UNT Honors College grad looks at how Alzheimer’s patients respond to music
University of North Texas student Lindy Noll is excited to be graduating, but the research she started at UNT won’t stop when she gets her diploma.
Noll is one of more than 2,800 students who graduated from UNT during fall graduation ceremonies Friday and Saturday. She received her Bachelor of Science in psychology Saturday.
During her time at UNT, the 21-year-old studied the effects of music on Alzheimer’s patients.
Her initial interest began when her mother, a geriatric nurse practitioner, suggested she play music at nursing homes. Noll was looking for a volunteer opportunity and gave her mom’s suggestion a shot.
“I went and played my flute for them,” she said.
When she did, some of the Alzheimer’s patients would sing along with the songs she played, and that sparked her interest in learning more.
Noll, who was in the university’s Honors College, did the research for her honors thesis. She played different types of music — some songs from the patients’ era, some traditional, such as “Amazing Grace,” and some contemporary pieces.
Patients who recognized the music from their generation would have more positive moods and be more aware than the group that listened to contemporary music, Noll said.
Noll plans to continue her research in graduate school by pursuing a master’s in clinical health social work in the fall. She has already received an acceptance from the University of Pittsburgh and is waiting to hear back from other schools.
She wants to be a licensed counselor and continue her work with Alzheimer’s patients.
Noll said she wants to “help the families who need help with care-giving, and patients themselves that may need help coping.”
While at UNT, Noll was in the Alpha Lambda Delta honor society and Psi Chi, the honor society for psychology students. She also worked at the Center for Learning Enhancement, Assessment and Redesign, helping with videoconferencing.
During her last semester, she did an internship with the Denton County Sheriff’s Mental Health Investigative Unit.
She learned that in many cases, Alzheimer’s patients are diagnosed as bipolar, she said.
She saw the different forms of mental illness during her time with the investigative unit, helping transport patients from a mental hospital to court.
Noll said her time at UNT has been quite a journey.
“I never thought I would get to this point,” she said. “It’s kind of interesting I’m starting a new chapter of my life.”
RACHEL MEHLHAFF can be reached at 940-566-6889. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.