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PhD Candidate to Address Fellow Graduates at 2023 Doctoral Student Celebration

Image of Christine Chesebrough, 2023 Doctoral Student Celebration Speaker

May 31, 2023

On June 12, the Graduate College will host its annual Doctoral Student Celebration. This event celebrates graduating doctoral degree recipients and all that they have accomplished.

This year, we are excited to welcome Christine Chesebrough, a graduating PhD student in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences studying applied cognitive and brain sciences as our distinguished graduate student speaker. She is excited to share her experience of the emotional roller coaster of pursuing a PhD degree in the lens of someone studying the psychology of creativity during her speech on June 12! Be sure to tune in to the livestream or recording on YouTube.

Christine is originally from New Jersey. She received her bachelor’s degree in cognitive science and French from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. She then received her master’s degree from Columbia University in New York City in cognitive science in education.

Christine’s research focuses on the role of emotion, motivation, and metacognition in creativity. This means she looks for when people have “aha!” moments of insight, what led them there, and how these moments enhance motivation and persistence in learning and creativity. When asked about her research, Christine said that she is “fascinated by the fact that our brains are wired for curiosity and reward us for understanding new ideas and solving problems via the same mechanisms that we're wired around other basic rewards like eating and love.” After graduating Christine would like to continue working in academia as a researcher and hopes to become a professor one day.

She is thankful for her advisors, Dr. John Kounios and Dr. Evangelia Chrysikou, who have been “wonderful mentors” throughout her journey at Drexel. Both of Christine’s advisors inspired her to come to Drexel to pursue her PhD because they are both “powerhouses in the neuroscience of creativity!” She also added that “the opportunity to work with both of them for her PhD sealed the deal” for her. Christine is also thankful for the other Drexel faculty that she had the opportunity to work with outside her department and supported her road to success.

Christine has presented at multiple conferences throughout her time as a graduate student at Drexel including the 7th Meeting of the Society of Neuroscience of Creativity (SfNC), the Annual Conference of the American Psychological Association, and the 62nd Annual Meeting of the Psychonomic Society. She has won numerous awards for her research, most recently the Best Poster at the 7th Meeting of the Society of Neuroscience of Creativity (SfNC) in 2023. Besides the numerous conferences she has attended, one of Christine’s most gratifying moments she had was when a paper her lab published randomly trended on the front page of the platform Reddit via r/science. She remarks that the post “received tens of thousands of upvotes in a single morning. Many readers also shared personal stories that supported the theory we were putting forward in that paper. Seeing how much it resonated with people made that day one of the best days of my life.”

When asked what advice she has for new and early-stage doctoral students at Drexel, Christine said, “Pursuing a PhD is kind of like being an artist or an entrepreneur. You have to be really passionate and a little bit delusional that you've got what it takes.” After graduation, she is looking forward to traveling and working on projects outside her dissertation.

Congratulations to Christine and Drexel’s Class of 2023!

Be sure to check out the Commencement website for all of the details, where to report, events, and graphics to share on social media.

Article by Rachel Mroz