Keaton Fletcher, a Washington and Lee University senior from Littleton, Colo., has been named the 2012 recipient of the David G. Elmes Pathfinder Prize in Psychology.
The Elmes Pathfinder prize recognizes a student who has shown extraordinary promise in psychological science or in the application of psychological science in the professions through outstanding scholarship in basic or applied psychology.
Fletcher, a double major in neuroscience and psychology, worked as a research assistant with W&L Professor of Psychology Wythe Whiting, researching the difference in positivity bias between older and younger adults. He also worked with W&L Leonard Jarrard, an emeritus psychology professor, on the effects of a high fat diet on memory.
He also spent the 2012 summer as an intern for Dana's Angels Research Trust, conducting research in Niemann-Pick Type C (NPC), a rare genetic disease. W&L alumnus Phil Marella, whose two children have been diagnosed with NPC, sponsors three W&L student interns to work in different laboratories each summer.
In addition to his involvement in psychological research, Fletcher serves as co-president of LIFE, a student-run organization that provides information, programs and campus-wide speakers for students to make informed decisions about their lives.
He is also co-president of Washington and Lee Chamber Singers, recognized as one of the finest a cappella choirs in the region, and is a member of W&L's student-run a capella group, General Admission, that performs frequently on campus.
He is a member of both Beta Beta Beta, the Phi Xi Chapter of the National Biological Honor Society, and Psy Chi, the National Psychology Honor Society, and vice president of the fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon.
Fletcher's future plans include a career in the health profession, and he is applying to public health programs and industrial organizational psychology programs.
The Elmes Pathfinder Prize was established in 2007 through the Elmes Fund, a permanently endowed fund that honors David G. Elmes, emeritus professor of psychology at Washington and Lee. The fund was created by contributions from the many alumni, colleagues, and friends who benefited from Elmes' abiding integrity and commitment to learning during his 40-year career as a scientist, teacher and mentor at Washington and Lee.