Congratulations to Ceren Ebrem, winner of the 2020 Karl E. Zener Award. This award is given annually to an undergraduate psychology major at Duke University who has shown outstanding performance and scholarship, as determined on the basis of both the honors thesis (evaluated by a committee of faculty members) and the total academic record.
As part of her study, Mindsets Through Language: Implications of Inferred Mindsets for Student Experience, Ceren was hoping to find if students’ intelligence mindsets could be measured through language, using students’ free response answers. She was curious to see how different mindsets shaped the way these students experienced their classes.
“I’ve always been fascinated by one of the key takeaways of our introductory psychology class: our minds construct our reality. When I had the opportunity to join an ongoing research study about intelligence mindsets, I was so excited!” Ceren said.
Her research provided evidence that language can indeed be a reliable indicator of intelligence mindsets. Ceren discovered that students who think intelligence is rather fixed can be more vulnerable to self-defined “failure” in academics. Ceren also discovered that grade satisfaction can be an important predictor for well-being for these students.
“In the broadest sense: Mindsets matter! And language can reveal underlying intelligence mindsets,” Ceren said.
During her time at Duke, Ceren was part of the Baldwin Scholars program, which profoundly shaped her time at Duke. “I’ve been involved in the internal affairs of our organization, as well as the initiatives aimed to reach the whole school. I started a house course with other women in my cohort called ‘Women’s Empowerment at Duke and Beyond’, which has been taught for the past 5 semesters and hopefully will continue.” Ceren said.
Ceren has also been a Costanzo Teaching Fellow within the Psychology and Neuroscience department for the past two years, as well as working in the Translational Center for Stress Related Disorders at Duke Hospital, the Marsh Lab, and the BRITE Lab.
After graduation, Ceren will be working as an Associate Consultant at Mastercard Advisors, in DC. She is also considering a PhD in Psychology within the next two to three years.