Angela Licata ’14 has won a DAAD scholarship to study neuroscience in Germany, where she will pursue her master’s degree through an independent study program.
DAAD stands for Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst, and its mission includes promoting research and academic partnerships between Germany and other countries. Studying abroad is a particular interest for Licata, who last summer did a neuroscience internship at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology in Japan.
“Science is becoming more collaborative internationally, and I’m interested in working that way early in my career,” says Licata. “There were all sorts of different perspectives and I enjoyed the opportunity to share ideas with other people.”
Licata, who is from Cortlandt Manor, New York, is a neuroscience and behavior major. She became increasingly interested in science after taking a high school class on young scientists doing research.
Her goal is to get her Ph.D. and to either teach or run her own lab. She is in the process of identifying a lab where she will do her research in Germany. The yearlong fellowship includes living expenses and a language-training program.
Licata did her senior independent project on the behavior of the meadow vole, a rodent species native to the Northeast. She studied the levels of the hormone oxytocin in the brains of voles under different conditions to understand the neurological components of bonding among peer animals. “That’s going to be applied to how we understand relationships that don’t have to do with mating,” she says.
Licata’s previous awards include the Elaine Marieb Science Fund Award for academic excellence in the sciences.
Christine Overstreet, Mount Holyoke’s national fellowships and graduate school advisor, noted that Licata’s “curiosity, aptitude, and assertiveness in learning” impressed the Committee on Fellowships.
—By Ronni Gordon