P&N Graduate Student Jaime Castrellon Honored for Commitment to Outstanding Mentorship

Friday, April 17, 2020

Doctoral student Jaime Castrellon of Psychology & Neuroscience, along with Amanda Lazarus (Art, Art History & Visual Studies),  has won the 2020 Bass Connections Award for Outstanding Mentorship. This award recognizes the vital role graduate students and postdoctoral scholars play in mentoring students on Bass Connections project teams. Among many strong nominations, those for Castrellon rose to the top. Nominations from fellow team members and leaders described the essential role he played in setting an inspiring vision for the team, guiding students through new research material and cultivating a supportive and inclusive team environment. This award is accompanied by a cash prize. 

Jaime Castrellon is a third-year doctoral candidate in the Department of Psychology & Neuroscience. His research studies how the brain supports motived behaviors like self-control over desires and cost-benefit decisions. His current research as a Bass Connections team leader seeks to identify whether brain activity patterns can predict the influence of motivational text messages on changes in daily physical activity. Castrellon's Bass Connections Project Team is titled: Using Neuroscience to Optimize Digital Health Interventions across Adulthood.

"Jaime is incredibly passionate about teaching and mentoring…[and] is deeply invested in mentoring students from backgrounds under-represented in science…Students who have worked directly with Jaime in the lab have received excellent training. Jaime spends significant time meeting with students one-on-one to go over the basics of experimental design and data analysis. He is committed to making sure that everyone he mentors develops confidence as a researcher and doesn’t just feel like a good helper. He seriously engages every student in data analysis and pushes them to read the literature and creatively make sense of results." –Gregory Samanez-Larkin, Team Leader

"When I first came into the Motivated Cognition and Aging Brain (MCAB) Lab, I was incredibly nervous, this being my first research position and first opportunity to experience the true application of neuroscience (my newly declared major.) Jaime’s gentle, firm mentorship helped me feel secure in my ability to perform and provided ample room for my mistakes. Over our time together, he has helped to cultivate my understanding of neuroscience and the proper methods of research." –Undergraduate Team Member

"Jaime was a great mentor. I came in knowing very little about neuroscience or how to do the work necessary for the project we were working on. He was patient with me and encouraged me to ask questions even if they were basic…He pushed me and my group outside of our comfort zone and prepared us well enough to present as the only undergraduates at a well-established conference. Most importantly, he gave us the skills we needed and made us feel confident enough in ourselves to represent and present on behalf of him." –Undergraduate Team Member

This content was curated and published April 17, 2020 by Duke Bass Connections.