NIH Scholar Pickworth, '13, Hopes to Find Neurological Clues to Obesity

Albion College student Katie Pickworth, '13
"Research isn't a chore or a job; it's something I want to do," says Columbus, Ohio, native Katie Pickworth, '13, who was selected for Albion's student research partners program prior to arriving on campus and worked with psychology professor Andrew Christopher throughout her first year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that about one-third of American adults are obese. Albion College junior Katie Pickworth hopes to use funding from the National Institutes of Health Undergraduate Scholarship Program to determine if there are psychological and neurological triggers that can be linked to the condition.

"The research is not going to be easy, but I think there are things going on in people’s brains that lead them to become overweight through excessive eating," Pickworth, a product of Columbus, Ohio, and the Columbus School for Girls, said. "People who have never been overweight don’t understand it is beyond an overweight individual to control how much they are eating."

Pickworth, one of 13 recipients of the NIH award, receives a scholarship and internship. In January, she will be matched with a mentor with whom she will work for 10-week periods over the next two summers, and for every year she receives the $20,000 scholarship Pickworth is obligated to work for the NIH for a year.

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