Ross Aikins is a Ph.D. Candidate in education at the UCLA School of Education and Information Studies. His dissertation “Academic Performance Enhancement in Higher Education” explores the practices and habits of college students who use stimulant medications and other cognitive-enhancing substances for academic gain.
Since graduating from Occidental College in 2003, Ross has written for or contributed to the Palo Alto Daily News, Daily Bruin, and Los Angeles Times. Ross has also served as an Assistant Director of Admissions for The University of Southern California, and he presents often about educational topics related to college access, admissions, LGBT identity, substance use/abuse, and psychological development among other student health issues.
In 2009, Ross was recipient of the “Margaret J. Barr Student Research Award” from The Network Addressing Collegiate Alcohol and Other Drug Issues (a division of the U.S. Department of Education) for his research on collegiate prescription stimulant abuse. A manuscript based on this work—and his related ongoing dissertation research—is currently in press, and will be published in “The Journal of College Student Development” in 2011. Currently, Ross also enjoys teaching Journalism and English at Palo Alto High School (his alma mater) as a substitute teacher under the mentorship of Esther Wojcicki.