Steven Davic, a junior at James Madison University (JMU), is a dedicated leader and public servant who seeks to research and develop future programming for the US military and beyond. A Biological Anthropology and Intelligence Analysis double major who comes to JMU after five years as a Marine, Steven will spend the summer of 2020 at Quantico carrying out a self-designed research project that examines cognitive performance optimization for the warfighter, foundational work for his forthcoming Honors College thesis. For Steven, research, experimentation, and leadership are key factors in creating a human-centered approach for handling high stress environments; he hopes to use his work to create military training and programming that helps soldiers—and others in critical positions—serve more effectively and recover faster. He is an active member of the Military Operational Intelligence Association, the Armed Forces Communication and Electronics Association, the Students Veterans Association, and the Anthropology Club.
Shortly after joining the Marine Corps, I began looking for ways to improve my immediate sphere of influence. After two deployments, I was selected to become a Research Fellow at the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory (MCWL) – now was my chance to make a positive impact. Having experienced much of the unnecessary hardships and damaging culture that came with being in an infantry unit and the Marine Corps, I saw my position as an opportunity to advocate for progressive change. At MCWL, I became extremely interested in battlefield stressors that decrease cognitive performance. Through various military experiments and exercises, my interest evolved to its current focus on experimenting with breathing protocols that help regulate stress and arousal states. Doing so will help individuals optimize their performance by making sound judgments, mindful decisions, and calculated actions. I am excited that my current honor’s research, subsequent graduate study, and future public service are centered on this effort because I see it having a widespread and positive impact on the military, police officers, emergency medical workers, social workers, athletes, and other highly stressful jobs.