Newsletter Section


Welcome to our 2009 cohort

This year the Department of Psychology welcomed 17 new graduate students. The wide diversity of this group literally spans the world. They came to us from as far away as Korea University, the University of Craiova (Romania), Emory University, Cornell University, and UC Berkeley. Some didn't have to travel far, having completed their undergraduate degrees here at UW. We are truly excited to have these students join our program and look forward to their many successes and accomplishments.

Photo of 2009 Graduate Students

Dual Visual System Studies in Politics and Sports

Photo of Jeffrey Lin Jeffrey Lin (pictured here explaining his experiment to a participant) and advisors Geoffrey Boynton and Scott Murray use science based on dual visual systems to explain the George Bush “shoe-ducking” incident--specifically, why former President Bush ducked in time, but Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki did not flinch. In the split second before the shoe is launched towards the men, they each have different perceptions of the same event as it unfolds. Bush decides to duck while al-Maliki deems the shoe as non-threatening. The study explores how something may visually appear the same but is processed differently depending on the viewer, strongly suggesting a dual visual system.

This work is published in a high-tier journal Current Biology, and was in the news at Times Online , Scientific American, Scientific Blog , and UW News .

Relating to this research, Lin and his advisors are also hoping to apply these principles to the game of baseball. Perhaps it will explain some of the mechanisms underlying accurate performance and decision making.  Furthermore, it may one day allow researchers to predict in the lab player performance on the field. This story was on TV in multiple locations:

Healthy Relationships Research

Photo of Reney Cleary Developmental graduate student Renay Cleary Bradley has been busy working on an exciting project as Research Director at the Relationship Research Institute (RRI).

In the "Creating Healthy Relationships Project," RRI is evaluating a group-based psychoeducational intervention for low-income couples who are experiencing a specific form of situational violence.  This is a form of domestic violence in which there is no clear victim or perpetrator. The researchers have run intervention groups for the past year in Seattle, Bellevue, and Tacoma and will begin their final groups this winter, with data collection slated for completion over the next year. The intervention focuses on helping to promote more father involvement, better conflict management and self soothing skills, and building intimacy between couples.  It also seeks to establish social support and building community via the group-based structure.  Participants meet in weekly groups of five to seven couples for 22 weeks, allowing them to get to know one another and form social bonds.

Graduate Student's Non-profit Expands Services in Zimbabwe

Susanne (far right) and PERSON (kneeling in center) are pictured here delivering books to a Zimbabwean school. The women in pink are the preschool teachers whose training and salaries House Of Stone had funded the three years prior to the visit. Child clinical graduate student Susanne Martin Herz, MD, MS, and her husband run a non-profit organization called House of Stone. Since 2000, House of Stone has supported community-initiated programs for orphans and vulnerable children in Zimbabwe through the fair-trade sale of Zimbabwean art.  Most of the programs provide education, psychosocial support and food for preschool-aged children.

This year, House of Stone received for the first time applications from groups supporting children with special health care needs.  They are now funding two programs for hearing-impaired children.

Susanne is “really excited to watch these programs develop in a country where the average age of diagnosis of hearing impairment is still over three years!”

Outreach to our Sister University

In late May, UW Tacoma's undergraduate Psychology Club visited the Department of Psychology. UW Tacoma students were able to meet with staff, faculty, and graduate students to talk about research and graduate studies.  The daylong event involved visits to Dr. Liliana Lengua’s 1-2-3 Go! lab, Dr. Sapna Cheryan’s Stereotypes, Identity, & Belonging Lab (SIBL) , and the Department of Psychology Clinic. Undergraduate advisors Vicky Burke and Tracy Maschman Morrissey provided a presentation called “Applying to Graduate School” and answered questions. Director of Graduate Training, Dr. Nancy Kenney, gave the “real” graduate school talk, which left everyone in the room motivated!  The visit coincided with the UW Undergraduate Research Symposium which was a fantastic way of showing research in action at the undergraduate level. We hope to be able to host additional visits from both UW Tacoma and UW Bothell in the future.

