Susan Larkin

Susan Harris Larkin, a 2008 Lake Highlands High graduate, has won the Jennifer and Peter Roberts Distinguished New Scientist Award and been honored along with five other scientists by the Friends of BrainHealth, a circle of donors supporting the Center of BrainHealth at UT Dallas. The recognition includes a $25,000 prize for each recipient to fund continuing research.

Larkin and research partner Katie Hinds are studying ways to boost the personal and academic success of college students. With today’s college students facing increasing rates of anxiety, depression and stress, Larkin and Hinds have developed an intervention strategy called SMART, Strategic Memory Advanced Reasoning Training, which students can use in class and for the rest of their lives.

Larkin, who earned a master’s in communications disorders and began her career as a speech pathologist in Richardson ISD, told me she’s grateful to receive the funding for a project she’s passionate about.

“It’s such a blessing to get to be part of something that is changing so many lives. To be recognized in this way is extremely humbling and encouraging.”

Also receiving awards and grants were: Namrata Das (studying Alzheimer’s), Lyndahl Himes (depression), Dinesh Sivakolundu (brain age) and Kathryn West (multiple sclerosis). Thirteen graduate students, doctoral candidates and postdoctoral fellows at the Center for BrainHealth competed for the awards.

“Through the competition for the Friends Award, these early-stage scientists learn how to convey a compelling vision and the life-changing impact their work could have on humanity,” said Dr. Sandra Bond Chapman, founder and chief director of the Center for Brain Health and Dee Wyly Distinguished University Chair. “The experience is invaluable to their future careers.”

Friends of BrainHealth Award recipients, from left: Kathryn West, Dinesh Sivakolundu, Lyndahl Himes, Susan Larkin, Katie Hinds and Namrata Das.