Ann Marie Russell '01 Named Associate Provost for Data and Analytics

Ann Marie RussellAn alumna has returned to campus to take a lead role in efforts to create more data-informed decision-making about academic programs.

Ann Marie Russell, who graduated magna cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2001, is working in the newly created post of associate provost for data and analytics. Russell also received her master’s degree in social psychology and her Ph.D. in psychology and social policy both from Princeton University. Since 2013, Russell has served as the director of institutional research at Bates College in Lewiston, Maine.

Tropp cited in toolkit for educators cultivating diverse classrooms

children drawing and cutting paper in classroom

The Century Foundation, a nonpartisan think tank conducting research on the benefits of diverse classrooms, has developed a toolkit "Fostering Intergroup Contact in Diverse Schools: Strategies for Educators" based on the classification of intergroup contact outlined by Linda Tropp and Suchi Saxena, a consultant at the Silverman Center of Brandeis University. The toolkit focuses on methods of integrating students across race and class, and developing supportive relationships.

Understanding human behavior

leaves changing colors from green to orange

New institute provides fresh approach to the science of diversity

Human diversity is complex. It originates from factors such as biology, psychology, economics, and history that influence every facet of human experience—from health and work to education and environment—in ways that may confer advantages or disadvantages on people’s lives. Research on the science of human diversity is just as complex, residing in different departments, schools, and colleges and across disciplines. Bringing the players together from across campus and encouraging interdisciplinary efforts is the intent of the UMass Institute of Diversity Sciences

Winter 2019 Newsletter

students smiling in classroom

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

  • Faculty Profile: Lisa Harvey
  • Alumni Profile: Rebecca Ametrano, Clinical Psychologist
  • Finding clues to adolescent brain development
  • Faculty and students join forces, sharing their knowledge of teaching. PBS holds “Okteacherfest”
  • PBS Interviews New Assistant Professors: Bruna Martins and Evelyn Mercado
  • UMass Neuroscience Club reaches 10 years as RSO

Read full issue

Faculty Profile: Lisa Harvey

lisa harveyThe bright minds of students at UMass Amherst drive Lisa Harvey to tackle challenging questions about our world and never stop learning.

As a professor of clinical psychology, she guides students through the scientific process, discovering new ways to collectively learn from each other. Harvey’s love for children combined with her passion for research led her to study the early development and treatment of behavior disorders like ADHD. Her clinical research covers a wide span of topics, as she strives to make a positive impact on the lives of children and their families.

Mentors shaped who she is today, now clinical psychologist Rebecca Ametrano ‘15PhD gives back

rebecca ametranoA clinical psychologist, educator, and mentor, Rebecca Ametrano ‘15PhD is involved in a diverse array of work as a Health Behavior Coordinator at VA Boston Healthcare System (VABHS) and an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Boston University School of Medicine.

Within clinics across VABHS, Ametrano works collaboratively with medical center staff to increase use of patient-centered interventions to help facilitate health behavior change in patients and improve overall well-being. Ametrano acknowledges the pivotal role mentors have played in developing her career. Now a mentor herself, she directs a new generation of clinical psychologists toward reaching their professional goals.

Interview with New Assistant Professor Bruna Martins

bruna martinsWhat are some of the steps you took in life or influences that brought you to your current area of research?

I started my research career as an undergraduate research assistant, running fMRI localizers to help neurosurgeons plan routes for tumor removal for patients with brain cancer through use of fMRI and white matter fiber mapping (via Diffusion Tensor Imaging/Diffusion spectrum imaging methods). While we could categorize the anatomy of the brain to minimize damage to language, motor, and visual networks to maximize older adults’ recovery post-tumor surgery, but a lot of flexibility in thought and coping behaviors were not captured fully by our measurements.

Interview with New Assistant Professor Evelyn Mercado

evelyn mercadoWhat are some of the steps you took in life or influences that brought
you to your current area of research?

Well, the first step was probably to attend college. I was the first person in my family to have the opportunity to pursue higher education. During my undergraduate tenure I took the time to seek different research experiences, which helped me solidify what area of research I was truly passionate about. I worked in a social psychology lab looking at perceptions of the environment in school aged children, then I switched to a behavioral neuroscience lab where I convinced the PI to allow me to run experiments on adolescent rodents rather than adults, to look at the developmental consequences of drugs of abuse like Ketamine and Morphine. After those two experiences I came to the realization that I wanted to a) work with humans, and b) study individuals in the context of their relationships.  In my graduate work I was able to refine the specific relationship processes I was interested in, and during my postdoc at UCLA I had the opportunity to apply a cultural lens to my work.

Faculty and students join forces, sharing their knowledge of teaching

faculty discuss teaching concepts in classroomTop right, l-r: Faculty members Lori Astheimer, Erik CHeries, Tammy Rahhal, Luke Remage-Healey, and Lisa Sanders.
Bottom left: Richard Halgin shares his techniques for engaging students in large lectures.

PBS holds “Okteacherfest”

The month of October was filled with great opportunities for us to learn from one another. Through seminars and “open classroom” days, the department’s supportive community of educators came together to learn what practices are enhancing student success.