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Graduate

Say Hello to Our 2011 Cohort!

The Psychology Department Welcomes the 2011 Cohort

Nineteen graduate students joined our PhD program for Fall 2011. In particular, this was a big year for our Behavioral Neuroscience area which welcomed five new students!

Our new students participated in a week-long departmental orientation which was overseen by Tamara Toub, Lead TA and Developmental area graduate student.  They also took part in a campus-wide teaching assistant conference offered through the UW Center for Instructional Development and Research, and some completed laboratory safety trainings with the UW Environmental Health and Safety.  The orientation period ended with our annual Welcome Party just prior to the start of classes for the academic year. The weather was kind that afternoon as we all enjoyed getting to know each other with light refreshments and beverages in the Guthrie Hall courtyard.

Some stats on our new students:

  • Three students were awarded Top Scholar Summer Research Assistantships which will provide them with support in the form of research assistantships during their first summer in our program.
  • Two students were the recipients of the College of Arts & Sciences, Natural Sciences Fellowship in recognition of their outstanding credentials as they entered our graduate program.  
  • One student was already recognized for her research conducted in collaboration with one of our research centers before she joined our program.
  • One student travelled through Europe for a few weeks and another stayed in the Mediterranean region for a month during the summer. Now, that's the way to recharge before starting school!

Supplemental Reading:

  • Past articles on the entering cohort, 2010 and 2009.

 

2011 Cohort
Photo:  2011 Cohort
2011 Welcome Party
Photo:  2011 Welcome Party
2011 Welcome Party
Photo:  2011 Welcome Party
2011 Welcome Party
Photo:  2011 Welcome Party

NSF Recipient Sees the Big Picture

The National Science Foundation's Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) is highly competitive and provides fellowship support for graduate students (master or doctoral) in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Recipients are given a three year award consisting of fellowship stipend and an education allowance, in addition to the powerful networking opportunities and resources afforded by being selected as fellows. 

Bjorn
Photo:  Bjorn Hubert-Wallander

The Department of Psychology has been fortunate to have several NSF fellows in the program each year. Bjorn Hubert-Wallander, a 2nd year Cognition and Perception student with Geoffrey Boynton in the Vision and Cognition Lab, is our most recent recipient of this prestigious fellowship.

Let's start with the basics, where are you from and where did you complete undergraduate and masters degrees?

I'm most recently from the University of Rochester, where I worked as a research assistant for Daphne Bavelier in Brain and Cognitive Sciences, but I got my bachelor's in psychology at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. I grew up in Alabama, in the deepest of the deep south!

How did you wind up at UW--why did you apply here? What do you think about living in Seattle?

I ended up here because I was very impressed with the Vision and Cognition lab and its researchers. I thought it would be a great environment in which to learn new techniques and explore the lines of research I'm most interested in. Seattle is a beautiful city and I really enjoy how much there is to do here.

What is your research interest and how did you get into it (what inspires/motivates you)?

I'm interested in the general problem of visual perception, and I'm especially interested in how and why our subjective visual experience isn't a veridical representation of the real world. In particular, I do research on visual attention's large role in this process, trying to learn more about how we direct attention, and how it directs us.

How did you learn about your funding opportunity and tell us about the application and waiting process?

The NSF GRFP is widely known in my field, so nothing in particular tipped me off to it. The application process was invigorating more than anything else, and the end result was a plan I was proud of and plan to execute. Waiting isn't fun, but once it's all submitted that's all there is to do!

How did you feel when you learned that your application was accepted and that you will receive two to three years of funding?

It was great!

Do you have any advice/tips/suggestions for others who may apply to this opportunity? About graduate study in general?

I highly highly recommend developing the proposal together with advisors, past and present. They know what reviewers are looking for and can add a lot of oomph to your application. I also recommend getting as many examples of successful applications as you can, since it gives you a strong base to start from. Finally, I always recommend trying to show your genuine enthusiasm and curiosity for your field and for your specific research questions. 

What do you hope to accomplish with the funding and/or while in the UW Psychology graduate program?

I plan to use it to devote as much time to productive research as possible!

What do you like doing in your spare time?

Honestly? Eating and playing video games.

The last book and/or movie you saw and enjoyed?

"The Name of the Wind," by Patrick Rothfuss.

What you plan to do once you complete your PhD?

