The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Introducing the 2021-22 Graduate Grant Writing Program Cohort

The Center for Research on Families is pleased to announce the 2021-22 cohort of the Graduate Student Grant Writing Program. The students were selected to join this highly competitive program based on their promising work in family research. Dr. Rebecca Spencer, professor of psychological and brain sciences, will lead the 9-month program which supports students through the development of NIH, NSF, Ford Foundation, and similar pre-doctoral fellowship proposals. 

The students will receive mentoring and support from faculty, staff, and peers throughout the grant development process, including the refinement and communication of their research ideas, their approach, methodology, and submission process. The 2021-22 cohort represents a wide range of disciplines and research interests, including scholars from the College of Natural Sciences and the School of Public Health and Health Sciences in the departments of Clinical Psychology, Epidemiology, Kinesiology, Neuroscience and Behavior, and Social Psychology.

Learn more about the program here


Marielena Barbieri, Social Psychology

Mentor: Dr. Evelyn Mercado
Research Topic: Understanding of factors that contribute to the rates of discrimination that Latinx youths experience in their day-to-day lives.

Johanny Castillo, Cognitive Psychology

Mentor: Dr. Rosie Cowell
Research Topic: Understanding the neural mechanisms that influence confidence judgments using functional magnetic resonance imaging.

Erika Correll, Neuroscience and Behavior

Mentor: Dr. Karine Fenelon
Research Topic: Therapeutic interventions for disorders that exhibit sensorimotor gating abnormalities such as schizophrenia, autism, and Tourette syndrome. 

Sarah Dickinson, Neuroscience and Behavior

Mentor: Dr. Joseph Bergan
Research Topic: Understanding how internal state (e.g. stressor development) can influence social, sensory integration.

Katie Gonzalez, Clinical Psychology

Mentor: Dr. Adam Grabell
Research Topic: Exploring early childhood development and risk factors related to early symptoms of psychopathology.

Ellen Rodberg, Neuroscience and Behavior

Mentor: Dr. Elena Vazey
Research Topic: Exploring the role of the locus coeruleus and norepinephrine during reinforcement behavior.

Sam Zeff, Kinesiology

Mentor: Dr. Richard van Emmerik
Research Topic: Understanding the effects of ACL reconstruction to help improve rehabilitation strategies.