GradImpact: Leader of the Pack

    "Leadership is the byproduct of our interaction during operations," Lawrence Minnis boldly declares at the top of his LinkedIn profile. For Minnis, a second year PhD student in cognitive and behavioral neuroscience at George Mason University, leadership is primal, a fundamental part of human social interaction. 


    Minnis' interest in leadership began during his military service in the Army as a military intelligence officer in 2004. He was stationed in Germany and served in Iraq before a neurological illness ended his active duty deployment. During his 18-month rehabilitation, Minnis participated in the Dog Tags training program in his home town of Washington, DC, which taught him dog training techniques, animal behavior, and animal care & management. He was struck by the commonalities between human and animal social organization. In particular, he was impressed by the way leadership in both species was grounded in the fundamentals of interaction. Minnis began to wonder if it was possible to uncover laws that governed leadership and if those laws were generalizable beyond human beings. 


    At George Mason University, Minnis has expanded on his initial interest in how humans and dogs share certain social dynamics into the realms of leadership studies, human-canine interaction, and how humans perceive canine behavior. He has learned new research techniques, like neuroimaging, that will allow him to better understand the physiological process that are expressed in social relations. Minnis wants to use his knowledge to give back to the humane animal adoption community that supported him during his rehabilitation. He is currently working on a study about the decision-making process underpinning animal adoption with the hope of better promoting the practice of humane animal adoption techniques. He wants to apply the findings from his research at shelters in the Washington Metro area. To learn more about Lawrence and his work visit the George Mason University website


    Visit the GradImpact Feature Gallery to learn more about the amazing, innovative research being done by graduate students and alumni across the world.


    Photo Credit: George Mason University


    The CGS GRADIMPACT project draws from member examples to tell the larger story of graduate education. Our goal is to demonstrate the importance of graduate education not only to degree holders, but also to the communities where we live and work. Do you have a great story to share about the impact of master’s or doctoral education? Visit our WEBSITE for more information.


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