Shane Reuter, 2009-2010

"The Visiting Undergraduate Research Fellowship was a great experience. I met with my advisor several times a week, participated in several empirical projects, and viewed numerous lectures by top cognitive scientists from IU, including Nobel Prize-winner Elinor Ostrom, and other universities across the country.

I took several very interesting courses but the bulk of my time was devoted to research with my advisor, Dr. Jonathan Weinberg, and members of his Experimental Epistemology Lab. Throughout the fellowship, I was involved in four research projects investigating the use of heuristics in philosophical intuitions, contrastivist theories of knowledge, the effects of presentation and emotionality in free will thought experiments, and the psychological mechanisms behind free will intuitions. My involvement spanned the entire spectrum of research from data collection to project development and revision.

This experience was invaluable to my education. I will be applying to graduate programs in Philosophy and Cognitive Science this fall, and ultimately, I hope to gain employment at a large, research-oriented university like IU. This fellowship prepared me for both. As mentioned, I worked primarily with Dr. Weinberg and his graduate advisees, and even spent a weekend with them at the Mid-South philosophy conference in Memphis; operating with them forced me to (or at least try to) perform like a graduate student. Through these interactions I experienced first-hand how to conduct cutting-edge research projects meant for professional publication, not an undergraduate course requirement.

In addition to the subject-specific knowledge I gained in philosophy and cognitive science, through the fellowship I learned an incredible amount about the graduate school application process, graduate school itself, and the dynamics of the professions of cognitive science and philosophy- information about gaining employment after graduate school, gaining tenure, presenting at conferences, the publication process, etc. I took classes and conducted research not available at my home institution, and one of the projects will even be submitted for publication in a professional academic journal. The Cognitive Science community provided countless opportunities to learn through various colloquia, lectures, and workshops. Every serious cognitive science undergraduate should consider this fellowship."