Melissa DeWoody (’19)
Melissa DeWoody is a senior Penn State Schreyer Honors College scholar majoring in mathematics and statistics. Due to her interest in better understanding the contributions of nature and nurture to child development, Melissa joined Dr. Jenae Neiderheiser’s research team in 2017, during her junior year. Melissa worked as a research assistant on the Early Growth and Development Study (EGDS), a large, longitudinal adoption study. She helped with the coding and data management of medical records, which revealed how longitudinal data can often be harder to work with compared to the theoretical datasets she used in statistics courses. Because Melissa was interested in applying mathematical concepts to real world data, she chose to complete her Honors’ thesis using this data. Melissa aimed to investigate the influence of genetics and environment, and their interaction on the development of child anxiety and early school performance when children were in 1st and 2nd grade. Melissa really enjoyed the opportunity to gain more research experience with real world data and learn about the difficulties of math applications to longitudinal datasets.
After graduation, Melissa has a job with American Eagle, working in supply chain management. In the future, Melissa hopes to pursue an advanced degree in developmental psychology and continue to focus on math applications and the study of genetics and the environment on child development.
We wish Melissa the best as she graduates!