Mary Tschirhart '12
Tschirhart participated in R-MC's
Research Day, which was held on May 11.
Randolph-Macon College student Mary Tschirhart ’12 is just as comfortable conducting
research as she is designing theatre sets.
With a major in psychology and a minor in
drama, Tschirhart has spent a lot of time in the
Copley Science Center labs and in Cobb Theatre.
As the set designer for two of the Drama Department’s productions, A Funny Thing
Happened On the Way To the Forum and Bedroom Farce, Tschirhart
put her artistic skills to use.
“For Forum the set was pretty much laid out in the script, but with Bedroom
Farce I got to use a lot more creativity,” she explains.
“It was a lot of fun because I really got into the mindset of the characters. I
had to plan how to build a large and rather complicated set, which took some time
and a lot of help from Professor Hillmar. He has been a great mentor and is one
of the greatest influences on my life. Nothing is more exciting than seeing your
set in action; it’s as though someone is living in your art. A fantastic feeling.”
SURFing Through Summer
Tschirhart’s 2011 SURF (Schapiro Undergraduate
Research Fellowship) experience played a pivotal role in her college career. Under
the guidance of Psychology Professor Kelly Lambert, Tschirhart looked at two species
of mice, one monogamous and the other non-monogamous, and observed how the mothers
of a litter would react to stress with and without the presence of the father.
“We investigated how well a stressed mother would cope with the absence of the father.
It turned out that it depended on the species: Monogamous species do better with
the father present and non-monogamous species do much better in single-mother units.”
This month, Tschirhart will present her research at the International Behavioral
Neuroscience Conference in Hawaii. Lambert will be there, as will Molly Brown
’12 and Casey Kaufman ’12 who also did SURF research.
“We will also be accompanied by Molly Hyer ’09 and Amanda Rzucidlo
’09 who served as laboratory managers,” says Tschirhart. “This is a
rare opportunity, and I am extremely grateful to Professor Lambert.”
Tschirhart plans on attending graduate school—she’s aiming for Virginia Commonwealth
University or George Mason University—to earn her Ph.D. in psychology.
“I would like to go into research or become a professor at a university,” she says.
“It would be great to help support students in the same way that my R-MC professors
have mentored me.”