been proven significant in scholarship within the fields of biology and psychology, respectively.

Nicole explained that there is little to no research “bringing these two methodologies together to understand pathological manifestation of depression, and that’s where my work comes in,” Nicole explained.

Balancing multiple methodologies, numerous variables within the study, three different labs, faculty from two different departments, and five research assistants has been a real challenge, but, Nicole stressed, worth the chance to further our understanding of depression.

Nicole was nominated for a Student Spotlight by Ryan McLaughlin for her work within the Culture, Brain, and Development program. 

By: Barbara Morrison 10F