Mercedes Stanek, BS '24


When she realized she wanted to major in psychology, Mercedes Stanek looked for a college that would give her solid research experience.

“With research being such a large focus of the university, ONU was the perfect place to pursue my passion,” she said, adding that she concentrated in behavioral neuroscience with a minor in applied statistics.

As it turned out, the size of the university was also a huge benefit.

“The small class sizes allowed me to build a close relationship with my professors, which helped me immensely,” Mercedes explained. “At ONU, each student is important.”

While growing up in Mentor, Ohio, Mercedes received a lot of support from her parents for her interests.

“They always encouraged me to pursue my love for learning,” she noted. “They would help me do science experiments, got me a telescope to look at the stars, and encouraged me to study whatever I desired.”

Mercedes plans to pursue a Ph.D. in experimental psychology from the University of Toledo.

Photo of Mercedes working on a laptop

“I have always wanted to help people, and I have always been fascinated by human behavior,” she said. “Majoring in psychology allowed me to combine both.”

Very focused, Mercedes received the Presidential Scholarship and the Distinguished Achievement Award in Psychology at ONU.

Also, she assisted in Dr. Phil Zoladz’s Human Subjects Behavioral Neuroscience Research Lab.

“I was able to explore how stress impacts learning and memory,” Mercedes explained. “It is similar to what I will be doing in graduate school, as well as for my career. 

Mercedes is grateful for the many experiences that ONU provided.

“I presented my research study at the annual convention for the Association for Psychological Science in Chicago,” she said. “During my sophomore year, I conducted my own study on the reliability of memory while witnessing a crime. I also had the privilege of presenting a poster entitled ‘Collaborating on Recall Enhances Accuracy for Auditorily Experienced, but Not Visually Experienced Witnessed Events’ at the conference. This really helped further my research career and network within my field.”

She wants high school students interested in psychology to be aware of all ONU has to offer.

“The psychology faculty are extremely welcoming and are there to help you,” she said. “The opportunities are unique. ONU’s spotlight on research allowed me to have opportunities not many other universities provide to their undergraduate students.”