Let's help Simona go to grad school

Meet Simona Mackovichova!

Simona is from Slovakia and came to this country during her junior year in high school after receiving a scholarship to attend Minnehaha Academy for one semester. She loved the United States and Minnesota, so she returned to attend Augsburg University. She wanted to do research in psychology and would not have that opportunity in Slovakia. After just a week at Augsburg, she approached me to get involved in research. That was a lucky day for me -- she is one of the best students I have ever had in my 24 years teaching at Augsburg. She is graduating at the end of April with a 3.98 GPA, with departmental honors in psychology. This designation required her to design and conduct her own independent research project. In addition, she is a student in the Augsburg honors program and has published her research in the Honors Review, an interdisciplinary journal for undergraduate research. She has assisted faculty on multiple research projects in her position as the eye-tracking lab manager and has presented the results at seven local, regional and national conferences. She is graduating Summa Cum Laude and is a member of the Psi Chi International Honors Society in Psychology. She has done all this while working up to three jobs in order to pay for her education. She is truly amazing, and it has been my great honor to be her academic and research advisor.

Why does she need $8000?

Simona has been accepted to the forensic psychology program at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. She is interested in studying memory in a forensic setting (i.e., eyewitness memory). Her independent undergraduate research in a related area is exemplary and may lead to a first-author publication (not typical for an undergraduate). Given that 70% of prisoners exonerated by DNA evidence were wrongfully convicted on the basis of faulty eyewitness testimony, research in this area is critical. Simona has a chance to make significant and important contributions to the field. But she will never have this chance if she is unable to continue her work in graduate school. She is not a Canadian citizen, so her tuition will be 3 times more than what it is for a citizen ($24.000 a year). She is unable to obtain loans in this country or in Canada because she is an international student and obtaining loans in her home country is difficult. She has been given grant funding which will require her to be a research and a teaching assistant. So, this is NOT a scholarship; it is two jobs. In addition, it will not completely cover her first-year tuition and she will have no money to cover living expenses and other school related needs, such as books. In all likelihood, she will need to find another job. What about her second year? Well, we will cross that bridge when we get there.

I have no doubt that Simona has a bright future. Your contribution will do more than just help Simona obtain her dream of attending Carleton University. Her research may impact the lives of those wrongfully convicted of crimes. So, you are helping them too. Simona is a humble person. She is not seeking fame and fortune but the chance to do important research that has great potential to help others. She will be eternally grateful for anything you can give—nothing is too small. Thank you so much for considering this request.


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Organizer and beneficiary

Bridget Robinson-Riegler 
Minneapolis, MN
Simona Mackovichova 
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