Name: Nellie Jenkins, '11
Major: Psychology
Activities: Psychology Teaching Fellow, Westhampton College Government Association, Student Programming and Events Council, Delta Delta Delta Sorority

Nellie Jenkins, ’11, is spending 10 weeks on campus researching how beliefs influence weight loss with psychology professor Jeni Burnette.

Describe your research project.

“Fostering Beliefs for Health Intervention” is a weight loss intervention involving 150 community members. Its aim is to help people reach their dieting and weight loss goals. We’re studying “implicit theories,” or the idea that people have beliefs about characteristics and behaviors that are either changeable or fixed. By encouraging certain belief mindsets about the malleability of weight loss and dieting, we hope that these people will better reach their goals and be more successful in the long run.

How did you get involved with the study?

I’ve worked with Dr. Burnette since my sophomore year doing research on self-regulation and weight management. Prior to this summer we’ve mostly worked with students on campus on small-scale studies. So, when she got an external grant to do this large-scale intervention with a community sample, she invited me to work with her and I was excited to help!

What made you decide to pursue summer research?

This project will help me when I’m working on my senior capstone psychology project. I’ll be designing and running a study of my own. It’s also helping me prepare for graduate school.

You've got a crystal ball. What’s in store for you after graduation?

If all goes as planned, I will attend a Ph.D. program in counseling psychology in order to become a marriage and family counselor.

A full day of research lies ahead of you. What's on your iPod?

Joshua Radin.