Spring 2019 Newsletter | Awards and Updates

Successful Master's Thesis Defense:

Heather Muir, Integrating Responsive Motivational Interviewing with CBT for Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Direct and Indirect Effects on Interpersonal Outcomes
Jasmine Dixon, Predictors of Cognitive Decline in a Multi-Ethnic Sample of Midlife Women: A Longitudinal Study
Quinnehtkqut McLamore, To Defend or Not to Defend—the Low Glorifier’s Question: The relationship between Low Glorifiers’ Defensiveness of Ingroup-Perpetrated Harm and the Tangibility of Intergroup Conflict
Zachary Salander, Influence of Emotion Processing and Affect Intensity on the Engagement of Inhibitory Control in Young Adults with Attention-deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Successful Doctoral Dissertation Defense:

Hema Preya SelvanathanPublic Attitudes Toward Collective Action: Three Social Psychological Investigations in Malaysia, the United States, and Israel-Palestine
Margaret Ugolini, Electrophysiological correlates of natural language processing in children and adults

Awards and Honors

Andrea Craft, graduate student in clinical psychology, has been awarded a prestigious 3-year Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship. Read more about her current research

This April, Adaeze Egwuatu was chosen by the Graduate Student Diversity Committee as the recipient of this year’s Wendy L. Helmer Memorial Graduate Student Award. Egwuatu's fellow graduate students recognized her important contributions across many levels including in PBS, the Neuroscience and Behavior Program, and at UMass Amherst more broadly. Egwuatu is a strong advocate for inclusion and social justice, and has been a powerful, respectful voice for graduate students. The winner of the first Faculty/Staff Ally to Graduate Students Award is Professor Lisa Harvey. A compassionate ally to graduate students, she constantly goes out of her way to attend to student needs and support student well-being. She dedicates herself to initiatives that create a welcoming environment where all students can thrive. In her teaching practice, Harvey values the individuals goals of each of her students, also incorporating literature and discussion of themes related to people from diverse backgrounds. 

Linda Tropp has been named a Chancellor's Leadership Fellow for 2019. Tropp and Melissa Wooten, associate professor of sociology, are collaborating with associate chancellor Anna Branch in the office of equity and inclusion. Tropp will convene with faculty and staff in the College of Education to review materials on diversity and inclusion and to envision, develop, and evaluate the effectiveness of new training modules for pre-service teachers.

PBS Faculty have won 2019 College of Natural Sciences Outstanding Achievement Awards.
Outstanding Teaching: Erik Cheries, Lecturer and Honors Program Director
Outstanding Research: Luke Remage-Healey, Associate Professor
Excellence in Diversity & Inclusion: Nilanjana ‘Buju’ Dasgupta, Professor and CNS Director of Faculty Equity and Inclusion

Professor Emeritus Ervin Staub is the recipient of the 2018 Otto Klineberg Intercultural and International Relations Award from the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, for the 2018 article Preventing Violence and Promoting Active Bystandership and Peace: My Life in Research and Applications, described in the award letter as “an exceptional paper… has the potential to have wide-ranging influence in the area of intergroup relations.” Staub also received the 2019 Kurt Lewin award of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues. This award is given “for outstanding contributions to the development and integration of psychological research and social action,” with a formal address at the Society’s convention in San Diego in June 2019 and its publication in the Journal of Social Issues. 

Adam Grabell, Assistant Professor, has joined the 2019-20 class of Family Research Scholars established by The Center for Research on Families. 

Adrian Rivera-Rodriguez, graduate student in social psychology, and Trisha Dehrone, incoming graduate student in social psychology, are recipients of NSF Graduate Research Fellowships.

Jasmine Dixon, a second year clinical program graduate student, will be appointed the new Membership Chair of the Association for Neuropsychology Students in Training (ANST).  She will see a 2-year term in this national leadership position.  ANST is a committee of the APA Division 40 Society for Clinical Neuropsychology. Dixon also presented a poster at the 47th annual meeting of the International Neuropsychological Society in New York City in February. Her presentation was entitled, Ethnic group differences in predictors of cognitive performance for midlife women.

In November, Molly Mather presented a poster at the annual scientific meeting of the Gerontological Society of America in Boston. Her presentation was entitled, Physiological reactivity to a negative mood induction: Stronger coherence in older than younger adults.

Catherine McEachern (Psychology & DDHS) won the Peer Mentor of the Year Award presented by UMass Amherst Residential Life. She was nominated by fellow Psychology major, Jess Guerin. 

Jessica Ulloa will be honored as a 21st Century Leader at UMass Amherst Commencement. Ulloa is a Commonwealth Honors College student who will graduate with a degree in psychology with a neuroscience concentration. Ulloa will represent UMass Amherst at the “29 Who Shine” event May 3 at the Massachusetts State House, honoring outstanding students who graduate from the Commonwealth’s public higher education system. As a student, she developed a wound-healing treatment as her honors thesis project and founded the Hope Project, a UMass service organization that places volunteers at the local shelter and soup kitchen, collects donations and raises awareness of homelessness. Throughout college, Ulloa worked as a certified nursing assistant in a rehabilitation unit and nursing home. After graduation, she plans to work in a research lab, volunteer with the homeless community and apply to medical school.

Dan Pollak '19 received a Senior Student Fellowship from Backyard Brains, a company developing low-cost electronics for experiments in neuroscience. He will be spending 6 weeks this summer in Munich and Belgrade working on some exciting projects.

UMass senior Alvin Buyinza, is one of 16 students nationwide selected to participate in the 2019 POLITICO Journalism Institute, an initiative dedicated to diversifying and expanding the pipeline of diverse journalists in Washington's newsrooms.

This year the UMass Amherst chapter of Psi Chi, the International Honors Society in Psychology, celebrates their 40th anniversary! Chartered in 1979, Psi Chi at UMass is made up of undergraduates dedicated to personal growth and academic excellence. This community upholds their mission of encouraging, stimulating, and maintaining excellence in scholarship, and advancing the science of psychology.

Alumni Updates

Dan Vahaba '19PhD has accepted a 3-year Visiting Assistant Professor position at Smith College.