Doctoral student dives into her passion for research and human development

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Portrait of Madeline Nichols

Doctoral student dives into her passion for research and human development

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Meet Health Hero Madeline Nichols

Madeline Nichols, from Rock Hill, South Carolina, is working toward her doctoral degree in human development and family studies and has a special interest in aging.

What inspired or interested you about HDFS? And why did you choose OSU and the College of Health?

I love studying human development and family sciences because it includes so much – where we've been, where we are, and where we're going!

I have always been fascinated by development, and adult development and aging in particular. I love thinking about the future and how we can optimize everyone's futures so we can live happier and healthier for longer. 

Ultimately, I chose to pursue my PhD at OSU largely because of former HDFS students – Drs. Eric Cerino and Shelbie Turner – whom I was fortunate enough to meet at a conference when I was still a prospective student. Their willingness to get to know me and introduce me to people I was interested in working with indicated an overall program culture that supported and scaffolded the success of its students wherever they ended up. If I had to go back, I would make the same decision again. 

Our HDFS faculty, and specifically my advisors, Associate Professors Kelly Chandler and John Geldhof, have helped me grow not only as a researcher but also as an individual. 

Tell us about your research. What have you learned from the experience?

While at OSU, I've participated in multiple research projects and have been fortunate enough to be funded to collect my own data through the Center for Healthy Aging Research's LIFE Scholars Summer Research program

Through this program, and under Associate Professor Kelly Chandler's guidance, I was able to create the Contextual Influences on Daily Emotion Regulation (CIDER) Study, a daily diary survey focused on understanding the selection and utility of emotion regulation strategies in work and family contexts for adults in midlife. 

I've learned a lot about the research process, from measurement development and survey distribution to new analytic methods and even perseverance when submitting manuscripts. 

I've also learned how to really hone my research interests and prioritize certain research questions, although I still have a long way to go on that front. I just get too excited about research, sometimes! 

I'm very grateful to the Center for Healthy Aging Research for believing in and supporting my project.

Have you received a scholarship? If so, how has it affected your life and studies?

I've received the Josephine Zimmerman Gerontology Fellowship for the past two years, and it has been instrumental in providing me the funds to attend and present at my annual conference – the Gerontological Society of America's Annual Scientific Meeting – as well as allowing me to focus wholly on my studies.