Winter 2019 Newsletter

Welcome from Department Chair Caren Rotello

caren rotelloDear Friends,

This has been an exciting year in Psychological and Brain Sciences! During October, we celebrated “Okteacherfest” by learning from one another about the latest technologies for teaching as well as best pedagogical practices. Then, we were thrilled to see many of you at our Open House in November. And as I write, we are in the middle of hiring faculty to further expand our impact in diversity science and in behavioral neuroscience, and we’re hiring a faculty member who will focus on student success. We’re also busy planning our participation in a Science Night for Amherst elementary school students, to be held this spring. Check back in our next newsletter for updates.

I am proud of the awards and research accomplishments our faculty and students, as well as the important contributions made by our many alumni.  Read on to learn more!

As always, we want to hear your news!  Alumni, I hope you’ll #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.

Caren Rotello


lisa harveyFaculty Profile:
Lisa Harvey

The 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.

rebecca ametranoAlumni Profile:
Rebecca Ametrano

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

A 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.

neuronsFinding clues to adolescent brain development

One of the outstanding questions in neurodevelopment research has been identifying how connections in the brain change to improve neural function during childhood and adolescence. Now, results from a study in rats just reported by Heather Richardson, faculty member in psychological and brain sciences, Geng-Lin Li, biology, and colleagues at the University of Massachusetts Amherst suggest that as animals transition into adolescence, specific physical changes to axons speed up neural transmission, which may lead to higher cognitive abilities.

okteacherfest pretzel logoFaculty and students join forces, sharing their knowledge of teaching

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.

PBS Interviews New Assistant Professors

bruna martins

Bruna Martins
Clinical Psychology

evelyn mercado

Evelyn Mercado
Social Psychology

neuro club at student fairUMass Neuroscience Club reaches 10 years as RSO

This year, the UMass Neuroscience Club (UMNC) has reached its 10-year mark as being a registered student organization on campus! To introduce ourselves for those who are unfamiliar with the UMNC, we are a group of undergraduate students passionate about exploring the field neuroscience. In the interdisciplinary spirit of neuroscience, all majors are welcome to join. We are an “open-source” resource on campus—we do not have membership dues. The only requirement for joining is a curiosity for neuroscience!