Holmes alumna lands University of Utah assistantship

Pictured is recent Holmes Community College alumna Sykina Butts of Kilmichael. Butts recently landed a research assistant position with the University of Utah Applied Cognition Lab for the summer of 2019.
Pictured is recent Holmes Community College alumna Sykina Butts of Kilmichael. Butts recently landed a research assistant position with the University of Utah Applied Cognition Lab for the summer of 2019.

Recent Holmes Community College alumna Sykina Butts of Kilmichael landed a research assistant position with the University of Utah's Applied Cognition Lab for the summer of 2019. As a research assistant, she will assist cognitive psychologists Dr. Joel Cooper and David Strayer with studies concerning the measurement of driver attention and distraction. Butts first met Dr. Cooper when Phi Theta Kappa honor society hosted a "Think and Drive" seminar on Oct. 16 on the Holmes Grenada Campus.

"I love that our Phi Theta Kappa Think and Drive Project was able to pave the way for Sykina to make the connection with Dr. Joel Cooper and receive an internship," said Grenada Campus Phi Theta Kappa Adviser/Student Activities Director Cynthia Abel. "Our goal with this project was to impact both our students and the community."

Butts, who graduated from Holmes in December, is now a pre-medicine and biology major at Delta State University. She has always excelled in academics; she was valedictorian of Montgomery County High School in 2016, received a full-ride to Holmes with the Dean's Scholarship and earned a spot on the President's List. Her involvement with Phi Theta Kappa not only connected her to Dr. Cooper and led the way to her assistantship, but also provided a full-tuition scholarship to Delta State University. She also applied for (and is waiting to hear back about) the McNair Scholars Program at Delta State University, which aims to help pre-med and other STEM majors with applying to medical school, building attractive resumes, landing internships, prepping for the MCAT and more.

Even as a busy college student, Butts has already gained ample work experience over the past couple of years. During the summer of 2018, she was a direct care intern with Hudspeth Regional Center and through the summer of 2017, she was an emergency medical services intern at Medstat. Butts is also an independent representative with Primerica, which involves educating clients about financial independence.

Outside of work and class, she enjoys writing, drawing and reading. Butts is an active member of Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church in Kilmichael and has recently started a water aerobics class which she says is the most fun part of her week. In addition, she has joined Delta State University's Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) in their efforts to tutor young people in the Cleveland region. She says that she is excited about going to Utah this summer, and plans to study abroad in 2020.

"We are so excited for Sykina," Abel said. "We look forward to hearing about her experiences."

For more information on Holmes Community College Phi Theta Kappa, contact Abel at cabel@holmescc.edu.

For more information on the University of Utah's Applied Cognition Lab, visit: http://appliedcognition.psych.utah.edu/researchteam.php.

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