Centra award for student research at Sweet Briar goes to psychology major

Emily Schlosberg with Centra
Emily Schlosberg ’19 (center) with Dr. Brenda Stokes, chair of the governance committee at Centra Medical Group, and H. Lester Reed, M.D., president of Centra Medical Group

Emily Schlosberg ’19 has been named this year’s recipient of the Centra Health Award of Excellence in Student Scientific Research and Collaborative Innovation, a research prize created in 2016 by Centra Health System’s Centra Medical Group through a partnership with Sweet Briar College. The award was first given out last year. Dr. Les Reed, president of Centra Medical Group, presented the $500 prize to Schlosberg on Thursday, April 26, following the Pannell Honors Scholars Fair in Mary Helen Cochran Library.

Centra established the annual award to reward a student researcher from Sweet Briar for a completed project in the areas of science and technology or science and medicine. The company, based in Lynchburg, is a regional health care system serving more than 380,000 people throughout Central and southern Virginia.

Schlosberg, a psychology and sociology double major from Fairfax Station, won the 2017 award for her contribution to a project started in 2015 by psychology professor Jessica Salvatore. Schlosberg was part of a team of students in PSYC 310 — Experimental Psychology that worked on an aspect of Salvatore’s project that Schlosberg calls “Correcting Misperceived Mental Health Norms.”

“I invited Emily — and two other students who graduated last year — to work on this, which was a real vote of confidence since I was entrusting them to extend a research project that I am really excited about and hope to publish soon,” Salvatore explains. “I thought it was a good candidate for the Centra award since it relates to mental health norms — specifically, classroom trigger warnings.”

Adds Schlosberg, “Oftentimes people think that others need trigger warnings more than they actually do. This research was aimed at helping to better align students’ and professors’ expectations, and at helping professors to use trigger warnings correctly.”

Salvatore says she is proud of Schlosberg’s work, which includes three contributions in particular.

“First, replicating a dataset that showed these misperceptions; second, designing and testing an intervention that proved to be successful; and third — this is Emily’s unique contribution — encouraging me to extend the dataset in a novel and useful way: to probe faculty accuracy,” Salvatore says.

NCEA team in Texas
Schlosberg (second from left) and her NCEA teammates in Waco, Texas

Initial news of the award came the week before last while Schlosberg, an active rider and president of her class, was representing Sweet Briar at a national competition.

“I actually found out I won while I was competing at the NCEA National Championships in Texas with the Sweet Briar riding team,” she said. “It was a nice surprise, and the whole team was very excited for me, which was a great feeling.”

Schlosberg rides on all three College teams — the National Collegiate Equestrian Association, which Sweet Briar just joined last fall, as well as the Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association and the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. This summer, she plans to work and compete with a young horse while studying for her GRE. Next semester, she’ll also be head of the Riding Council.

Schlosberg hopes the award will improve her chances of getting into her top-choice graduate schools. And she has a lot going for her already: She’s on the Academic Advisory Committee for sociology, is a 2019 judicial representative and serves as the non-academic judicial chairwoman.

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