One of my greatest strengths as a researcher is passing down my knowledge and enthusiasm for scientific investigation to the next generation of students. Students who work with me find themselves accelerated into the scientific method, gaining experience with everything from literature review to experimental design and realization, and finally, scientific communication. By ensuring that my students publish one or several manuscripts in peer-reviewed outlets during their time working with me, I allow my students the opportunity to cultivate their agency as researchers, to accelerate their development, and to thrive within the fields most relevant to their ambitions.

It is common for me to cultivate lasting relationships with the students I mentor and continue interactions long after distance or career achievements finally separate us.

Sarah A. Cutts

Psychology & Neuroscience Major, 19′

University of Georgia


Sarah’s Publications

Pakeeza Hameed

Psychology Major, 19′

University of Georgia

As a second year student at the beginning of my college career at the University of Georgia, it is fair to say that I was still figuring out my path and had much to learn on my way through it all. I first met Dr. Madhur Mangalam when he was a teaching assistant for one of my introductory psychology courses, and I did not think anything further of our meeting at the time. However, Dr. Mangalam quickly went from being my TA, to my mentor, to even my friend throughout the rest of my time at the University.

First and foremost, Dr. Mangalam shifted from playing the role of a teaching assistant to playing the role of a mentor for me. When the psychology course first began, I had heard that my assigned TA could be harsh and tougher compared to the other TA’s for the class. Thus, I started the course with low expectations and did not really look forward to it. One day in class, Dr. Mangalam announced that he was looking for assistants to work in the research lab he was associated with at the time.

That semester, I was also in search of research opportunities, but I decided to hold off considering the impression I was under with the class. Eventually, however, I made the decision to e-mail Dr. Mangalam and at least express my interest to learn more about the opportunity. After meeting with him, learning about the project, and actually getting started, I began to get to know Dr. Mangalam better and beyond my initial expectations.

Moreover, as I continued to learn about research and the projects that Dr. Mangalam was involved with, I also began to learn about him all around as the person he is, to the point to which I am now able to call him a good friend. Throughout my time working with Dr. Mangalam, I gained knowledge about not only research and education but also about life outside of the world of academia. Apart from teaching me about research projects and how to write scientific articles, Dr. Mangalam also gave me guidance on continuing the journey into graduate school and even beyond into a career. We discussed everything from degrees, to relationships with peers, friends, and family, to books, to religion and politics, and so on. Dr. Mangalam even gave me advice on my personal next steps and encouraged me to graduate early. I did just that and graduated from college a year early this past summer, and I am now taking the steps to move forward with the rest of my academic career.

All in all, if it was not for the strong relationship I developed with Dr. Madhur Mangalam, I would probably not be in the place I am in today. I can confidently state that Dr. Mangalam would make a great addition to any faculty due to his skills as a professor in the classroom, a researcher in the lab, and a friend beyond.

Ryan Chen

Kinesiology Major, 19′

University of Georgia

Ryan’s Publications

  • Mangalam, M., Chen, R., McHugh, T. R., Singh, T., Kelty-Stephen, D. G. (2019). Bodywide fluctuations support manual exploration: Fractal fluctuations in posture predict perception of heaviness and length via effortful touch by the hand. Human Movement Science (Under review).

Terrence R. McHugh

Kinesiology Major, 19′

University of Georgia

Terrence’s Publications

  • Mangalam, M., Chen, R., McHugh, T. R., Singh, T., Kelty-Stephen, D. G. (2019). Bodywide fluctuations support manual exploration: Fractal fluctuations in posture predict perception of heaviness and length via effortful touch by the hand. Human Movement Science (Under review).

James D. Conners

Psychology & Communications Major, 18′

University of Georgia

“Dear Ms. Tracey Villaveces,

I am very glad for the opportunity to nominate Madhur Mangalam for the 2017-2018 Marsh award. To preface, you may recall a meeting you and I had in the early fall semester, in which I asked if you were aware of any researchers accepting undergrad assistants. You pointed me to Madhur, saying that he had a “prolific” output and that if I worked with him, I might be able to get my name on an article.

Not only has this fortunate event come about (I am expecting to co-publish three articles with Madhur before graduating in May), but there have been numerous other benefits from my time with him. Madhur is easily the most competent and hyper-productive researcher I have ever met. His influence on me has been profound; to the point where my parents have commented on it, expressing appreciation for his role in my life.

From our earliest meetings, Madhur and I recognized that we shared several interests and began recommending to each other books, YouTube videos, etc. Madhur is well-read and has something to contribute to most topics, many of which we would debate. It has not been unusual for us to spend several hours in a coffee shop arguing over political or philosophical differences. These discussions always keep my interest and I always leave feeling that I have learned a lot. More centrally, they highlight an important characteristic of Madhur’s: his capacity to be pleasant in his disagreeableness. Madhur can be “a devil’s advocate” and this has earned him something of a reputation in our department. In fact, it has gotten him into some trouble with colleagues to the point where I have seen his presentations boycotted by fellow students in our lab. However, I wish to emphasize here that I have seen nothing but professionalism from Madhur. I am certain that our lab director, Dr. Dorothy Fragaszy, would agree. His disagreements, while at times abrasive, are always underscored by honesty, sincerity, and openness. Several of my friends have left a discussion with him saying they were impressed with the amiable quality of his disagreeableness.

