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Moravian College

SOAR Profile - Alexandra Giacoletti

Name: Alexandra Giacoletti 
Major/minor: Double major in Psychology and English; Minor in German 
Expected date of graduation: Spring 2015 Hometown: Apple Valley, Calif./ Nazareth, Pa. 
Clubs: President of Active Minds; sisterhood and scholarship chair of Alpha Sigma Alpha; active member of the Equestrian Team; editor of Moravian’s literary magazine, The Manuscript; and a member of Psi Chi, the psychology honor society, and 26 Points. 
Project title: Free Recall as a Teaching Exercise: Changes in Memory Organization Over Time 
Project advisor: Sarah Johnson

Alexandra Giacoletti entered her SOAR project with her eyes on the future. The psychology major hopes to one day attend graduate school, which she knows is a requirement “in order to reach my career goals,” she says. Since research is a critical component of higher education and her graduate school path, and she had yet to conduct psychological research outside the classroom, Alexandra saw a SOAR project as a necessity.

“I thought SOAR would be the perfect opportunity to introduce me to how psychology research is done,” explains Alexandra, who plans to earn a doctorate in clinical psychology and eventually work in private practice or at a health care facility.

Her project consisted of two main goals: To observe how semantic memory changed over time, and to measure the effectiveness of free recall as a study technique. Alexandra used the free recall technique to track the changes in students’ memory throughout May and Summer I Term classes, and gave students surveys at the beginning and end of the semester. The surveys asked students to rate their use of various study techniques from 1 to 5 on both the pre-semester survey and the post-semester survey, and on the post-semester survey, to describe the usefulness of the free recall technique.

With her findings in hand, Alexandra co-authored a psychological paper, which she admits she enjoyed perfecting for publication – her experience as editor of The Manuscript must have shown through. “The prospect of getting our paper published in a journal was exciting and a large motivator for participating in SOAR research,” she explains.

Today, with a greater understanding of how research is conducted in the field of psychology, Alexandra is one step closer to her career goals.