Emily Barnes

My interests in psychology have always been rooted in child development, and through my time at UT and experiences in research labs, I discovered a more focused passion for studying the cognitive effects of developmental disorders, learning disabilities, medical illnesses and brain injuries in children. This year, I am working on my senior thesis under Dr. Jessica Church-Lang, studying executive function in children with disorders of cognitive control. I hope to work in a psychology lab after graduation, before applying to Clinical Psychology Ph.D. programs. Aside from research, I am also a volunteer at the Austin Child Guidance Center, a Plan II peer advisor, and a teaching assistant for a freshman seminar class. Outside of school I love to travel, practice my Spanish, hike and swim my favorite nature spots in Austin, pet other people’s dogs at Zilker Park, and eat tacos at least once a day.

Majors: Psychology; Plan II Honors

Honors Program: Plan II Honors

Other Academic Interests: Spanish

Extracurricular Activities:
Fall 2016 & 2017: Teaching Assistant – UGS 302 “What Makes the WorldIntelligible,” UT Austin
Summer 2017: Intern/research assistant – Carey Lab, Harvard Lab for Developmental Studies, Harvard University
2015-2016: Lab manager (2016), research assistant (2015-2016) – Imagination and Cognition Lab, Children’s Research Center, UT Austin
2016: Research assistant – Anxiety and Health Behaviors Lab, Institute for Mental Health Research, UT Austin Student Organizations
2015-current: Plan II Peer Advisor
2014-2017: Chi Kappa Phi Service Society: Selection Committee Member
(2016), Campus Relations Chair (2015-2016), Assistant Philanthropy
Director (2015)

What drew you to the Forty Acres Scholars Program (FASP)?
The Forty Acres Scholars Program does not hand students a check and send us on our way, but rather remains actively invested in our development throughout our time at UT. Workshops and talks with professors and alumni, bonding activities with my cohort, and the emphasis on global experiences and enrichment drew me to the program and have shaped my college experience every step of the way. I have personal relationships with other Forty Acres scholars, the program staff, my donor’s family, and several UT alumni leading their fields. These relationships have supported me as I explored my interests and changed my mind and questioned my path. Throughout all the challenges of college, Forty Acres programming pushed me to keep exploring my passions, learning more, and trying new experiences. Forty Acres enabled me to study abroad in Granada, Spain for a semester of my junior year, where I took my classes in Spanish and lived with a Spanish host family. The program allowed me to take an internship at the Harvard Lab for Developmental Studies last summer, where I researched under leaders of the cognitive development field. I am now planning to pursue a career in pediatric neuropsychology research, and without Forty Acres I would not have been able to take advantage of the opportunities that led me where I am today. Knowing that I have friends and mentors willing to help me achieve my passions is priceless.

Favorite FASP Memory?
Either meeting Matthew McConaughey at the Distinguished Alumnus Awards or staying up all night with my cohort freshman year at Camp Texas, predicting each other’s futures