Spencer Campbell awarded scholarship for research on language
2009 Jul 21Psychology major Spencer Campbell is the 2009 recipient of the Ralph Hansen Scholarship because of his extensive research on language and cognitive science. The award is granted to an Augustana junior each year who demonstrates exceptional interest and achievement in psychology. Augustana psychology professor Dr. Daniel Corts says Campbell was a clear choice for the Ralph Hansen Scholarship. "Spencer gets good grades in tough courses, participates in psychology department activities, and has distinguished himself through his research activities." Campbell is interested in cognitive science, a field that primarily focuses on memory, language, perception, and reasoning. He began working with Dr. Corts in the fall of 2008 to understand how people can effortlessly understand non-literal language without getting literal and figurative meanings confused. For instance, they might investigate why people can easily understand the phrase "rumors are a plague in this office" without thinking that rumors are a literal disease. Campbell and two other students designed and conducted three experiments with Dr. Corts. In May 2009, Campbell presented their research at an international association of psychological science in San Francisco. At the end of July, he will travel with Dr. Corts to a research workshop at the University of Liverpool in England. Campbell serves as the Augustana Chapter President of the Psi Chi National Honors Society in Psychology and recently received the Midwestern Psychological Association Research Award. As a senior, Campbell will have the chance to further explore his research interests by designing and conducting an independent study for his senior inquiry project. After graduation, he plans to pursue his doctorate degree in cognitive psychology. Campbell is grateful for the research opportunities he has received at Augustana. "Extensive research like this is exactly the sort of thing needed when going into a Ph.D. program. Thanks to the help and guidance I've received from the staff here in the psych department, I feel very prepared in facing the fast-paced world of professional psychology." Campbell also appreciates the family-like support of the psychology faculty. "When I walk into a psych professor's office, I know I will receive the same amount of interest and care whether I come to talk about a paper or my weekend. The psych department at Augustana is a fantastic environment to learn about an important discipline and yourself." Campbell is the son of James and Deborah Campbell from Glen Ellyn, Illinois and a graduate of Glenbard West High School. He enjoys playing ultimate Frisbee and is the co-captain of an intramural Frisbee team at Augustana. The Ralph Hansen scholarship was established in 1986 in honor of Dr. Ralph Hansen's 25th year of teaching. Dr. Hansen was a psychology professor at Augustana from 1961-1993 and the department chair from 1964-1976. He also organized and directed the Student Counseling Service at Augustana. Hansen passed away in 2004 and is remembered at Augustana for his love of teaching and counseling.