I'd like to eventually go on to a faculty position and contribute what I can to our knowledge of human perception. The idea of working in academia for the rest of my life is incredibly appealing to me!

Supplemental Reading:

NRSA Fellow Seeks to Help Asian American Youth

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) provide National Research Service Awards (NRSA) to support the research of graduate students focusing on biomedical and behavioral issues. The intent of these awards is to provide funding/resources to ensure that there will be a population of highly trained scientists who can help meet the nation's "mental health, drug abuse, alcohol abuse and alcoholism research needs." Graduate students in Psychology at UW have been amazingly successful in competing for these prestigious awards. 

Jeremy Luk, a third year graduate student in our Child Clinical area, is a recent recipient of an NRSA. His faculty advisor is Kevin King and Jeremy's project is called "Developmental pathways to alcohol and drug use across European and Asian American Youth."

Jeremy Luk
Photo:  Jeremy Luk

Let's start with the basics, where are you from and where did you complete undergraduate and masters degrees?

I was born in Los Angeles and I grew up in Hong Kong. I came back to the US for college when I was 18, and I went to UW Seattle!

How did you wind up at UW--why did you apply here? What do you think about living in Seattle?

I met my current advisor, Kevin King, when I was an undergraduate here at UW. In my senior year, I served as a peer TA for Dr. King's first Psych 101 class taught at UW and was impressed by his enthusiasm and his approach to science. I ended up at UW because of the excellent match in research interest and its outstanding clinical training opportunities.

Seattle is a great and diverse city. I like its size and pace, but I still don't like the rain in the winter. I love the summer though!

What is your research interest and how did you get into it (what inspires/motivates you)?

Broadly, I am interested in the development of substance use and problems across adolescence into emerging adulthood. My interest was partly nurtured during my postbaccalaureate year at the Prevention Research Branch, NICHD, where I was drawn to the prevention approach to solve public health problems. Currently, I am interested in how contextual and cultural factors might play a role in the development of alcohol and drug use and problems in Asian American youth. 

How did you learn about your funding opportunity and tell us about the application and waiting process?

I heard about NRSA from multiple sources, and I initially hesitated to apply early in my graduate career because we now only have one resubmission opportunity. The application process was tedious, but it was a positive and useful learning experience as it introduced me to grant writing.

How did you feel when you learned that your application was accepted and that you will receive two to three years of funding?

I was so excited! It was like a "dream come true" moment for me as I have planned to write an NRSA even before I came back to UW. I was also pleasantly surprised that it came through the first round!

Do you have any advice/tips/suggestions for others who may apply to this opportunity? About graduate study in general?

Find a good team of mentors and don't be afraid to apply early! 

What do you hope to accomplish with the funding and/or while in the UW Psychology graduate program?

I would like to further develop my analytic and quantitative skills which hopefully will enable me to pursue a research-oriented career in clinical psychology. 

What do you like doing in your spare time?

Spare time? huh? 

The last book and/or movie you saw and enjoyed?

"The King's Speech"

What you plan to do once you complete your PhD?

I still think that I would like to become a full time researcher. 

Supplemental Reading:

International Fellowship Recipient Scores Big

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) pre-doctoral fellowship is one of the few funding opportunities for international doctoral students who conduct research in biomedical-related fields. With so few fellowship or funding opportunities for international students who study in the United States, the HHMI is highly coveted. Just this past year, the UW participated in the HHMI's inaugural award process and three out of the 10 UW students nominated received HHMI awards.  Our own Jeff Lin won one of these awards and will receive three years of support (stipend, tuition waivers, health insurance, plus educational allowance). Jeff is a graduate student in our Cognition and Perception program working with Geoffrey Boynton in the Vision and Cognition Group.

Let's start with the basics, where are you from and where did you complete undergraduate and masters degrees?

I am from British Columbia, Canada, and received my Masters in Cognitive Psychology from the University of Washington in 2009.

Jeremy Luk
Photo:  Jeff Lin

How did you wind up at UW--why did you apply here? What do you think about living in Seattle?

As an undergraduate at a conference, I was once asked why I was doing PhD level work without getting any credit for it. After that, associate professors Geoffrey Boynton and Scott Murray gave me a chance to work with them at the UW towards a PhD degree. 

