Caroline Gamard


Fairhope, AL

Academic Interests

Psychology Major

Fun Fact

I can play the flute and piccolo.

My name is Caroline Gamard, and I am a senior from the small town of Fairhope on the Gulf Coast of Alabama.  I am a psychology major with a minor in chemistry.

At Duke, I conduct research on a Bass Connections team called Language, Music, and Dementia, which aims to elucidate the effects of multilingualism and musicianship on the brain, particularly their role in delaying the onset of dementia symptoms, research that has the potential to both greatly improve our understanding of the benefits of higher order cognition on the brain and to result in more effective treatments for neurodegenerative disorders.  During the summer of 2020, I worked on an interdisciplinary team of five other undergraduate students to produce a paper on the best practices in data collection for fMRI studies of brain and language, which was published in November. The team is currently working on a publication on the effects of COVID on musical and multilingual communities.

My academic interests are clinical psychology and psychopathology, specifically anxiety and mood disorders. I am passionate about mental health care and want to pursue a career as a clinical psychologist. This semester I am excited to begin volunteering as a peer responder for Peer for You, a student-led organization that provides mental health support for Duke students. I am an active member of two Christian organizations on campus: Duke’s Episcopal Center and Duke Cru. I am also passionate about engaging with my faith in an academic context and am a Chapel Scholar and a Center for Christianity and Scholarship Fellow.  

During my time at Duke, I have explored a wide range of academic interests. I initially declared a chemistry major. During the summer of 2019, I was honored to work in the Brennan laboratory in the Department of Biochemistry in the Duke Medical Center.  I studied a bacterial toxin called HipA that leads to multidrug tolerance in E. coli and looked for inhibitors of this toxin, research that could potentially lead to the development of more effective antibiotics. In the fall of 2020, I worked in the Kuhn lab, a pharmacology lab studying critical taste aversion and reward pathways in the amygdala of rats, which had implications for anxiety disorders in humans and helped me discover that my ultimate academic passion lay in psychology. I have also always been interested in education and have spent time at Duke tutoring in service-learning classes and through the Academic Resource Center.

For fun, I love to read!  A few of my favorite books are The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, The Overstory by Richard Powers, and Anxious People by Fredrik Backman.  When I am not studying or reading, I also enjoy playing the flute, dancing, traveling, and taking barre and cycling classes at Wilson.

What do you like about being a SPIRE Fellow?

My favorite part of the SPIRE Fellows program is the incredible support from both the faculty and my fellow students, which gives me the confidence and resources I need to succeed here at Duke. I also love the guest lecturers, who never fail to be engaging and inspiring.

Caroline Gamard