Jingwen Ren

Jingwen “Jing” Ren immigrated to the United States from China when she was a young child. She is the first in her family to attend college, a major accomplishment in the eyes of her parents, but Jing has achieved so much more. A psychology major, she has a 4.0 GPA and has received many academic awards. Never one to shy away from a difficult project, Assistant Teaching Professor Allison Baker says, “Instead of being daunted by the complexity [of the group project topic], she embraced the challenge and was excited to make sense of their data.”

Whatever Jing does, she does with vigor, enthusiasm and confidence. During her time at Northeastern, Jing sought out research experiences. Assistant Professor of Psychology Juliet Davidow says, “A pattern that emerges across these experiences is the centrality of focus on learning and development, approached from different angles and levels of analysis.” Numerous researchers, students, and professors have all attested to Jing’s infinite curiosity and eagerness to learn.

Jing says, “I have always wanted to answer the broad question of how learning shapes the way we behave and interact with the world.” She is especially interested in the growth and development of children as they learn. That, perhaps, is what inspired her involvement with Jumpstart, an AmeriCorps partnership with Northeastern’s Office of City and Community Engagement. As a Jumpstart team member, she contributed 300 semester hours to implement literacy-focused early childhood curriculum in preschools located in historically marginalized communities.

Jing’s research assignments in behavioral neuroscience at Harvard Medical School’s Crickmore Lab and Northeastern’s Whitfield-Gabrieli Lab and Davidow Lab have resulted in peer-reviewed publications, conference abstracts, and talks. She is especially proud of helping Juliet Davidow launch her Learning and Brain Development Lab, where she is conducting a research project that focuses on how information about someone’s social status shapes the way others learn from their interactions with them.

Her most significant achievement, Jing says, is cumulative. “It is being committed to finding the balance between learning from my courses, making contributions to scientific communities, and serving communities in Boston—all the while prioritizing my own well-being.”

Jing’s academic standing, curiosity, research skills, love for learning, and respect from faculty and peers are putting her on a path to success. In the future, she plans to “address issues that impede on children’s learning and impacts their educational and mental health outcomes.”


View all 2021 awards

Instead of being daunted by the complexity, she embraced the challenge and was excited to make sense of their data.

Allison Baker, Assistant teaching professor, College of Science