I have been working with Madhur on this as we are always giving each other advice. Gradually, our friendship has developed to the point that we will meet at Ramsey for a workout, or at a nature trail for a run. Occasionally my girlfriend and I will go out to meet him and a woman he is seeing at Cali N Titos for a “double date.” These events are always enjoyable as well as memorable. For instance, I will never forget the night we went for a run on the train tracks spanning east campus, spending the time discussing Eastern history and the Indian great work Bhagavad Gita.

I mentioned that Madhur is the most competent researcher I’ve met. I will add that he is also the most honest. Madhur moves from project to project at the rate of a “bullet train” (to borrow a phrase used by Dr. Tarkesh Singh, director of UGA’s Biomechanics lab, in describing Madhur). But he accomplishes this prolific output without sacrificing anything in the way of method. He is full of energy and ambition and strives to be the most competent researcher he can be. And his excitement is contagious. Prior to my time with Madhur, I viewed research as a nuisance, or, at best, a box to be checked on my path to becoming a professor. Now I am considering making it into a full career. In this respect, Madhur has given me the tools I need to succeed.

I have spent these two semesters working hard to keep up with Madhur’s rate, though he has been quite flexible and accommodating. In the first few months of our partnership, I read many books and articles on perceptual studies to familiarize myself with the field. Shortly thereafter, I began to acquire much experience as a researcher, not only in performing experiments, but also in designing them – prior to each experiment, Madhur requested from me a rough draft of the experiment’s hypothesis and methodology. Our time working on these projects was also interspersed with him teaching me about effective research strategies and the nature of science. So far I have read, at his recommendation, the article “Strong Inference” by John Platt and Communicating Science: The Scientific Article from the 17th Century to the Present by Gross et al.

In January, I was able to cooperate with Madhur on writing an article from our first study. I spent between 30-40 hours working with him to prepare our article “Location of a grasped object’s effector influences haptic perception of the length of that object.” I estimate that 30% of the writing in that article was my own. The paper has been submitted for publication and we are currently awaiting comments. In this way, I have received valuable experience in writing scientific papers; the process now seems much less vague and threatening than it did before.

Madhur has also made me better acquainted with programs like MATLAB and SPSS. Our current partnership with the Biomechanics lab has offered me experience working with electromyography (EMG) technology.

Finally, Madhur has also advanced my career in exceptional ways. Consider my post-graduation plans. This summer, my intention was to take a ‘gap year’ and visit another country before applying to grad schools in the fall. Madhur helped me finalize these plans by arranging for me to work at biological sciences lab in India (IISER Thiruvananthapuram). The lab director there has offered to cover any housing costs for the duration of my stay – up to nine months. For me, this is a dream come true. Not only will I be able to visit and explore a foreign country, but I will also obtain more lab experience in the process and build my resume.

For these benefits and more, I am incredibly grateful for my time with Madhur. Admittedly, some of this gratitude is owed to you, Ms. Villaveces, for your part in coordinating this arrangement. My time with Madhur has influenced me in more ways than I can express and he has inspired me to be a more excellent researcher and student. If and when I reach my goal of becoming a psychology professor, Madhur will have played a significant role.

Thus, I nominate him for the Marsh award, and in this way express a small part of my gratitude. Please let me know if I can provide any further information. I can be reached at this address or by cell at (phone number hidden). I would be surprised to hear that another graduate student has inspired more improvement in research and scientific exploration than Madhur.”

James’ nomination of me for a graduate student mentorship award

James’s Publications

Lindsey K. R. Roles

Psychology and Neuroscience Major, 16′

University of Georgia

Lindsey’s Publications

Ravindra P. Nettimi

Biology Major, 15′


I have known Madhur since my undergraduate days (from 2011-present). One of my first interactions with him was when I volunteered to join him in an experiment that he carried out at midnights in Pune (India). He was running behind street dogs, experimenting on them
using a remote-controlled toy car. My first impression was: “What an eclectic guy!”. But his self-motivated and independent nature inspired me to start my independent research projects as an undergrad. He has been a great mentor and friend since then.

Even after we both moved on to different cities, we kept in touch via (often long) skype discussions about science and non-science related topics. During one of those discussions, we felt that as undergrads from a developing country, most of us have a mental block in starting independent research projects. We listed all the mental blocks that one experiences as an undergrad and tried to provide arguments to overcome them. This discussion resulted in us (along with Prof. Mewa Singh) writing a guest editorial for a Journal. Our long conversations about various topics still continue. Madhur has been a unique mentor who plays devil’s advocate on the ideas that I discuss with him. Even though we may not always agree with each other, his perspectives have always been interesting and thought-

Ravindra’s Publications

Nisarg Desai

Biology Major, 15′



Nisarg’s Publications