What is your research interest and how did you get into it (what inspires/motivates you)?

My research interests vary every few years but are often related to visual attention; in terms of inspiration, there are rare scientists you meet sometimes who can make a big impact not only in their field, but across multiple fields. I want to one day do the same. 

How did you learn about your funding opportunity and tell us about the application and waiting process?

Funding opportunities are very rare for international students, so I was quite surprised when I received an e-mail from Jeanny Mai and the Psychology Department about the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Fellowship. My supervisors Drs. Geoffrey Boynton and Scott Murray supported my decision to apply but we first had to be nominated by the Graduate School at the University of Washington before we were able to submit official materials to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Like all fellowships and scholarships, you do not hear a decision until many months later, so the waiting process flew by.

How did you feel when you learned that your application was accepted and that you will receive two to three years of funding?

Simply put, being a student fellow of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute is an honor. The financial stability is a perk, but the biggest reward to me was the confirmation and reassurance that my research was a valuable and worthwhile contribution to the academic community. One of the most exciting aspects of this fellowship is that it also funds me to visit the headquarters of the institute and network with the members--this is not a trivial ordeal as the Howard Hughes Medical Institute consists of over a dozen Nobel Prize Laureates!

Do you have any advice/tips/suggestions for others who may apply to this opportunity? About graduate study in general?

Follow every little instruction! In the feedback following the applications, it turns out a majority of applicants were disqualified for not following basic instructions. Regarding advice for graduate study in general, you could probably write a book series and not touched upon all the tips. I have often said that I was lucky in graduate study and academia in general; however, people misinterpret this as "Jeff does not work hard." My point is that you can have great ideas in science but they may not pan out; however, if you keep working harder than the next scientist, you will give yourself more opportunities where you will get lucky and you will get a big result. Everyone in academia is intelligent, but hard work and persistence is what separates the great scientists from the pack. A senior scientist once told me that the success stories in academia are not about the smartest scientists, but the most persistent ones.

What do you hope to accomplish with the funding and/or while in the UW Psychology graduate program?

I will be using the funding to wrap up my projects at the University of Washington and transition to the next phase of my career. I recently received some industry offers to work for video game developers, so I may pursue that as a career; alternatively, I have received some post-doc offers to remain in academia. I hope that in my time remaining at the University of Washington, I can collaborate with as many people as possible and build some lasting relationships regardless of where I am in the future.

What do you like doing in your spare time?

I enjoy basketball, volleyball, and play a loooooottttt of video games. There's a secret room in Guthrie where graduate students can take a break from the grind and play some video games. That's where you can find me and Bjorn! (Bjorn was featured in a separate article for receiving a National Science Fellowship.)

The last book and/or movie you saw and enjoyed?

The movie "Up." Made me cry in the first 10 minutes.

What you plan to do once you complete your PhD?

Right now it's up in the air. I have been working at a video game developer called Valve Software for the last half of my PhD, and I may pursue a career in the video game industry; or, I may continue the academic path.

Supplemental Reading:

The Diversity Science Specialization: Benefiting its Recipients and the Populations Served

Through the work of the Diversity Steering Committee, the Psychology Department has offered a Diversity Science specialization (est. 2008) designed to enhance graduate training for psychology students. Completing the specialization helps students understand how the experiences of diverse populations can be utilized to advance the student’s major area of study and cultivates an understanding of the relationship between diversity and psychological issues.

This past year, Jennifer Wang from Social Psychology and Personality and Eric Pedersen from Adult Clinical both earned specializations to enhance their PhD training. To understand the impact the specialization has had on students’ training, we asked these recent recipients how they benefited and/or improved their world knowledge on diversity.

Clinical student Eric, who is now on internship at the San Diego VA (substance abuse/PTSD track), considers the training invaluable. He comments, “The diversity specialization was a nice complement to the training I received through the clinical psychology program here. A focus of my training has been on attainment of cross-cultural competencies in clinical practice. On internship, I strive to create a supportive and culturally-sensitive environment for individuals from all backgrounds to openly discuss aspects of their cultural, ethnic, religious, sexual, and gender identity. ” By obtaining the specialization, Eric Pedersen feels more confident that he can engage clients from diverse backgrounds to cultivate relationships conducive to positive clinical practice.
Eric Pedersen
Jennifer Wang In addition to aiding clinical practice, Jennifer Wang believes the specialization has also enhanced her own line of research. She adds, “I think the specialization has also given me the confidence to know that I have gotten the appropriate breadth of knowledge on diversity within psychology and also in other fields, and has encouraged me to learn more about how to incorporate psychology and diversity as a long-term goal.” For Jennifer, the specialization has served as a catalyst for the cultivation of long term research goals on diverse populations. Overall, both students agree that obtaining the Diversity Science specialization has greatly enhanced their graduate training.

