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New worlds have opened up for Jay Phillip Jefferson through his research and scholarship. The first time Jay got on a plane to travel outside his native Miami was last year, as a fellow in the highly competitive Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program.

The trip was to Michigan State University, where the first-generation university student spent three months working in the Breedlove Jordan Laboratory, under the guidance of Principal Investigator Cynthia Jordan. He went on to travel to five other states following the completion of his McNair project, presenting his neuroscience research on Spinal and Bulbar Muscular Atrophy at various conferences.

Under the mentorship of Professor Robert Lickliter, Jay has been actively involved in research since May 2010 in the Department of Psychology’s Developmental Psychobiology Laboratory, where he has completed his undergraduate honors thesis on the effects of enrichment on learning and memory in bobwhite quail.

Jay Jefferson

He’s also a research assistant under the guidance of Professor Sian Evans. He has completed a manuscript that he plans to submit for publication on his ongoing work with owl monkeys and will be presenting a poster on his research project in June at the American Society of Primatologists Conference in Sacramento, Calif.

Jay, who was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, also has organized several professional and academic development workshops to help and motivate fellow students as president of Psi Chi. After graduation, he will pursue his Ph.D. in animal behavior at the University of California, Davis, on a full scholarship.