Undergraduate Research Program

Jacqueline McAleer

Jacqueline smiling for the cameraMajor: Neuroscience, Philosophy
Mentor: Ryan Farero, Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Contact: mcalejac@uw.edu

Current research project: The Effects of the Kappa Opioid System on Dopamine in Cocaine Addiction in Rats


Jacqueline is a junior majoring in Neuroscience and Philosophy at the University of Washington. She is interested in behavioral neuroscience, ethics, and the intersection of the two. Jacqueline is currently doing research in a neuroscience lab studying addiction in rats, and she advocates for better mental health/recovery resources for people struggling with addiction.

Translate your work so that we can all understand its importance
Addiction is a huge and devastating problem in the United States. Our research aims to better understand the biology of addiction, so that we can prevent drug escalation (increased intake over time) for more manageable effects.


When, how, and why did you get involved in undergraduate research?
I had the privilege of growing up in a college town, so when I was in high school I sent out some emails to professors asking if I could volunteer in their labs. I got one volunteer position and then another volunteer position that turned into a paid position within a year. In college, I waited until my first year was over before I started reaching out to people for research. I used the URP database and found research projects that sounded interesting, then sent a few emails out, and one of few who responded to me is now my mentor!


What advice would you give a student who is considering getting involved in undergraduate research?
It’s okay to not know everything right away. It’s okay to be overwhelmed. It’s okay to get rejected multiple times. It’s okay to not know exactly what you want to do yet! We’re all learning, and it’s great that you’re even considering the possibilities.