College of Arts & Science at Miami University
Charlie Ebersole (Class of 2012)
- senior with a major in psychology
- minor in political science
- from Beavercreek, OH
- College of Arts and Science ambassador
The feeling of not only taking in the research but starting to contribute to the literature was a very awesome feeling. In my opinion, that's the next step of education — not just being a receiver of knowledge but trying to create your own.
After a Weekend on Campus ...
"Miami actually wasn't on my radar until later in my high school career. I went to high school in Beavercreek, Ohio which is outside of Dayton, a little over an hour away from Miami, and Beavercreek High School has a pretty good tradition of sending students to Miami so that's how I heard of it, from friends who had come here before me. I had never visited, nor had anyone in my family ever gone here. I came and visited and I fell in love with the area and with the campus.
"I spent a weekend with some of my friends who had graduated before me, and I spent some time on campus — being in the residence halls, exploring what it's like to be a student here — and that's what really sold me on coming here.
"I had some great choices for college, but I loved Miami because of the academic feel of the school, and of Oxford; that's what drew me in. Obviously it's a great school. Having all the resources of a larger institution, with a much more intimate feel, was something that really drew me to Miami."
Hooked on Research
"I knew what I wanted to study, but what I want to do with it has changed. I walked in wanting to be a psychology major and a political science minor, which is what my degree will be, so I didn't change that. Originally I was debating on being what I now know is a clinical psychologist or going to law school. After being here for a little more than a semester I became interested in psychological research and I took a class in social psychology and absolutely fell in love with the field. That was about the time that I linked up with my mentor, Dr. [Carrie] Hall, in the Psychology Department. I started doing research with her and never looked back from there.
"Once I got involved with research I started writing my own studies, conducting my own research, and absolutely loved it and that's what I've stuck with ever since and that's the plan for after I graduate. I hope to get my Ph.D. in social psychology, get a teaching post and continue doing research somewhere.
"I was admitted into a lab second semester of my freshman year. I really didn't start doing research in earnest until first semester of my sophomore year but ever since then I've been involved in Dr. Hall's lab. I joined a second lab last year as well."
"It all focuses within the field of social psychology, my research in particular, and a lot of the stuff we do in Dr. Hall's lab, deals with non-conscious processes, not necessarily in the Freudian sense of repressed desires but more dealing with the ways that we behave automatically — the ways that we think without thinking.
"We are constantly being bombarded with stimuli and choices we have to think about and if we had to consciously deliberate on all of those things we'd never get anything done. So, we study all of the ways in which our mind can fast track those decisions and kind of act on autopilot without a conscious awareness. I absolutely find it fascinating.
"One of the main areas that I research is non-conscious mimicry. Essentially we found that human beings tend to mimic each other in social interactions. We don't realize it, it happens automatically, but it has a lot of positive effects on relationships. It makes people like each other more, it makes people more likely to be helpful, to donate to charity, things like that. It's about how our non-conscious behavior, when we're not thinking, can have a lot of positive effects on our social interactions."
Best Miami Moments
"I'm very involved in my research. Authoring my first study was great. It was first semester of my sophomore year and I pitched an idea I thought would be interesting to study and Dr. Hall, who is an outstanding mentor, said, 'I like that. Let's write that up to study.' I had no idea what I was getting myself into, trying to go through all the research proposal forms. The feeling of not only taking in the research but starting to contribute to the literature was a very awesome feeling. In my opinion, that’s the next step of education — not just being a receiver of knowledge but trying to create your own.
"The second study I authored got very promising results. Everything that's been associated with that has been a phenomenal experience. The social psychology research area in the department does a weekly research talk every Friday afternoon. All of the graduate students and professors come together and one of them gives a talk on what their lab is currently researching. I've been going to those talks as one of the few undergrads since my sophomore year, which has been awesome and a great way to meet everyone in the department. At the beginning of this semester, I got to give the research talk on the second study that I'd authored. That was a huge honor and a phenomenal experience. I was the first undergrad they've let give that talk. Getting to be up there, in a room filled with people that I have the upmost respect for, was an amazing experience. A couple of weeks ago I was accepted to present the findings of this study at a conference in New Orleans in January. This conference, in particular, is the largest national conference for social psychology, so I'm beyond stoked to go to that because every researcher I've read, that's still active in the field, will probably be there."
Wise Counsel for Other Students
"Immerse yourself in as many things as possible; try as many things as you possibly can — especially early in your college career. Here at Miami, there's a never-ending list of opportunities. So, as much as you can, go out and get involved in groups, get involved in organizations, and try new things.
"One of my favorites was an honors seminar my second semester my freshman year where we trained and ran a marathon. It was nothing I'd really considered doing before coming to Miami. I saw it on the course listing and a buddy of mine and I decided to sign up and do it. I never would have thought of doing that but it was a life-changing experience — at risk of sounding cliché — but it really was, to accomplish something like that. When you hear an opportunity that just sounds intrinsically interesting, go ahead and take a leap and try something like that."
"I graduate in December. Miami is one of my top choices because the faculty, especially in the social psychology area, are phenomenal. I know all of them, they're all incredible researchers, and so I would be ecstatic to get my doctorate here. I'm also applying to Purdue, Virginia, NYU, and Cornell.
"I feel very ready. My mentors have done a great job. I feel very comfortable asking for letters of recommendation because I know quite a few people in the department. Nothing on the application process is a surprise for me. They've done an excellent job preparing me."