Jordan Ross, '13
In Spring of 2013 Jordan Ross graduated from UNG with a BS in Psychological Science and a minor in Biology. She moved to Memphis, TN to pursue her Ph.D. in Anatomy and Neurobiology at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. While there, Ross joined the lab of Dr. Max Fletcher where she currently uses the olfactory system to investigate how learning can alter sensory processing at the earliest stages of the olfactory pathway and ultimately lead to changes in perception and behavioral outcomes. Recently, she received a National Institute of Health Predoctoral Fellowship from the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (a division of NIH) totaling $87,152 to be dispersed over the next two years of her Ph.D. It will be used to support her dissertation work, which aims to understand how processing of olfactory stimuli (smells) changes after fear learning, as well as how that contributes to behavioral displays of fear. Aside from research, Ross also enjoys teaching very much; over the past couple of years she has worked as a Teaching Assistant for several different Neuroanatomy labs at UT, helping medical students, dental students, and Physical Therapy students learn the anatomy of the human brain. In addition, Ross has lectured at several local high schools, mostly designing a lecture to fit the needs of specific classes. She tends to spend her free time running, something she picked up after moving to Memphis, and is currently training to run the St. Jude Half Marathon again this December while fundraising on behalf of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
How did UNG benefit you in your Career?
The time I spent at UNG was pretty invaluable to my career now; in classes, sure, but even more so through my participation in undergraduate research. I worked with Dr. Lloyd (Psychological Science) and Dr. Shanks (Biology) to study the long-term effects of ADHD medication abuse and misuse in mice, a project which has since been published. I can’t really express enough just how vital undergraduate research was, I got an unbelievable amount of hands-on experience reading, thinking, and writing like a scientist and a lot of those skills are certainly useful even outside the lab. It was also really confidence building and just fun in general. I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone. In fact, now as a graduate student I recruit and train local high school graduates and undergraduates. I bring them in and really try to teach them all the aspects of a project, including how to think critically about what they’re doing and why and how to problem solve when things (inevitably) go wrong. I had one student just finish her summer research experience with me a couple of weeks ago and I have a couple more students coming in the fall and spring. It’s rewarding and definitely something I decided I wanted to do after working in the lab at UNG.
How do you stay involved as an Alumnus?
I still keep in touch with a lot of my friends from UNG. In addition, I’ve staying in contact with Drs. Lloyd and Shanks. Recently they were in Memphis for a national meeting with several of their current research students. While they were in town, I invited them all to come to UTHSC to give them a tour of our labs and talk to them about graduate school and what it’s like to do research as a fulltime job (there’s often a misconception that getting a PhD is 5 more years of classes just like undergrad but it’s actually a fulltime 40+ hours/week research position).