Asia La Torra

Asia was born and raised in Las Cruces, NM where she attended Centennial High School and was a member of the marching band. She is currently an undergraduate student studying psychology and Vice President of Psi Chi, the International Psychology Honors Society. In her free time she enjoys playing with her dogs, hiking, and painting.


Project Description:

The context where a memory is encoded can have a great deal of effect on the later ease of retrieval of a memory, if the context is similar the memory can be more easily retrieved than if there is a context change between learning and retrieval. Frequently people must be able to recall information in a different context than when they learned it, such as when taking the GRE, ACT, SAT, and AP tests. Smell can serve as a retrieval cue for memories, specifically it has been found to be connected to emotional memories. We will look at the effects of smell as a retrieval cue for memory. Participants will learn a small passage of text while in the presence of an odor, we will then test if smell can be a reliable retrieval cue if present during both learning and recall.



  • Project description, timeline, and milestones developed with mentor; on file with DSP
  • Complete half of project milestones
  • Complete project
  • Present scholarly work at URCAS
  • Attend a professional conference (without presenting)
  • Take the GRE
  • Attend workshop on applying for the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship (GRF) program
  • Apply for graduate or professional school

*completed benchmarks in italics 


Asia’s mentor: Dr. Dominic Simon:

Dominic A. Simon grew up spending time in both New Zealand and England. He received a bachelor’s degree in Movement studies (Kinesiology) and Physics from St. Mary’s College, Twickenham, in southwest London. He stayed at St Mary’s for a post graduate certificate in secondary Education (PGCE), a one-year teacher-training experience, before moving to graduate study in Psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles.  After completing his PhD at UCLA, he spent three years as a post-doctoral fellow in Kinesiology at McMaster University, in Ontario, Canada.  He joined NMSU’s Psychology department in 2002 where he is currently an Associate Professor and, since 2011 department head.  In 2007 he received the Patricia Christmore Faculty Teaching Award and in 2013 completed NMSU’s Advancing Leaders program.  His research interests relate mostly to how the organization of study/practice affects people’s learning of skills and information.  He enjoys reading, traveling, skiing, and a variety of other physical activities. He lives with wife (and a varying number of cats) in Las Cruces.