Student Spotlight: Melanie Parrott, senior in Psychology

Photo of Melanie Parrott

The undergraduate research fellowship program at Auburn University is a prestigious award for undergraduate researchers. They are invited to participate in informal gatherings throughout the fellowship year to discuss their research activities and other topics of mutual interest. In addition to presenting at annual Auburn University research events, fellows are also encouraged to present papers at regional or national meetings. This year, the College of Liberal Arts awarded six fellowships.

Melanie Parrot is one of the six students who received an undergraduate research fellow this year. She is a senior who double majors in psychology and biomedical sciences. She is studying the thought process of how nutritional information impacts food decisions. Her project's title is: The Impact of Nutrition Knowledge on Calorie Framing Effects and Food Consumption Decisions.

We asked her to share a little bit about herself and to tell us more about her fascinating research.

Would you tell us about yourself?

I am from Tampa, FL, but my family also has a cabin in the mountains of North Carolina. I chose to attend Auburn because I wanted to go out of state, and I fell in love with the school when I first visited. I have always wanted to be a doctor, so I came to college for a biomedical sciences degree. I found psychology really interesting, and I had some extra space in my schedule, so I picked up a psychology major my sophomore year.

Would you elaborate on your research?

My sophomore year I worked with a PhD candidate, Matthew Davis, on his dissertation research. I found his research topic both interesting and important, and it became the inspiration for my own research. In psychology terms, I am looking at how Dual Process Theory and framing effects influence people’s food decisions. Essentially, I am looking at how individuals thought processes and how information presented on nutrition labels combine to influence the choices people make about food. The undergraduate research fellowship program has allowed me to be a leader in my own research while receiving the support I need from both the College of Liberal Arts and my mentor, Professor Ana Franco-Watkins.


What are your future plans? 

My ultimate goal is to attend medical school.  I would love to combine my interest in the biomedical sciences with my interest in psychology to perhaps become a psychiatrist, but I am also keeping an open mind.


Written by Vicky Santos, director of external affairs in the College of Liberal Arts at Auburn University

Last Updated: January 30, 2018