BBS Researchers Work in Program Honoring Late Prof, Spouse

Duane and Linda Buhrmester Research Awardees

Ryan Buhrmester, son of Duane and Linda Buhrmester (right), congratulates award recipients (back, from left) Kendall Marshall, Allyson Rice and Amy Zwierzchowski-Zarate; and (front, from left) Susan Sipe and Rose Ashraf.

Five undergraduates in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences are spending the summer as researchers and working alongside their faculty mentors, thanks to a fund established to honor the late Dr. Duane Buhrmester.

The BBS Summer Scholars received the Duane and Linda Buhrmester Research Award, which was created to encourage students’ professional development. They were honored at a luncheon in June. The awards will be presented annually in the future.

Dr. Duane Buhrmester served as associate dean of undergraduate education for BBS from 1997 until 2010, when he and his wife Linda died in a mountain climbing accident. Buhrmester was committed to providing undergraduates at UT Dallas with a strong foundation in research and spent countless hours mentoring students.

The five undergraduates receiving the award this summer include two students majoring in psychology, two students in neuroscience, and one student majoring in speech-language pathology and audiology. A faculty committee evaluated applications and based its selections on the students’ commitment to research and academic accomplishments.

Dr. Melanie Spence

Linda and Duane Buhrmester 

Allyson Rice is an award recipient who is scheduled to graduate in December with bachelor’s degrees in psychology and criminology. She plans to attend graduate school and pursue a PhD in social psychology.

“This summer I will be working on multiple experiments,” said Rice, who will assist Dr. Alice O’Toole, the Aage and Margareta Moller Professor in Neuroscience. “I will examine what types of images people find best suited for identification purposes. I will also look at differences in gaze strategy between male and female participants in an identification-matching task.”

A $200 financial award will go to each scholar, and their faculty sponsors will receive support for the students’ summer research projects. BBS will inscribe the names of annual recipients on the Duane and Linda Buhrmester Undergraduate Research Award plaque every year, beginning with this summer’s group.

“The BBS Undergraduate Studies Committee decided that supporting student research was an appropriate way to honor both Duane and Linda.”

Dr. Melanie Spence,
associate dean of BBS

“The BBS Undergraduate Studies Committee decided that supporting student research was an appropriate way to honor both Duane and Linda,” said Dr. Melanie Spence, associate dean of BBS. “Duane developed avenues for BBS students to acquire important research experience within our degree plans and strongly encouraged students to engage in research opportunities. Linda, who was trained as a child development professional, appreciated the value of research for informing practice and policy in child development. We are excited that the Buhrmester Development Fund provides this opportunity to continue Duane’s efforts to support students’ research training.”  

Susan Sipe is another student scholar who will graduate in December with a bachelor’s degree in speech-language pathology and audiology. She then intends to pursue a master’s in communication disorders.

This summer she will work with Dr. William Katz, an associate professor at the Callier Center for Communication Disorders. They will study individuals who have severe speech loss, analyzing data after kinematic testing using electromagnetic articulography.

“The experience in the speech lab will deepen my understanding of the need to prepare conscientiously for a career teaching children and adults to express themselves through language,” Sipe said.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].

Tagged: BBS research