BIRC Excellence Award

The UConn Brain Imaging Research Center (BIRC) is pleased to announce the BIRC Excellence Award. The award highlights the achievements of a student, staff, faculty member, lab, or group who has made exceptional contributions towards advancing the goals of the BIRC as outlined in the Mission Statement:

  • To facilitate scientific discovery and theoretical and methodological innovation
  • To serve as an intellectual center for interdisciplinary basic and clinical research
  • To prepare graduate students and post-doctoral fellows for careers in academia and related fields
  • To provide undergraduate students with research experience and other educational opportunities
  • To disseminate scientific knowledge to the broader university community, relevant professional communities, and the general public

The BIRC Excellence Award will be awarded on an annual basis at the end of each Fall semester. Awardees are selected by BIRC staff and confirmed by the BIRC steering committee. Awardees and their advisors (when applicable) will be notified of their selection via email.

2022 BIRC Excellence Award Winner Kelly Mahaffy

Photo of Kelly Mahaffy

Congratulations to our 2022 BIRC Excellence Award recipient, Kelly Mahaffy, M.A! Kelly has a B.A. in English Literature from Truman State University, M.A. in English Literature from UConn, and is currently a PhD student in Developmental Psychology in Dr. Nicole Landi’s lab. Kelly training to run the MRI scanner to eventually provide additional scanning hours for all investigators, has led or supported MRI and EEG data collection for two pediatric studies at BIRC, trained undergraduate and graduate students in behavioral assessment and EEG, and widely disseminates her knowledge—be sure to check out her poster for great tips on running a successful pediatric MRI study next time you are at BIRC!

2021 BIRC Excellence Award Winner Brianna Kinnie, BS


Congratulations to our 2021 BIRC Excellence Award Recipient, Brianna Kinnie, B.S.! Brianna is a project coordinator supervised by Professor Fumiko Hoeft. Brianna coordinated recruitment and research activities for two R01 projects based at BIRC, contributed to undergraduate training, and provided coverage as a Technologist Assistant for clinical scanning, a significant source of revenue for BIRC.

2020 BIRC Excellence Award Winner Yanina Prystauka, PhD

Yanina Prystauka

Yanina completed her PhD in December of 2020 advised by Professor Gerry Altmann. The BIRC community was very fortunate to benefit from Yanina's expertise and enthusiastic generosity during her 3 years as an IBRAiN fellow, during which she supported several BIRC researchers with their EEG and fMRI projects, trained 10 undergraduate and graduate students in the use of high density EEG, contributed to the Neuroimaging Analysis Replication and Prediction Study, and completed her masters (EEG) and dissertation (fMRI) work on event cognition. After earning her PhD at UConn, Yanina accepted a post-doc position at UiT The Artic University of Norway, Department of Language and Culture