Carnegie Mellon University
September 19, 2018

Alumna Meredith Schmehl Named Nu Rho Psi Outstanding Member of the Year

Meredith Schmehl

Recent undergraduate alumna Meredith Schmehl (BS ’18) has been chosen as the 2018-2019 Nu Rho Psi Outstanding Member of the Year. Nu Rho Psi, the National Honor Society in Neuroscience, annually recognizes only one member across all of its 83 chapters nationwide, with the award honoring exceptional leadership, service, and advocacy in furthering the world’s understanding of neuroscience.

Schmehl, who received her B.S. in neurobiology and cognitive psychology at CMU, is currently a neurobiology Ph.D. student at Duke University. As founding president of the Carnegie Mellon chapter of Nu Rho Psi, Schmehl helped organize and plan outreach programs across the Pittsburgh community. The recognition of Schmehl as Outstanding Member of the Year further highlights the accomplishments of CMU’s chapter, which now consists of over 30 members, to the national neuroscience community.

After the creation and official recognition of CMU’s chapter of Nu Rho Psi in October 2016, Schmehl led the group in designing its first outreach program, a 3-hour class for elementary school student titled “Use Your Noggin: Learn the Brain”.

“Meredith was the primary designer of the lesson plan and learning objectives for the workshop, and worked closely with a representative from Carnegie Mellon’s outreach center to plan engaging and age-appropriate activities to help children learn about neuroscience,” said DJ Brasier, assistant teaching professor in biological sciences and chapter faculty advisor. 

“For three consecutive semesters, she oversaw the collection of supplies, recruited volunteers for the workshop, held planning meetings to prepare each volunteer to teach and lead a station, and maintained overall organization and led large-group instruction on the day of the event itself,” said Brasier. “Participants from the workshop have given positive feedback about the material they learned, and some have even expressed interest in learning more about neuroscience because of what they learned in the workshop.”

Schmehl’s dedication to community service was also recognized earlier this year in April, as the recipient of both the "Pawsitive" Influence Award (given by CMU SLICE to recognize leadership in service activities and in educating people about social issues), and the Gelfand Student Award for Educational Outreach & Service Learning (given by the Leonard Gelfand Center for Service Learning and Outreach).

In addition to her involvement in Nu Rho Psi, Schmehl is an accomplished cellist, serving as section co-principal of CMU’s All University Orchestra from 2014-2018. She was also an associate editor for CMU’s IMPULSE Journal Club and Review Panel during that time.

“Her work has helped our chapter build the national goals of education, outreach, and professional development,” said Amanda Willard (Ph.D. ’18), Chapter Vice President from 2016-2018. “Without her work, the chapter would not be as grounded and successful as it is today.”

Nu Rho Psi was founded in 2006 by the Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience and is now an independent honor society. It currently consists of 83 chapters with over 5000 members nationwide.