UW Tacoma Psychology Club:

University of Washington's Project 1, 2, 3, GO!:

Stereotypes, Identity, & Belonging Lab (SIBL):

Psychological Services and Training Center:

UW Seattle Undergraduate Research Symposium:

Graduate Accomplishments

Winter 2009

Diane Logan and Kate Shannon were recipients of the 2008 APA Dissertation Research Award. The APA Science Directorate makes awards to promising graduate students to assist with the costs of their dissertation research.

Emily Blumenthal, Renay Cleary Bradley,and Sarah Racz all received travel awards for the Society for Research in Child Development conference in Denver.  Renay is a 5th year Developmental student and her advisor is Lynn Katz. Emily is a 4th year Developmental student and her advisor is Jessica Sommerville. Sarah is a 4th year Child Clinical student and her advisor is Bob McMahon.

Rachel Severson was interviewed by APA's GradPsych Magazine about a study that was published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology. Her advisor is Peter Kahn, also mentioned in the article. The original journal article is Kahn, P.H., Carrere, S., & Stolyar, A. (2008). A plasma display window? - The shifting baseline problem in a technologically-mediated natural world. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 28, 192-199.

Andrew Bock passed his general exam on January 14.  He is a 3rd year Behavioral Neuroscience student working with Jaime Olavarria.

Lauren Elder completed her general exam and advanced to candidacy on February 9. She is a 5th year  Child Clinical student working with Geraldine Dawson and Liliana Lengua.

Gareth Holman completed his general exam on January 16. He is a 4th year Adult Clinical student working with Robert Kohlenberg.

Julia Hitch passed her general exam on January 28. She is a 5th year child Child Clinical student working with Bob McMahon.

Jeff Jaeger passed his general exam on January 21. He is a 5th year Adult Clinical student working with Lori Zoellner.

Kelly Koo completed her general exam on March 5.  She is a 4th year Adult Clinical student; her advisors are Bill George and Jan Leu.

Cara Kiff, Sarah Racz, and Mara Sedlins are the first students to successfully complete a Quantitative Minor.  More information on this minor:

Jurate Lasiene successfully defended her dissertation on February 27. Her advisors are Philip Horner (Neurological Surgery) and Ilene Bernstein.

Jeffrey Lin and Libby Huber were each awarded a 2009 Elsevier/Vision Research Travel Award for the 2009 Annual Vision Sciences Society Conference in Florida in May. Their research was judged to be in the top 5% in a pool of over 300 applicants. They were both also selected among all research submissions to present their research at the conference. Jeffrey is a 1st year Cognition & Perception student with Geoffrey Boynton and Scott Murray. Libby is a 2nd year Cognition & Perception student working with Ione Fine.

Andrew Fleming, Trevor Schraufnagel, and Clara Wilkins each completed a Master's degree during Winter quarter. Congratulations!

Spring 2009

Diane Logan received the Margaret J. Barr Student Research Award from the Department of Education's Network Addressing Collegiate Alcohol and Other Drug Issues. This award will help fund Diane's dissertation. Her advisors are Alan Marlatt, Mary Larimer, and Jason Kilmer.

Aileen Echiverri received the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award for Individual Predoctoral Fellowship to Promote Diversity in Health-related Research.  This program is intended to promote diversity in health-related research by supporting research training leading to a PhD. Her advisor is Lori Zoellner.

Oliver Siy and Kerry Spalding received NSF Fellowships.  They are 1st year Social & Personality students.  Oliver is in Sapna Cheryan’s lab and Kerry is in Cheryl Kaiser’s lab.

Lauren Elder and Hilary Mead were awarded Gatzert Child Development Fellowships for one quarter during the 2009-2010 academic year.  The fellowship supports doctoral dissertation research in the field of child development with special reference to children with disabilities.  Hilary’s advisor is Ted Beauchaine and Lauren’s is Geri Dawson.

Adria Martig received the 2009 Committee on Animal Research & Ethics Imprinting Award from the APA to participate in the APA annual convention in Toronto in August.  She will be the guest of APA at several events honoring the awardees, including a mentoring session and an opportunity to present her research.   She is with the Mizumori lab.

Yamile Molina successfully defended her dissertation on April 21.  She is a 4th year Animal Behavior student; her advisor is Sean O'Donnell.

