Fall 2021 Newsletter

Welcome to the 2021-2022 Academic Year! With precautions in place to prioritize and promote safety and public health, we are thrilled and excited to be returning to campus. After being away for over a year, we expect this Fall semester will be a time of reestablishing connections and exploring new developments and changes on campus. The faculty and staff of the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences are here to help you on your journey of self-discovery and knowledge.

On November 5th during UMass Homecoming, select faculty members from each of our research programs will be offering presentations (both zoom and in person) introducing their area of science. They will highlight how the research and teaching activities in PBS span a wide array of social, clinical, developmental, cognitive, and neurological investigations that improve our understanding of the human brain and behavior.

Please take a moment to send us your news. Alumni, read about fellow UMass graduates in our Spotlight on Alumni series and contribute your story to offer valuable career advice to current students. Also, stop by our Alumni pages to tell us about your latest accomplishments or to share your favorite UMass memory. Current students, check out our Instagram @umass.pbs and tell us how it feels to be back together again at #umassPBS. Hope to see you in November for UMass Homecoming!

The Advisors, Faculty, and Staff of the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences


Featuring the expertise of Christopher Martell, Director of the UMass Amherst Psychological Services Center and PBS Lecturer

A diagnosis of depression can make those who suffer from the disorder feel lethargic, reluctant to participate in activities that once brought them pleasure, or feel unable to take action to better their situation. Behavioral activation (BA) is a method of psychotherapy that helps people get re-engaged in their life by reducing depression, enabling individuals to live more in the present moment, and increasing their overall enjoyment of life. 
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Making STEM education more accessible and effective for diverse learners

A Senior Research Scientist at TERC, Ibrahim Dahlstrom-Hakki develops alternative approaches to mainstream education that benefit neurodiverse learners. He designs innovative curricula and assessments utilizing neurocognitive tools, game-based learning, and even virtual reality. He also shares his educational knowledge through professional development workshops for teachers, improving the accessibility of STEM education for students with disabilities. 
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University of Massachusetts Amherst neuroscientists examining genetically identified neurons in a songbird’s forebrain discovered a remarkable landscape of physiology, auditory coding, and network roles that mirrored those in the brains of mammals. 
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Each summer, PBS department members mentor students, helping them perform specialized research projects. The William Lee Science Impact Program (Lee SIP) is a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program designed to expand and broaden participation in undergraduate research. Also, the Summer Pre-College Research Intensives place high-achieving high school students in professional working labs alongside distinguished faculty, graduate and undergraduate students.

Check out these posters from some of our talented student researchers, summing up their awesome projects! Read full article

Find out how these bright alumni found their calling

Jane Studeny OliveiraJane Studeny Oliveira '13, PsyD
Pediatric Neuropsychologist at Boston Neuropsychological Services

Patrick McGonigalPatrick McGonigal '16, MA
Ph.D. Student in Clinical Psychology and Masters of Legal Studies (MLS) Student at the University of Nebraska Lincoln

Read more spotlights

Research Highlights

Award Highlights

In the Media