The Columns

Jake Burnett Wins Elmes Pathfinder Prize in Psychology

— by on October 20th, 2016

jake_burnettJake Burnett, a Washington and Lee University senior from Anaheim Hills, California, has been awarded the 2016 David G. Elmes Pathfinder Prize in Psychology.

The prize recognizes a student who has shown extraordinary promise in psychological science or in the application of psychological science in the professions through outstanding scholarship in basic or applied psychology.

Burnett, a psychology and music double major, has worked with Julie Woodzicka, the Abigail Grigsby Urquhart Professor of Psychology at W&L, in the Prejudice and Intergroup Relations Lab for nearly two years on research that addresses the confrontation of sexist and racist humor. Burnett served as a W&L Summer Research Scholar in 2015.

In January 2016, he was given the opportunity to present this research in a poster session at the annual national conference for the Society for Personality and Social Psychology in San Diego, California. In November 2016, he will again present the Intergroup Relations Lab research in a poster session at the annual regional conference for the Society for Southeastern Social Psychologists in Asheville, North Carolina.

Burnett spent the summer of 2016 at the University of California, San Francisco as a research assistant intern in the Emotion, Health and Psychophysiology Lab. This research investigated empathy, stress, oxytocin and couples’ sleep patterns among other topics. He is currently working on his senior thesis which intersects his interests in intergroup relations, positive psychology and music, investigating how different kinds of music affect women’s group identification and collective self-esteem.

Outside of the psychology department, Burnett is the student manager and bass section leader for the University Singers and co-music director for General Admission a cappella group. He is also active on the club tennis team and in University Theatre, having performed in three Bentley musicals and one Mindbending student production. He is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa Leadership Honor Society and Psi Chi Psychology National Honor Society.

Burnett’s post-graduation plans include additional research in a university lab, leading to graduate school closer to home in Southern California.

The Elmes Pathfinder Prize was established in 2007. It derives from the Elmes Fund, a permanently endowed fund that honors David G. Elmes, emeritus professor of psychology at W&L. The many alumni, colleagues and friends who benefited from Elmes’ commitment to learning during his 40-year career as a scientist, teacher and mentor at W&L created the endowment.

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