SOUTH BOSTON, MA, October 19, 2021 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Dr. Sandra Ladd has been included in Marquis Who's Who. As in all Marquis Who's Who biographical volumes, individuals profiled are selected on the basis of current reference value. Factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility, and prominence in a field are all taken into account during the selection process.
Dr. Ladd, an alumna from the Division of Graduate Medical Sciences at Boston University School of Medicine, has been a Research Affiliate with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) since 2012 in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences. She is currently conducting research in behavioral neuroscience with an emphasis on emotion-specific memory and its potential application to variation in the detection of disease-related symptoms with aging. Her research report Effect of Phosphatidylcholine on Explicit Memory published in Clinical Neuropharmacology is cited in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences (Daniele et al., 2020) as the seminal study spearheading the development of medicine designed to prevent memory loss with aging by preserving hippocampal neurons. Dr. Ladd's research contributions include identifying one of the mechanisms underlying the mere exposure effect, a form of implicit or nonconscious memory pioneered by Robert Zajonc, and advancing our understanding of how divided attention and the age-related positivity effect interact with this form of memory. Apart from her focus on neuroscience, she is the inventor of a medical device that aims to provide a non-invasive mechanical alternative to spinal fusion surgery. Dr. Ladd was invited into the Science Program for Excellence in Science sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Boston University School of Medicine and received a Science Symposium Award from the Massachusetts Neuropsychological Society.
Alongside her primary work with MIT, Dr. Ladd is nationally recognized for her contributions to science education as documented in the book Teaching Psychology in America: A History. Dr. Ladd was recognized for the creation and implementation of innovative educational programs with an emphasis on science education at the community college level by receiving three national teaching awards: the American Psychological Association Teaching Excellence Award, the Teaching Excellence Award from the National Institute of Staff and Organizational Development, and the Psi Beta/Virginia Staudt Sexton National Faculty Sponsor Award. Based on these awards, Dr. Ladd was an Invited Participant to the Forum on Exemplary Teaching sponsored by the American Association for Higher Education.
Dr. Ladd's interest in science education at the lower division level began when she became the recipient of a National Science Foundation (NSF) Science Faculty Development Grant for the purpose of doing research in the Biomedical Division of the Psychophysiology Laboratory at the National Aeronautics and Space Agency (NASA)-Ames Research Center. This NSF grant encouraged her to develop the first Experimental Psychophysiology Laboratory in the United States at the two-year college level. The purpose of the lab was to provide community college students enrolled in Experimental Psychophysiology with a hands-on experience of designing and conducting their own research in student teams. The innovatively designed course provided students with 2 hours of lecture and 6 hours of lab (3 arranged, 3 scheduled), that served to fulfill their science laboratory credit under Biological Sciences upon transfer to the UC system, and allowed them to successfully compete at annual research competitions for undergraduate student at the regional and state level. She also sponsored honor students for research internships at Ames Research Center and co-developed the Journal of Undergraduate Psychological Research (JUPR), with abstracts included in Research in Education (ERIC). For three consecutive years, Dr. Ladd's students won the National Research Award sponsored by the National Honor Society in Psychology for Community Colleges (Psi Beta), a student record that has not been surpassed. Afterwards, Dr. Ladd was elected to serve as the President of Psi Beta. She made regular presentations on innovative educational programs at the American Psychological Association's annual conventions with featured articles in the Teaching of Psychology and the Monitor on Psychology.
Her national contributions to science education were recognized at the local level. While she was a full-time professor in the Psychology Department at West Valley College in Saratoga, California, she was given reassigned time to develop a college-wide honors program. She is the founder and was the director of the Honors University Transfer Program (HUTP), the first community college honors program in northern California to receive the UCLA transfer alliance. HUTP provides West Valley College honor students with consideration for priority admission into impacted programs at UCLA and other universities in the state of California. Using a team-teaching and collaborative learning format designed to increase creative and critical thinking, courses are taught in transdisciplinary units organized around three themes: Civilizations of the World, Science Inquiry and Applications, and Thought and Politics. Transdisciplinary units train students to write, speak and apply quantitative reasoning across the curriculum while fulfilling the University of California's general education transfer requirements.
Simultaneous with her dedication to science education, Dr. Ladd created programs to increase diversity in the educational pipeline. Dr. Ladd was the founder, director, and co-director of Diversity Project 2000 and Beyond (DP2kB), a national leadership and mentoring summer program that was designed to encourage ethnic minority honor students at the community college level to consider a career in the research, teaching, or practice of psychology. The program was sponsored for 14 years by the Office of Ethnic Minority Affairs (OEMA) of the American Psychological Association (APA). At James Madison University, Dr. Ladd represented the Diversity Committee for the National Forum on Psychology Partnerships sponsored by the Educational Directorate of the APA. Consistent with her commitment to increasing diversity in higher education, she is the author of "If It's Impossible, Do It," a play designed to encourage women of color to pursue a career in research that was produced by the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI). Local high school students had the opportunity to see the play at the OMSI theatre and it was later produced for educational television.
Dr. Ladd has earned a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Science from San Jose State University. She further pursued postgraduate coursework through the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Ladd ultimately obtained a PhD through the Division of Graduate Medical Sciences at Boston University's School of Medicine. Driven to remain aware of ongoing changes in the field, Dr. Ladd is affiliated with the American Chemical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the National Academy of Neuropsychology.
Dr. Ladd's professional journey is the path less trodden. Her focus on encouraging the creative and intellectual development of high ability students at the community college level in America connected her to world-class mentors and motivated the pursuit of her own journey from a nationally recognized science educator to a student in the Division of Graduate Medical Sciences at Boston University, and finally, to an MIT Research Affiliate.
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