We look forward to awarding more specializations in the future, to stretch the thinking of our students and to have our students better serve the populations they seek to help.

Supplemental Reading:

Bolles/Wagner Providing Support to Grads

Psychology Graduate Students will find themselves seeking funding assistance for conference/research travel and dissertation research support. The Department is fortunate to have two fellowships available to financially support our industrious students.

Bolles Fellowship

The Robert C. Bolles Graduate Fellowship (est. 1995) was created when Dr. Bolles made an $111,000 donation to the University of Washington. Dr. Bolles joined the UW in 1966 and remained with the Psychology Department until his passing in 1994. He earned degrees in mathematics while at Stanford University (BA 1948, MA 1949) before completing a PhD in psychology at the University of California-Berkeley in 1956. He held academic positions at Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Hollins College prior to the UW. The estate of his second wife, Yasuko H. Endo, also contributes to the Bolles Fellowship. The Psychology Department is grateful for Dr. Bolles' pioneering contributions to the study of psychology and to his and his wife's continuing legacy in supporting psychological research.

Wagner Endowment

The Ned Wagner Memorial Endowment (est. 1969) assists in the professional development of clinical psychology graduate students.  Dr. Wagner received a BA from Long Island University (1951) and completed his MA/PhD at Columbia University (1952 and 1956).  He held appointments as clinical psychologist and instructor while at various institutions, including the U.S. Army, University of Georgia, and Bard College.  Dr. Wagner joined the University of Washington in 1962 as Professor of Psychology and Obstetrics/Gynecology and served as Director of the Clinical Psychology Training Program from 1970 until his passing in 1978, a week after receiving the UW's Distinguished Teaching Award. The Psychology Department and its clinical students are indebted to Dr. Wagner and his endowment for supporting their academic progress.

Perspectives from Recent Recipients of Bolles/Wagner funding

Tom Soare
Photo:  Tom Soare

Tom Soare, Animal Behavior

"The Bolles fund paid for station fees and supplies for my participation in the 2011 Ant Course outside Tucson, AZ. The Ant Course is a 10-day course for graduate students focused on ant biology, especially taxonomy and systematics.  The majority of the ant course was spent using different methods to collect ants in the field, mounting the specimens (as in a museum collection), and identifying the specimens to the genus and species level – sometimes a difficult task with over 300 species found locally! Another major benefit of participating on the Ant Course was discussing common research interests with the top ant biologists in the world. I hope to use additional Bolles funds toward field experiments on army ant nest site selection behavior (my main research interest) this summer at La Selva Biological Station in Costa Rica."

The attached photo is me pausing during an excavation of a nest of Myrmecocystus mexicanus, aka the honey pot ant, in Rodeo, NM during Ant Course 2011.

Tamara Spiewak Toub
Photo:  Tamara Spiewak Toub - small thank-you gifts for preschoolers

Tamara Spiewak Toub, Developmental

"I am very grateful for the Bolles research fund, which has allowed me to pursue my interests in the potential developmental benefits of pretend play.  More specifically, I have been studying the relation between pretend play and executive function in preschoolers.  This research was initially funded by a grant awarded to Dr. Stephanie Carlson, who was my secondary advisor.  Since Dr. Carlson's (and her grant's) departure from UW, Bolles funding has helped to support crucial components of my research, such as recruitment, parking for participating families, and small thank-you gifts for the preschoolers."

J. Oliver Siy, Social Psychology and Personality

"Racial disparities continue to exist in America. Race-conscious policies (e.g., affirmative action) designed to remedy these disparities are often met with resistance by White Americans. Central to their argument is the belief in colorblindness, or the idea that American society is now beyond race (i.e., post-racial) and that racial categories only remain as artificial labels that work to obscure people’s individuality. My dissertation explores how the way Americans see themselves—as unique individuals, separate and distinct from their social groups—leads them to endorse such s colorblind approach.