Andrew Fleming was awarded a Huckabay Teaching Fellowship for use during the 2009-2010 academic year.  He is a 3rd year Child Clinical student with Bob McMahon.

Julia Hitch received the Graduate School Dissertation Fellowship for use during 2009-10, a “prestigious honor” according to Associate Dean Juan C. Guerra.  She is a 5th year Child Clinical student with Bob McMahon.

The following people were honored at the 38th Annual Psychology Research Festival on May 27, 2009:

Recipients of ALCOR Graduate Fellowships Recipients of ALCOR Graduate Fellowships:

Distinguished Teaching Award for Graduate Students Distinguished Teaching Award for Graduate Students

Summer 2009

Kate Shannon was one of only four winners of an international APS research award, specifically the Student Grant Competition Award. She presented her research at the APS annual conference in San Francisco last month. She worked with Ted Beauchaine and has finished her 5th year in Child Clinical. She is an intern at the University of Chicago-Illinois during 2009-2010.

Jeffrey Lin’s first-year project was published in Current Biology. The work is currently one of five featured articles on the Current Biology website
 ( and on UW News: "If the shoe fits, duck: A real-life example of humans' dual vision system."
( Follow the paper in the media at the New York Times, Times Online, Scientific American and many others at:
Jeffrey is now a 2nd year Cognition & Perception student with Scott Murray and Geoffrey Boynton, who are listed as co-authors.

Geoffrey Valentine passed his general exam on June 18. He is a 5th year Cognition & Perception student working with Lee Osterhout.

Rick Cruz is one of eight students selected by the National Hispanic Science Network for a summer research internship at the National Institute of Health. He works at the National Human Genome Research Institute in the Social and Behavioral Sciences section. This internship is jointly sponsored by the National Institute of Health.  Rick is currently a 3rd year Child Clinical student with Ana Mari Cauce.

Lori Wu Malahy, Jennifer Wang, and Clara Wilkins were selected to participate in a two-week intensive summer school for predoctoral students in social psychology. The Summer Institute in Social Psychology (SISP) is modeled after the highly successful summer school of the European Association of Experimental Social Psychology (EAESP), and EAESP is a co-sponsor of SISP.

Jolina Ruckert and Rachel Severson were interviewed by the British Broadcasting Corporation about their research project that was published in Current Directions in Psychological Science (  This was also covered locally in the UW News ( Both Rachel and Jolina are Developmental students with Peter Kahn.

Emily Blumenthal completed her general exam on July 20. She is a Developmental student with Jessica Sommerville.

Susan Faja received a postdoctoral fellowship funded by the Training Program in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities at the Joseph Stokes, Jr. Research Institute of Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.  She worked with Geri Dawson and graduated this quarter with a PhD.

Sam Yard received the 2009 APA Student Travel Award, which assisted her attendance and participation at the APA 117th Annual Convention in Toronto.

Michele Bedard-Gilligan passed her final defense with distinction. She is an Adult Clinical student with Lori Zoellner.

Congratulations to our Summer quarter Master's recipients, Connie Meza and Danny O'Rourke and to our PhD graduates: Michele Bedard-Gilligan, Sharon Brenner, Susan Faja, Christian Hendershot, Noam Lindenboim, Ty Lostutter, and Jessica Vando.

Autumn 2009

Keren Lehavot received a Dissertation Award from the Center for Disease Control & Prevention. Her project title is "Minority Stress Among Sexual Minority Women" and her advisor is Jane Simoni.

Nicholas Nasrallah published a paper on adolescent alcohol abuse and later adult decision-making impairments in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and received some exciting press coverage which can be seen in Scientific American, National Geographic, ScienceNOW, Discover Magazine, Discovery Health News, US News & World Report, Scientific American Podcast, and the University of Washington News.

Christina Derbidge, Aileen Echiverri, Kelly Koo, Diane Logan, Kimberly Nelson, Eric Pedersen, and Maureen Zalewski were recipients of the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Awards (NRSA) for Individual Predoctoral Fellows.

Diane Logan, in addition to her NRSA, also received the 2009 Roswell Student Dissertation Award and 2009 Margaret J. Barr Student Research Award.