Trinity College alumna Marta Zamroziewicz ’13 and Sarah Raskin, Charles A. Dana Research Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience, have co-authored a paper titled “Effects of Drinking Patterns on Prospective Memory Performance in College Students,” which was recently published in Neuropsychology, the journal of the American Psychological Association.
As summarized in an abstract of the paper, “Traditional college students are at a critical juncture in the development of prospective memory. Their brains are vulnerable to the effects of alcohol.” The paper details research involving 123 third and fourth year college students who self-reported alcohol effects. The conclusion drawn from the research was that heavy alcohol use in college students may be related to impairments in prospective memory, which essentially means remembering to remember.
Raskin led Trinity’s participation in the five-year study (2009-2013), the Brain and Alcohol Research with College Students (BARCS) project, which was sponsored by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). The project involved a collaboration of researchers at Trinity, the Institute of Living in Hartford, Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, and Yale University in New Haven. The study’s principal investigator was Godfrey Pearlson, professor of psychiatry and of neuroscience at the Yale School of Medicine and a staff member at the Institute of Living’s Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center. The NIAAA provided more than $3 million in funding for the research, which was designed to answer questions of concern to scientists, legislators, college leaders, and students about the effects of heavy drinking by young people during their college years. Read more about the findings of the BARCS study here and here.
“The research experience in Dr. Raskin’s lab was undeniably one of the most valuable opportunities offered to me at Trinity,” said Zamroziewicz. “This work was a major highlight of my graduate applications, and a fantastic kick-start to my graduate career.” Zamroziewicz, a neuroscience major and an Illinois Scholar at Trinity, is pursuing M.D./Ph.D. degrees at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She is completing her graduate work in the Decision Neuroscience Lab, where her research interests are in the field of cognitive neuroscience, with an emphasis on the neural and neuropsychological effects of nutrition.
“Starting in my first year [at Trinity], I began to develop the skills that most scientists don’t acquire until their graduate careers – reading scientific literature, interacting with research subjects, analyzing data, attending scientific conferences, presenting my work, and so much more,” said Zamroziewicz.
Offering her advice to students interested in studying science, Zamroziewicz said, “If you’re willing to accept the challenge, Trinity will prepare you for a career in science. The opportunities inside and outside the classroom at Trinity for budding scientists are unmatched elsewhere – dedicated faculty, challenging and transformative courses, and invaluable research and internship opportunities. My advice is to make the most of this precious time, and immerse yourself in these experiences!”
Written by Kathy Andrews