Neuroscientist and 2004 PV alum named to school district Wall of Honor

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Nicholas Gaspelin, Ph.D., a neuroscientist, has been named recipient of the 2021 Pleasant Valley
Community School District’s Wall of Honor Award. The Wall of Honor Program was established in 1999 to recognize distinguished alumni from Pleasant Valley High School.

Nicholas Gaspelin, a 2004 Pleasant Valley alum and a cognitive neuroscientist, has been named 2021 recipient of the school district Wall of Honor Award.

Gaspelin graduated from PVHS in 2004 and has spent his life dedicated to the research of attention and distraction in humans — such as those observed in people with learning disabilities, neurological disorders, or psychiatric conditions, according to a Thursday school district release.

Nominees for the PV Wall of Honor must have graduated 10 years or more prior to induction and must meet the following criteria:

  • Academic excellence
  • Outstanding success in their career
  • Made a significant contribution to the community or society
  • Demonstrated significant accomplishments in business or professional life
  • Distinguished human service

As a cognitive neuroscientist, Gaspelin has focused his research on understanding attentional mechanisms using multiple converging approaches including behavior experiments, infrared eye-tracking, and event-related potentials.

During his time at Pleasant Valley, Gaspelin participated in tennis, Yearbook Club, Medical Explorers, and Battle of the Bands. After graduating, he studied psychology at the University of Iowa, eventually earning his Master’s with distinction and Doctorate with distinction at the University of New Mexico. He studied at the University of California-Davis for a postdoctoral fellowship.

Although he is a relatively young researcher, he has had a prolific career in psychology, authoring 32
scientific publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals, the PV release said. His research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, and he has given talks about his work around the world, including the Netherlands, Italy, Germany, France, Canada, and the United States.

Recently, he received a CAREER award from the National Science Foundation. This competitive award is
given to outstanding young scientists who are leaders in their field of study. The budget of the award is
nearly $750,000, and he will use those funds to develop methods to understand neural correlates of attention that occur before eye movements are generated during visual search.

Gaspelin is currently an assistant professor of psychology at State University of New York (SUNY), Binghamton, where he mentors doctoral and undergraduate students on how to conduct experiments using infrared eye-tracking and EEG, as well as teaching several courses.

The Pleasant Valley Community School District will honor Gaspelin with a luncheon, district tour,
and class presentation. He will be the guest speaker at the Nov. 11, 2021 National Honor Society
Induction.

The 2019-2020 PV Wall of Honor recipient was Katie Wilson, who graduated from PVHS in 2001 and became the founder and CEO of her own company – TapOnIt. For more information on the program and past recipients, visit the school district website.

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