Simpson Senior wins Award for Research Project

Jen Draiss, a senior at Simpson College, has won a Psi Chi Regional Research Award for her work looking at the way bonobos communicate.

Draiss, 20, whose hometown is Monroe, N.Y., has been invited to receive her award and give a presentation at the Midwestern Psychological Association convention in Chicago in May.

According to the association, 430 abstracts were submitted, and Draiss is one of 24 students whose work was recognized. “We had a high quality pool of abstracts, and it is a genuine achievement to be receiving this recognition,” the group said.

Draiss is majoring in psychology and primate studies, with a minor in biology. Her project is called, “Symbolic Gestural Communication by Language Competent Apes.”

A former intern at the Great Ape Trust in Des Moines, Draiss used archived videos of bonobos at different ages to collect data.