With the help of Bolles funds, I was able to begin collecting data for my dissertation using Amazon’s MTurk. Amazon’s MTurk is an online service that allowed me to survey Americans throughout the United States. This service is particularly useful because it allowed us to collect high quality data quickly and at an inexpensive rate. To collect data using Amazon’s MTurk, I programmed an online questionnaire using Qualtrics software (www.qualtrics.com). Afterward, I advertised this survey on Amazon’s MTurk. To participate in the study, users around the United states simply followed a link posted on Amazon’s MTurk website where they would be directed to complete the online questionnaire. Using this service, I gathered data from more than 200 participants in less than a week's time. Using MTurk, we were able to explore how the way Americans see themselves relates to how they think about race. Our data show that the more Americans view themselves as unique individuals, the more they viewed acknowledging the existence of different racial groups as counterproductive to a harmonious society."

A number of clinical students received Wagner funding in support of their conference travel. Most recently, the Psychology Department was well-represented by our students and faculty in Toronto at the 45th Annual Convention of the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies. Among the UW attendees was Haley Douglas (first year clinical student with Mary Larimer), who was winner of the Graduate Student Research Award through Mindfulness & Acceptance Special Interest Group (SIG) for her research paper entitled "Cardiovascular response to a laboratory stressor in substance abusers after treatment with mindfulness-based relapse prevention."

Supplemental Reading:

Graduate Accomplishments

Spring quarter 2011

The following students were honored at the 40th Annual Psychology Research Festival on June 1, 2011 at the Waterfront Activities Center:

View from WAC

Distinguished Teaching Award for graduate students winners - Cory Secrist and Tamara Spiewak Toub
Photo:  Distinguished Teaching Award for Graduate Students - Cory Secrist and Tamara Spiewak Toub

The Distinguished Teaching Award for graduate students, given for outstanding service and excellence in teaching, went to Cory Secrist and Tamara Spiewak Toub.

The Distinguished Service Award for their contribution to graduate training by developing, administering, analyzing and presenting the 2010 Psychology Graduate Student Mentorship Survey went to Rick Anthony Cruz and Kelly Koo.

The Graduate Student Service Awards honoring graduate students who have consistently demonstrated service to the Psychology Department as a whole, and to the graduate student community in particular, went to Kelly Koo, Alec Scharff, and Tom Soare.

Gradaute students Caglar Akcay and Kristie Fisher were officially recognized for receiving the Hunt Fellowship for their independent dissertation research, which was covered in a previous article.

Distinguished Service Award winners - Rick Anthony Cruz and Kelly Koo
Photo:  Distinguished Service Award - Rick Anthony Cruz and Kelly Koo

ALCOR Graduate Fellowships are supported by an endowment created by Harry Peterson and his wife Clare. The ALCOR is intended to temporarily relieve outstanding students from TA or RA responsibilities, allowing them time to carry out tasks to further their academic progress.  For 2011, we awarded four ALCOR fellowships to Peter Alderks, Rick Anthony Cruz, Lauren Graham, and Alec Scharff. Past articles about the ALCOR can be found here and here.

Graduate students Ben Drury and Lori Wu Malahy, along with faculty advisors Cheryl Kaiser and Kevin King, authored a publication in Social Psychological and Personality Science. (2011). Nonverbal Asymmetry in Interracial Interactions: Strongly Identified Blacks Display Friendliness, but Whites Respond Negatively. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 2, 554-559.

Alcore Fellowship winners - Peter Alderks, Rick Anthony Cruz, Lauren Graham (not pictured), and Alec Scharff
Photo:  Alcor Fellowship recipients - Peter Alderks, Alec Scharff, Rick Anthony Cruz, and Lauren Graham (not pictured)

Marissa Corona received a 2011 American Psychological Association Student Travel Award. This award helped her travel to the APA Convention in Washington, DC, in August to present her research.  She is a Child Clinical student with Ana Mari Cauce.

Diane Logan was awarded the prestigious Graduate School Presidental Dissertation Fellowship. The purpose of the fellowship is to relieve graduate students of their teaching duties or other employment not directly related to the dissertation in order that they may devote their full time to finalizing the dissertation. Diane can use this fellowship during one quarter 2011-12.  Her advisor was Alan Marlatt and is now Mary Larimer.

