Preparing the next generation of adoption researchers

cohort of summer institute in front of life science laboratories

National, international and within-country adoptions are changing significantly

The Rudd Adoption Research Program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst hosted a research institute on campus May 19-24 for 20 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers who were accepted from eight countries to study methods in adoption research.

Professor Harold Grotevant, director of the Rudd program, says it is the most comprehensive program in adoption psychology in the country. The visiting researchers gained experience in how to appropriately consider race, sexual orientation, culture and ethnicity in adoption study design as well as approaches to intensive data analysis.

How Can Diverse Classrooms Improve A Child's Learning?

diverse group of kids raise hands in classroom

Christina Rucinski, who recently received her doctorate from Fordham University and will begin a postdoctoral position in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, writes about results from her dissertation research studying classroom diversity in elementary schools. She found that a higher exposure to classroom diversity in kindergarten, first grade and second grade classrooms was associated with lower levels of depression, anxiety and problematic interactions with peers for these children when they got to third grade. She also says that evidence shows that exposure to same-race peers and teachers may have a positive impact on development, especially for children of color. Psychology Today

Preschoolers Who Watch TV Sleep Less

child watches tv

UMass Amherst scientist’s ongoing sleep research looks into the impacts of TV on young children

Preschoolers who watch TV sleep significantly less than those who don’t, according to new research by University of Massachusetts Amherst neuroscientist Rebecca Spencer and developmental science graduate student Abigail Helm. 

More surprising to Spencer, known for her groundbreaking research into the role of naps in children’s memory and learning, 36 percent of 3- to 5-year-olds had TVs in their bedroom, and a third of those kids fell asleep with the TV on, often watching stimulating or violent adult programming.

2019 Graduate School Commencement

Congratulations to our 2019 Master's and Doctoral Degree recipients!

Front l-r, several of our new Doctors of Philosophy: Nick Morrison, Marykate Oakley, Hillary Halpern, Gennarina Santorelli, and Hema Preya Selvanathan

Back l-r, Faculty Advisors: Brian Lickel, Michael Constantino, Maureen Perry-Jenkins, Rebecca Ready, and Katherine Dixon-Gordon

Spring 2019 Newsletter

spring blossoms at south college

We invite you to read the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences Spring Newsletter! Featuring:

  • Research Highlights: Risky Decisions—Helpful or Harmful
  • Allison Epstein ’17 Finds Her Calling as a Forensic Psychologist
  • 2019 Senior Award Winners Share Reflections from UMass
  • Undergraduate Research Symposium
  • UMassGives Wrap Up
  • Award Highlights: Linda Tropp Named Chancellor's Leadership Fellow for 2019
  • Community Outreach: NSB Outreach Committee visits Holyoke North Campus High School

Read full issue

Andrea Craft awarded Ford Foundation Fellowship

andrea craftAndrea Craft, graduate student in clinical psychology, has been awarded a prestigious 3-year Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship. The Foundation's mission states, “through its Fellowship Programs, the Ford Foundation seeks to increase the diversity of the nation’s college and university faculties by increasing their ethnic and racial diversity, maximize the educational benefits of diversity, and increase the number of professors who can and will use diversity as a resource for enriching the education of all students.”

Allison Epstein ’17 Finds Her Calling as a Forensic Psychologist

alison epsteinFascinated by questions about the nature and nurture of everyday people, Allison Epstein ’17 explores how our environment shapes who we are. Gaining critical research experience at UMass Amherst and completing several internships in the field are just a few experiences that greatly prepared her for graduate study in forensic psychology. Along the way, she found the courage to interact with individuals in challenging environments and offer guidance as they strove to reenter the community.

Undergraduate Research Symposium

students and faculty gather around posters in tobin hall

The annual Undergraduate Research Symposium was held on April 25 in Tobin Hall. This event gives undergraduates the opportunity to share their excellent research with faculty, graduate students, and peers. It’s a celebration of our students’ honors theses and research projects, their hard work, and the valuable outcomes of their studies. This event is also a great primer for the Massachusetts Statewide Undergraduate Research Conference held the following day. Hear what students had to say about their research experiences: