Winter 2021 Newsletter

Caren RotelloWelcome from Department Chair Caren Rotello

Dear Friends,

As I write, Amherst is blanketed in a beautiful layer of fresh snow. Many students will return to campus next week to begin the spring semester while adhering to health and safety protocols. Most students will continue their classes remotely. There is a sense of hope in the air, as UMass has begun to administer vaccinations against the coronavirus.

Good things are happening in PBS, and I’m pleased to share a sampling of them with you. In this newsletter, you’ll learn about resilience, highlighting research by Maria Galano, and about mindfulness, focusing on work in Bekki Spencer’s lab. We’re also proud to celebrate some recent awards our faculty and students have received, and to tell you about the successes of our alumni. I do hope you’ll enjoy these stories.

Please take a moment to send us your news. Alumni, read about fellow UMass graduates in our Spotlight on Alumni and contribute your story to offer valuable career advice to current students. Also, stop by our Alumni pages to tell us about your latest accomplishments or to share your favorite UMass memory. Most importantly, please take care and stay well!


Caren Rotello


A recent study of the UMass Amherst Women’s Rowing team examined if a mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) routine could improve elements of their athletic performance, like speed or endurance. The effect of MBSR on the athlete’s psychological well-being, sleep quality, and athletic coping skills was also examined. Read full article

Clinical psychologists like Maria Galano are finding new ways to explore resilience. Galano examines early-life exposure to interpersonal violence, and how family processes and social environment differentiate individual pathways to mental illness and resilient outcomes. Read full article

Stefan Tiefenbacher poses in officeAlumni Profile:

Stefan Tiefenbacher '01PhD has benefitted greatly from his training in the Neuroscience and Behavior Program at UMass Amherst. From performing primate physiology and bioanalysis to studying psychiatry, he has pursued many innovative ventures on the cutting-edge of research. 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

Owen '21
Owen '21
Intern (Remote), The Stonewall Center
Bella '21
Bella '21
Research Intern (Remote), Brigham and Women's Hospital
Olivia ’22
Olivia '22
Substance Abuse Workforce Class Coordinator, JVS Boston/MassHire

Check out the Database of Completed CNS Internships and Research! You can read student reviews, and see where they found field experience and research opportunities. Add your internship experience by filling out this Student Survey!

Research Highlights

Awards and Updates

In the Media

New Faces

Dr. Abbie GoldbergDr. Abbie Goldberg Appointed to Rudd Family Visiting Professorship for Spring 2021

Dr. Goldberg is the Jan and Larry Landry University Professor of Psychology at Clark University, where she is also the Director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program. Broadly, her research focuses on how a variety of social locations (e.g., gender, sexual orientation, social class) and contexts (e.g., work, family, community) shape processes of development and mental health. For 15 years, she has been conducting a longitudinal study of adoptive parenthood among lesbian, gay, and heterosexual couples. This landmark study has examined topics such as how parents navigate discussions of sexuality, gender, physical development (e.g., height, weight) and race.

While Rudd Visiting Professor at UMass Amherst during spring semester 2021, she will work with Rudd program faculty, students, and staff to accomplish several goals relating to adoption and the educational system: a) review the existing research literature about adopted children/families and their relation to educational systems, including awareness and knowledge on the part of school personnel; b) consider designing new survey research to assess needs as perceived by parents and by school personnel; c) evaluate existing materials available through sources such as the Child Welfare Information Gateway; d) produce user-friendly materials in various media (webcasts, documents, infographics, etc.) for parents, educators, and children; and e) disseminate such materials widely. During her appointment, she will also make a public presentation based on her work, which will be made available through Rudd video platforms.

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Professional website