Winter 2020 Newsletter | Awards and Updates

Master's Thesis Defense

Jasmine Dixon, Predictors of Cognitive Decline in a Multi-Ethnic Sample of Midlife Women: A Longitudinal Study
Shannon GairEarly Neural and Environmental Predictors of Later Emotion Dysregulation in Children with and without ADHD Symptoms

Doctoral Dissertation Defense

Mengjiao Li​, Development of Neural and Behavioral Inhibitory Control during Adolescence: The Integrative Effects of Family Socioeconomic Status and Parenting Behaviors
Mary Kate OakleyAssociations Between Emotion Regulation Flexibility, Executive Functioning, and Borderline Personality Disorder Features

Awards and Honors

Kirby Deater-Deckard has been selected to chair the 2020 Social/Behavioral scientific review panel/study section, at the U.S. Department of Education's Institute of Education Sciences (IES). The "Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Influences on Learning" program at IES supports research and education practice at the intersection of cognition, learning, and social-emotional factors. The program's initiatives gather data on school climate, evaluate behavioral interventions, and provide resources for promoting social and emotional well-being. This program also oversees most of the federally funded research on formal and informal educational environments and their impact on learning outcomes. IES distributes approximately $600M per year in research and program evaluation grants. Learn more about the Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Influences on Learning program

Rebecca Ready was elected to the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Clinical Neuropsychology (AACN).  AACN advances the profession of Clinical Neuropsychology through advocacy, education, and research support.  AACN communicates scientific and scholarly information through continuing education, scientific meetings, and publications. When her term begins in February 2020, Ready will assist the Publications Committee in writing position papers and other publications. Ready also joined the editorial team of The Clinical Neuropsychologist as consulting editor in January 2020, which is the official journal of AACN. 

Maria Galano has been selected as a 2019–21 UCLA HIV/AIDS Substance Abuse and Trauma Training Program Scholar. HA-STTP is a collaboration of the Center for Culture, Trauma and Mental Health Disparities, the UCLA AIDS Institute and the Center for HIV Identification, Prevention and Treatment Services. ​Read more about Maria's research

The Massachusetts Society for Medical Research honored Melinda Novak with its 2019 Educator of the Year award on Oct. 25 at the Union Club in Boston. Read more

Paula Pietromonaco has been selected for the 2019 Service to the Field Award from the Society for Personality and Social Psychology. Read more

Andrea Silva-Gotay has received a NIH Blueprint Diversity Specialized Predoctoral to Postdoctoral Advancement in Neuroscience (D-SPAN) Award. The purpose of the D-SPAN Award is to support a defined pathway across career stages for outstanding graduate students who are from diverse backgrounds underrepresented in neuroscience research. This two-phase award will facilitate completion of the doctoral dissertation and transition of talented graduate students to strong neuroscience research postdoctoral positions, and will provide career development opportunities relevant to their long-term career goal of becoming independent neuroscience researchers.​ Read more about Andrea's research

In collaboration with Drs. Bernhard Leidner and Gilad Hirschberger, Brooke Burrows, a PBS graduate student in the Psychology of Peace and Violence Program, was recently awarded a Prof. Rahamimoff Travel Grant for Young Scientists of the US-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF). The award sponsors collaborative research in Israel, with the proposed research examining how reconciliation processes may be impacted by public expressions of suffering.  

Molly Mather, Mike Broggi, Jasmine Dixon, Elenie Kapoulea, and recent graduate Genna Santorelli '19 will be presenting research at the International Neuropsychological Society meeting in Denver, CO in early February. Topics include executive function and emotion regulation, academic outcomes for university students who have a history of multiple concussions, and predictors of cognition in a multi-ethnic sample of midlife women.

Brien Goodwin, a 6th year student in Clinical Psychology, was awarded a 2019 Dissertation Research Grant from the University of Massachusetts Graduate School. His dissertation delves into the “black box” of psychotherapy by focusing on moment-to-moment patient-therapist process underlying the dyadic construct of alliance convergence; that is, the increasing alignment of patient and therapist perceptions of their shared relationship. As prior research has established that greater alliance convergence associates with more patient improvement, Goodwin is using the Structural Analysis of Social Behavior to codify interpersonal processes and probability-based transactional sequences that distinguish known high vs. low convergence dyads (in cognitive behavioral therapy for generalized anxiety disorder). This research will provide actionable information to clinicians committed to evolving their practice with the growing evidence base.

CNS students win top prize in Celebration of Innovation Challenge
Three College of Natural Sciences students recently won a top prize in the Celebration of Innovation Challenge: The Seed Pitch, hosted by the Berthiaume Center for Entrepreneurship. Pitched by Hadley Beauregard (biochemistry and molecular biology), Hailey Charest (biochemistry and molecular biology) and Bryanna Lexus Freitas (chemistry and psychology), Bac-Be-Gone focuses on MRSA, an antibiotic resistant superbug that kills hundreds of thousands of people a year in hospitals across the world. The Bac-Be-Gone venture will produce products that immediately eliminate MRSA on contact. The team was awarded $5,000 in equity-free funding.

The PBS Graduate Studies Committee has selected Cierra Abellera and Trisha Dehrone, graduate students in social psychology, to receive 2019 Edna M. Dahlquist Scholarships. Cierra Abellera is a member of the Family Relationships, Affective Science, and Minority Health (FAM) Lab working with Dr. Evelyn Mercado broadly on psychophysiological responses to stress among minority populations. She is particularly interested in resilience among refugee populations and how host-community attitudes and cultural values influence that resilience. Trisha Dehrone’s research interests center around intergroup relations, prejudice reduction, and conflict associated with social justice efforts. She is specifically interested in understanding how positive contact can enhance white’s psychological investment in racial equality (empathy, humanizing outgroups, etc.) and testing strategies to eliminate the barriers to this investment (dehumanization, negative contact). She is also interested in understanding the factors that make bystanders more likely to intervene against discrimination and violence (i.e., hate crimes, genocide). Dehrone is working with Dr. Linda Tropp in the Intergroup Relations and Social Justice Lab.