Alex Boone

Alex Boone

Name: Alex Boone

Hometown: St. Louis, Missouri

Research Area: Cognition, Perception, Cognitive Neuroscience (CPCN)

Research Specialty: Spatial Cognition

I went to undergrad at the University of Missouri where I studied history and psychology. I did research with Nelson Cowan and his lab for several years including a year after graduation. My early research interests were in basic cognition and human memory, but when I realized I could pursue both spatial studies and cognition I positioned myself to go in that direction. I moved to Philadelphia to manage a lab at the Spatial Intelligence and Learning Center at Temple University. It was there that I really figured out how big the field was. As part of that job, I met a lot of cool people including my current advisor, Mary Hegarty.

What is a typical day like for you?

To stay on top of my work, I have to really structure my time. As a first year student, a day consisted of leading discussion sections as well as work for my own classes. In between those things, I read what I could to stay on top of my work. I like to work as much as I can during the day so that my evenings are free. Now that I have learned to balance my classes with being a TA, my days are more focused on running participants and working in the lab while reading and writing as much as I can.

What best prepared you for a PhD in Psychology? What did you do in your undergraduate career that prepared you to be a PhD student (lab work, teaching, research)?

In the immediate sense, the best preparation I got for the program was working as a lab manager. I did everything the graduate students did plus the other important aspects of psych labs that you don’t always think about like writing grant budgets and dealing with administration. I have to say, though, that I wouldn’t be here without the mentorship of the people I’ve worked for.

What advice do you have for incoming students?

You’ll get out of this what you put in to it. Be ready to do some work, but don’t forget to take breaks and live your life.

Why did you choose UCSB?

I chose UCSB for several reasons, but when I came to graduate recruitment weekend and meet with the faculty and students, I felt like this was the place for me. No one was uppity and everyone had the time to meet with you.

What do you like about getting your PhD in Santa Barbara? What do you do in Santa Barbara in your (precious) spare time?

When I have some time, I like to hang out with my dog and go to the beach. I also watch a lot of sports. That keeps my non-work mind active.

What I really like about Santa Barbara and being in a Ph.D program here is that it matches my lifestyle. I come from a real “hometown” sort of place, and moving to Philadelphia really made me think about where I was most comfortable. Santa Barbara is the best of everything. You have the city if you want it, you have the country if you want that, you also have the beach. You cannot go wrong.

What are your future plans?

Eventually I want to be a faculty member somewhere, but there is plenty of time between now and then.