Rosie Samide discovered her love for science at Valley School during Summer Day Camp explorations of Linn Run and the surrounding campus. “Ron and Elizabeth Nordstrom and Sandi Fryer were instrumental in opening my eyes to the joys of science. I loved the outdoor experience I got at Valley School, and as I grew up, I found that I enjoyed the classroom and lab time, too.”
When she graduated from Greater Latrobe Area High School, Rosie knew she wanted to pursue science, and so majored in psychology and minored in neuroscience at Haverford College. For two years after graduating, she worked in academia, managing Memory and Attention Labs at New York University and the University of Oregon. In 2016, she began her doctoral work in Cognitive Neuroscience at Boston College.
Rosie’s Ph.D. research focused on the intersection of human memory and emotion. Using behavioral and neuroimaging (fMRI) techniques, she sought to understand the role of memory processes in regulating emotion. She measured the brain activity of her subjects during (non-traumatic) negative memory recollection in order to determine how—and to what extent—the fidelity of a person’s memory of negative events is related to their ability to change those memories to make them feel less unpleasant for the future. Data collected through her study could be used to inform further research on memory-based treatments for affective disorders like anxiety, depression, and PTSD. While at Boston College, Rosie collaborated on several journal articles and won an award for teaching excellence. She successfully defended her dissertation last May, earning the Donald and Helene White Prize for Outstanding Dissertation.
Recently, Rosie decided to step outside academia, and accepted a position as a Research Systems Analyst and Data Visualization Specialist at Alpha-Diver, a market research firm based in Cincinnati. Having discovered a love for computer programming and statistical analysis, what might seem a surprising transition to others, makes perfect sense to her. “Many of the hard skills I use at Alpha-Diver, I developed during my doctoral work. These days, I apply them differently, but from my perspective, my career has followed a wonderful and interdisciplinary trajectory.” In her work, Rosie administers and interprets proprietary surveys for a broad spectrum of market clients who want to better understand their customers’ subconscious psychological drivers. For Rosie, it’s a perfect fit; the success of any given project is based in a strong psychological understanding of targeted consumers. “It’s fascinating because we are measuring motivators which, most often, people are not aware of. If asked, they may not be able to articulate why they prefer certain brands over others. But through our survey processes, we can identify factors that play into their decision-making as consumers. The post-survey data analysis is really interesting, and the results are broadly applicable for our clients.”
Valley School is proud of Rosie’s accomplishments and the passion with which she has pursued her interests. Today, our children are still exploring Linn Run and our beautiful wooded campus, winning the McKenna Science Award, and heading into the world armed with curiosity and a determination to contribute to their future. It’s rewarding to see that a seed planted at Valley School can grow to nurture a life of learning, and it’s fun to imagine what today’s students will aspire to tomorrow. Best of luck, Rosie, and all Valley School alumni!