Research Success

Photo by Duane Zehr

By Margaret Cipriano ‘15
March 23, 2015

Figuring out why psychology major Alexi Cranford ’15 is so successful is no mind game. With years of research, internships, and even a co-authored publication under her belt, Cranford’s academic prowess opened the door to the University of Nebraska’s highly competitive clinical psychology doctoral program, which boasts a national acceptance rate of less than 5 percent.

Cranford attributed her success to a range of opportunities in the classroom and beyond. She shadowed substance abuse counselors for an internship, conducted research in Bradley’s Stress, Emotion and Alcohol Laboratory and served as an executive board member for the Psi Chi psychology honor society.

“I am so grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of another fantastic psychology program,” Cranford said. “I admire the work that they are doing at the University of Nebraska, so I am eager to see how the knowledge and skills that I have gained at Bradley will translate to my graduate studies there.”

The practical aspects of the field are what psychology professor Dr. Amy Bacon identifies as Cranford’s distinguishing learning experiences. Bacon collaborated with Cranford in the SEA lab, where Cranford researched the role that social ostracism plays in decisions to drink alcohol. In this role, Cranford conducted clinical interviews, guided participants through a study, administered alcohol, and monitored behavioral and physiological measurements to ensure patient safety.

“Dr. Bacon's lab has prepared me for graduate study in some very beneficial ways,” Cranford said. “I have always been interested in the study of human behavior, so the chance to pursue my passion at the doctoral level is very exciting.”

Additionally, Cranford’s work has received public exposure. She co-authored a study recently published in academic journal “Psychology of Addictive Behaviors.” Results of her departmental Honors Program thesis will be submitted to the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies for consideration at the organization’s November conference.

“Highly competitive graduate schools look very favorably upon involvement in quality research-- the earlier the student gets started the better,” said department chair Dr. Derek Montgomery. “Alexi took advantage of research opportunities early in her undergraduate career. Because of her efforts, she is well-prepared for graduate school.”