Jen Gerdts received the Gatzert award from the University to fund her dissertation research. The Gatzert Child Welfare fellowship was established in the 1930s by the Bailey and Babette Gatzert

Hunt Fellowship winners - Caglar Akcay and Kristie Fisher
Photo:  Hunt Fellowship recipients - Caglar Akcay and Kristie Fisher

Foundation for Child Welfare to promote education for “the better care and treatment of children suffering from defects, either physically or mentally.”  This one-quarter fellowship will support doctoral dissertation research in the field of child development with special reference to children with disabilities.  Jen is currently completing an internship with the UCLA-based Tarjan Center Clinical Training & Services. Geri Dawson is her advisor.

 

Congratulations to our Spring quarter 2011 Master's recipients: Jessica Chen (Adult Clinical with Ronald Smith), Janie Jun (Adult Clinical with Lori Zoellner), Ashley Maliken (Child Clinical with Lynn Fainsilber Katz), Lou Nemec (Cognition and Perception with Susan Joslyn), J. Oliver Siy (Social Psychology and Personality with Sapna Cheryan), Jay Stafstrom (Animal Behavior with Sean O'Donnell), and Josh Tabak (Social Psychology and Personlity with Sapna Cheryan).

The following students completed their general exams and advanced to candidacy for the Ph.D. in Spring 2011: Andrew Fleming (Child Clinical with Bob McMahon), Jared LeClerc (Cognition and Perception with Susan Joslyn), and Adrienne Sussman (Animal Behavior with Jim and Renee Ha).

Bob McMahon and Susanne P. Martin Herz
Photo:  Bob McMahon and Susanne P. Martin Herz

Susanne P. Martin Herz (Child Clinical with Bob McMahon) successfully defended her dissertation entitled, "Quality of Life and Its Predictors in Adolescents after General Traumatic Injury" on April 21, 2011. Susanne completed her fellowship in Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at Seattle Children's Hospital in early summer. She was a recipient of the "Ethics Prize for Graduate Students" from the Program on Values in Society, Department of Philosophy at the UW. The award was for her work on "Ethical Considerations in Postinjury Research in Children and Adolescents."  This award is given to a graduate student seeking to introduce serious consideration of normative ethics into their descriptive academic work.  The goal of these grants is to encourage interdisciplinary discussion of ethics as an aspect of empirical research. She continues to serve as Co-Founder/Treasurer to House of Stone, a non-profit organization which supports Zimbabwean artists, raises awareness of the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa, and supports African children affected by HIV/AIDS. More information on House of Stone was featured in a past newsletter article which can be found here.

Our other Spring 2011 PhD graduate was Clara Wilkins (Social Psychology and Personality with Cheryl Kaiser), who was covered in the Summer 2011 issue of the newsletter. She is now an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Wesleyan University.

 


Summer quarter 2011

Amanda K. Gilmore (Adult Clinical) received a grant from the UW Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute’s Small Grant Program.  Her project is “Reducing Sexual Assault Risk and Alcohol Use in College Women.”  The results from her study will be used to incorporate alcohol reduction programs into sexual assault risk reduction programs.  Her advisor is Bill George.  http://tinyurl.com/ADAI-Gilmore

Diane Logan (lead author, Adult Clinical with Mary Larimer) and Kevin King’s research on heavy drinking was picked up by the Seattle PI, KUOW, and the Reuters news service, among others. The study showed that some people continue to drink heavily because of perceived positive effects, despite experiencing negative effects such as hangovers, fights and regrettable sexual situations. According to participants in the study, boosts of courage, chattiness and other social benefits of drinking outweigh its harms, which they generally did not consider as strong deterrents.  The findings offer a new direction for programs targeting binge drinking, which tend to limit their focus to avoiding alcohol’s ill effects rather than considering its rewards.

Samantha Yard (Adult Clinical) received the APA Division 18 Criminal Justice Section Outstanding Student Award. The award was presented at the Criminal Justice Business meeting at the APA Conference in Washington, DC on August 5, 2011.  Her advisor is Jane Simoni.

