press release


Julia McCulloch Smith Award for Outstanding Senior Female given to Kimber Saville

for release: May 20 , 2010

MONMOUTH – One of the benefits of an education at Western Oregon University is the opportunity for undergraduates to work on important research. Kimber Saville, the 2010 Julia McCulloch Smith award winner for outstanding senior female, took advantage of these opportunities by working with psychology faculty on their research projects over the past couple of years.

These experiences have shaped Saville’s career goals and future plans. This fall she will begin a doctoral program at Washington State University, Vancouver, allowing her to study biopsychology - pain receptors in the brain, different mechanisms, and how to reactivate them when there’s a tolerance build-up. After completing the five-year program, she hopes to continue conducting research and become a professor.

Saville was born in Nova Scotia, Canada, living there until she was 10, and then spent the rest of her childhood in Utah. When she came to Oregon for college, her family moved back to Nova Scotia. Saville said she’s a small town girl and Monmouth felt like home. When she first arrived on campus, she joined the women's rugby team. Her tenure on the team lasted only two years due to the other activities she became involved with. These activities included vice president of Phi Kappa Phi, a volunteer psychology tutor, an Abby’s House volunteer, and a tutor at the Writing Center. Saville was also involved on a number of campus committees, such as the Student Conduct Committee.

Jeanne Deane, the director of Abby’s House Center for Women and Families, worked with Saville beginning in 2008, as she was the recipient of the Abby’s House scholarship. The scholarship requires the recipient to volunteer for one hour a week, but Saville went well beyond that. Deane said that Saville entered data from a fall 2008 survey into a database and collaborated with Dr. Mary Ellen DelloStritto in the Psychology Division to compile a report and give a presentation of her findings at the Western Psychological Association's Annual Conference. “Because of Kimber’s findings, the Abby’s House Advocates are offering several new workshops to benefit the students at Western Oregon University this year,” said Deane.

She has enjoyed all of the activities she has participated in at WOU, but especially her psychology and biology lab work and research. This is evident through her 3.93 grade point average with a 4.0 in her major. Saville has an impressive curriculum vitae, which includes eight academic presentations, both on- and off-campus. Dr. Robert Winningham, associate professor of psychology, was one of several faculty members who worked with Saville on research projects. She collaborated with him for her honors thesis, in which they developed and organized a psychological study correlating cognitive inhibitory abilities and cortisol increase due to psychosocial stress.

“She is an extremely bright, hard working, dependable, responsible, confident, focused and motivated student,” said Winningham. “I was blown away by how proactive and self-motivated she was. She would delve deep into the research and modify her methodologies based on her review of the literature. She showed an amazing ability to understand and synthesize the research. Throughout her research she has been the one pushing ahead, motivated to get it done and learn from the results. It is this self-motivated, proactive work ethic that guarantees Kimber will succeed in a rigorous Ph.D. program.” He added that, “She is the brightest student to come through our program in many years.”

The Julia McCulloch Smith Award is presented to the outstanding female student of the year in the memory of Smith, an 1895 OSNS graduate who died in 1930. The award was first presented in 1931. This year's award finalist is Erin M. Huggins.

kimber saville

# # #



Western Oregon University | 345 N. Monmouth Ave. | Monmouth OR 97361 | 503-838-8000(V/TTY) | 1-877-1593