SAFE Student Spotlight: Taylor Leonard

Taylor Leonard '22, M.A. Experimental Psychology
Student and Faculty Excellence (SAFE) Fund Recipient: Fall 2021

Project: “Dementia Worry: Does Public Stigma Predict People's Concerns About Developing Dementia?”

Leonard received Student and Faculty Excellence (SAFE) funding to recruit participants for her study on dementia concerns. "Having the money from the SAFE grant enabled me to conduct a full-scale research project that contributed to the knowledge within the aging literature. I was able to find support for previous research and help to answer previously unanswered questions from the beginning of my research," explained Leonard. "Without this funding, it would have been more difficult to do this, and I would not have had the same type of learning experience."

By recruiting a greater number of participants, Leonard was able to replicate previous research and even identify potential false negatives in similar research that had a smaller sample size. "This was a great example of identifying real-world research concepts that felt rewarding," she said. Leonard, who was a member of the Aging, Growth, and Experience (AGE) Labs at Appalachian State, graduated in May 2022 with her Master of Arts in Experimental Psychology.


About the SAFE Fund
Initially endowed by Hughlene and Bill Frank, the College of Arts and Sciences Student and Faculty Excellence (SAFE) Fund provides resources that can be used to support undergraduate, graduate and faculty experiences. The SAFE Fund provides funding for college priorities and opportunities that arise throughout the year. These unrestricted funds support student and faculty travel, publication support for faculty and student research opportunities. Learn more at

About the Dr. Wiley F. Smith Department of Psychology
Appalachian’s Dr. Wiley F. Smith Department of Psychology serves more than 1,000 undergraduate majors seeking the Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree in psychology, as well as 80 graduate students in three master’s programs (experimental psychology, school psychology, and industrial-organizational psychology and human resource management) and the clinical psychology (Psy.D.) doctoral program. Learn more at

SAFE Student Spotlight: Taylor Leonard
Published: Dec 26, 2022 8:14pm