Spring 2019 Newsletter

Welcome from Department Chair Caren Rotello

caren rotelloDear Friends,

Spring is my favorite time of year in Amherst. I love the excitement and pageantry of graduation, and its promise of wonderful new opportunities for the class of 2019! 

We have been busy in Tobin Hall. Our annual undergraduate research symposium showcased the inspiring work of our students. Our faculty and students continue to win awards for their research, teaching, and dedication to increasing diversity and inclusion. Read on to learn about new grants on topics that matter to us all, and to hear about just a few of the moments we’ve shared with the community. I do hope you’ll enjoy these stories. There’s one more story I don’t want you to miss: thanks to your generosity, UMassGives was a huge success for Psychological & Brain Sciences. THANK YOU for helping us support our students’ many successes.

Before you head off to your summer activities, please take a moment to send us your news. Alumni, #MeetMeInTobin to tell us what you’re up to, or stop by our Alumni pages to tell us your stories and share your favorite UMass memories. (Class of 2019, you’re now eligible! Congratulations!)


Caren Rotello

Research Highlights

teen imagines her friends facesRisky Decisions—Helpful or Harmful

Developmental psychologist Kirby Deater-Deckard, is a co-investigator on a recently renewed five-year, $3.7 million grant from the NIH’s National Institute on Drug Abuse to support a research team studying the environmental and neurobiological risk factors that influence brain development and healthy versus unhealthy decision-making in adolescence and early adulthood. Read full article



allison epsteinAllison Epstein ’17 Finds Her Calling as a Forensic Psychologist

Fascinated 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. Read full article

group of award winners posing

2019 Senior Award Winners Share Reflections from UMass

Outstanding seniors from Psychological and Brain Sciences were honored at the annual Senior Award Celebration held at the University Club. Department Chair Caren Rotello, award recipients, their faculty sponsors were in attendance. Seniors were honored for their academic excellence, contributions to research, and scholarship. Hear what students had to say

students gather around postersUndergraduate Research Symposium

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

old chapel logoUMassGives Wrap Up

UMass Amherst’s seventh annual 2-day on-line giving campaign, UMassGives, was a huge success! On April 29 and 30 the University came together to raise funds for many areas of campus including colleges, departments, and student organizations. The Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences participated in a fundraising Power Hour, a chance to win bonus funds if an area can procure the most individual donations during that hour. We're glad to announce winning second place, receiving an extra $500 in bonus funds! We generated over $2,000 during our Power Hour alone! PBS raised $4,320 from 94 donors! That's almost double the funds we raised last year! We want to extend a heart-felt thank you to all of our donors for supporting our students' success!

Donations from UMassGives will support important initiatives and student activities such as Career Fairs, our Undergraduate Research Symposium, Conference Travel Awards, Research Funding, Student Clubs and Peer Mentoring. Check out our fund page to learn more about the valuable supports and experiences we provide to our students. #MeetMeInTobin and Go #UMassPBS!

Award Highlights