Cloverleaf Graduate and Ashland University Student Receives Research Grant

5/11/11 ASHLAND, OH -- Ashland University sophomore Rachel Carson, a psychology major, has received one of only 14 summer research grants funded by Psi Chi, the international honor society in psychology, and the Association for Psychological Science.

Carson, who will receive a $3,500 stipend from Psi Chi, will be spending her summer in West Long Branch, N.J., working with Dr. Gary Lewandowski Jr. at Monmouth University. Her research project is titled "Embodiment of Self-Expansion: Benefits for Individual Efficacy and Effort."

A member of Psi Chi, Carson is a 2009 graduate of Cloverleaf High School and now a resident of Columbus.

"These grants were very competitive as students from across the country and perhaps the world applied for them," said Dr. Brent Mattingly, assistant professor of psychology at Ashland University. "All undergraduate Psi Chi members are eligible to apply for these summer research grants."

Mattingly said the grant will allow Carson to spend her summer working with Dr. Gary Lewandowski, Jr., who is one of the leading experts in self-expansion theory.

"Basically, self-expansion theory is this idea that individuals have a fundamental motivation to expand their sense of the kind of person they are by acquiring new perspectives, identities, resources and knowledge," Mattingly said.

Mattingly explained that the main way people do this is by forming romantic relationships with others such as a romantic partner who serves as a source of self-growth for the individual. "For example, if an individual's romantic partner has a skill that he or she does not possess, he or she can learn it from the partner, and in turn grow their own capabilities," he said.

Mattingly said Dr. Lewandowski has published more than 30 articles, book chapters and books on romantic relationships and self-expansion, and he has been featured on CNN and had his research quoted in the New York Times, Cosmopolitan, Women's Health, and the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The purpose of the research grant program is to provide funds for members to conduct summer research at nationally recognized research institutions. For a student to be a Psi Chi member, he or she must have completed at least nine hours of psychology credit, have a GPA in the top 35 percent of their class, and must have a psychology GPA of 3.00 or higher ( Psi Chi has chapters at more than 1,090 colleges/universities in the U.S., Canada, and Ireland (

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