Winter 2020 Newsletter

Welcome from Department Chair Caren Rotello

Dear Friends,

Caren RotelloWe are celebrating in Tobin Hall as we hire new faculty, applaud new grants and awards, and even open new lab space.  This fall we also celebrated our history–the program in Developmental Disabilities and Human Services is 20!–and we take a look ahead to events coming this spring. I’m very proud of the many accomplishments of our students, faculty, and staff.

In this newsletter, we hear from several recent alumni who shared their passions, aspirations, and tips for current students.  I hope you enjoy their stories as much as we did.

We also want to hear your stories! 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. As part of the PBS family, you’re always welcome.

Caren Rotello


Imaging methods to allow researchers a more in-depth understanding of brain-heart coordination in young children

UMass Amherst researchers have been awarded a $390,483 grant from the National Science Foundation to investigate the role of coordinated brain and heart activity in the rapid development of self-regulation in 3- to 5-year-olds. Read full article

Learn how the DDHS program has grown in its student body, courses and curriculum, and the number of partnering organizations offering real-world experience through internships. Recent additions including volunteer, service learning, and study abroad programs have added great new chances for skill-development and community-building. The passionate students of DDHS continue to excel as they build lasting connections with each other, stay up-to-date on significant research in the field, and gain knowledge of how to best support individuals and families facing disability.

A Message from Director Ashley Woodman

Overuse of electronic devices, stress, and a lack of sleep can take a toll on our health and well-being. Ilia Karatsoreos, associate professor of behavioral neuroscience, studies how the body's biological clock and stress response systems help maintain mental and physical health. His lab aims to uncover the fundamental mechanisms of, and potential interventions to, some of the negative health outcomes associated with our fast-paced modern society.

Read full article

The brand new neuroscience wing in Morrill IV, housing many of our behavioral neuroscience labs, features a modern open lab plan, lots of natural light, and energy efficiency. The space will house the labs and offices of Ilia Karatsoreos, David Moorman, Mariana Pereira, Luke Remage-Healey, and Heather Richardson, as well as the office of Agnès Lacreuse. View photo journal

Senior psychology student works toward the full inclusion of people with disabilities

Deanna Ferrante '20, Developmental Disabilities and Human Services Program (DDHS) and Psychology, was honored with the first inaugural Kaitlin A. Geraghty Memorial Prize for excellence in disability inclusion by the National Organization on Disability (NOD). Read full article

UMass alumni share how PBS prepared them for a successful career

Find out how these bright alumni found their calling! 

Read spotlights

Research Highlights

Award Highlights

In the Media

Upcoming Events

March 2, 12-1 pm | Old Chapel, UMass Amherst (with 1-2 pm reception afterwards)

We are all vulnerable to craving. Whether it’s a compulsion to constantly check social media, overeat, smoke, excessively drink, or any other behavior, we may find ourselves uncontrollably repeating. Why are bad habits so hard to overcome? Can we learn how our minds work, and even tap into this very process to find a key to conquer the cravings we know are unhealthy for us and foster our natural capacities for awareness and kindness?

For more details visit the event page

March 19-21, 2020 at UMass Amherst

Including Special Session: The Role of Linguistic Theory in Psycholinguistics. It is an exciting time to highlight the important interdisciplinary relationship between linguists and psychologists that lies at the the heart of the CUNY community.

For more details visit the conference website

FUTURE OF ADOPTION: Adopted Adults - Connections Across Generations

April 17, 2020 | 9:00 am - 5:00 pm

This year's conference topic will focus on the lifespan of adoptees with special consideration given to adult adoptees and their many connections across generations. The 2020 conference will be marked by the many exciting signs of progress both within our program and the world of adoption studies. Learn More and Register Today

Save the Date

PBS Undergraduate Research Symposium | Thursday, April 23, Tobin Hall

UMassGives Annual Fundraiser | Wednesday and Thursday, April 29-30

CNS Senior Celebration | Saturday, May 9, 9:00-11:00 am, Mullins Center, UMass Amherst
Followed by the PBS Senior Graduation Luncheon

PBS Remembers