Robyn Laing (Behavioral Neuroscience) was awarded a predoctoral trainee position on the National Eye Institute’s Vision Training Grant. The appointment began in September and provides support for a minimum of four quarters with the possibility of up to three years of support.  Her advisor is Jaime Olavarria.

Jennifer Wang (Social Psychology and Personality) was lead author on “When the Seemingly Innocuous’ Stings’: Racial Microaggressions and Their Emotional Consequences,” that was published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin XX(X) 1–13. Janxin Leu and Yuichi Shoda are co-authors.  Their research clarified how perceptions of subtle racial discrimination that do not necessarily involve negative treatment may account for the “sting” of racial microaggressions, influencing the emotional well-being of racial minorities, even among Asian Americans, a group not often expected to experience racism.  http://www.nwasianweekly.com/?s=jennifer+wang

Doctoral student Cara Kiff (Child Clinical) and faculty member Liliana Lengua's research on parenting styles was featured in UW Today. “We hear a lot about over-involved parents.” said Liliana Lengua. “It is parents’ instinct to help and support their children in some way, but it’s not always clear how to intervene in the best way. This research shows that parenting is a balance between stepping in and stepping out with guidance, support and structure based on cues from kids.”  The study shows how parents can use their child’s personality and temperament to decide how much and what type of help to give. For some kids, particularly those who have trouble regulating their emotions, more help is good. But for kids who have pretty good self-control, too much parental control can lead to more anxiety and depression.”

Cara Kiff, psychology resident at the UW School of Medicine, is the lead author. Lengua and Nichole Bush, postdoc at University of California-San Francisco, are co-authors.  The study was published online August 1 in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology. “Kids’ anxiety, depression halved when parenting styled to personality,” http://tinyurl.com/Lengua-3.  It has been covered by MSNBC, TIME’s Healthland blog, US News & World Report, Babble (parenting blog), and in Jezebel (popular culture for women).   The lead author, Cara Kiff, was interviewed on Canada AM, Canadian version of the Today Show.

Ben Drury (Social Psychology and Personality with Cheryl Kaiser) was an organizer for the inaugural Pacific Conference on Prejudice and Culture that took place in Bellingham, in August. This graduate student-organized conference brought together social psychology faculty, postdocs, and students from UW, Western Washington University, University of British Columbia, and Simon Fraser University.  The one day event consisted of student presentations, a faculty panel, and networking opportunities.

The following students completed their general exams and advanced to candidacy for the Ph.D. in Summer 2011: Safia Jackson (Adult Clinical with Mary Larimer) and Adrianne Stevens (Adult Clinical with Ronald Smith).

Our PhD graduates from Summer 2011 are:

Caglar Akcay, an animal behavior student mentored by Mike Beecher. His dissertation, “Field studies on the song sparrow society” was defended on June 13 to a crowded room. He is currently a postdoctoral associate (behavioral ecology) at Cornell University with Dr. Janis Dickinson.

Behavioral Neuroscience student Andrew Bock’s dissertation “Investigation into the neuroanatomical sources that influence diffusion tensor imaging measurements” was defended on June 9 with Jaime Olavarria serving as his committee chair and faculty mentor. Andrew is a postdoctoral research associate in Dr. Ione Fine’s lab at the University of Washington.

Lauren Elder, from our Child Clinical track, presented her dissertation “The Relationship between Parent Training and Parent-child Interaction in Autism,” also on June 9. Her advisors while in our program were Drs. Geraldine Dawson, Annette Estes, and Liliana Lengua. Lauren completed her required internship at UCLA Semel Institute and continues at UCLA as a postdoctoral scholar fellow in the Neuropsychiatric Institute with Dr. Andrew Leuchter.

Cognition and Perception student, Kristie Fisher, successfully defended her dissertation “Analogical Integration of Semantic and Arithmetic Relations in Mathematical Word Problems: Evidence from Event-related Brain Potentials” on June 23. Her advisor was Miriam Bassok. Kristie is working at Microsoft Studios as a user researcher.

Julia Hitch (Child Clinical, with Bob McMahon) presented her dissertation “Male and female conduct problem trajectories: What are they and how do they relate to childhood risk and domains of adult functioning?” the previous summer 2010 before completing her one-year required internship at UCLA Semel Institute. She officially graduated with her PhD in summer 2011 and is a clinical fellow at Evidence Based Treatment Centers of Seattle, PLLC.

Gareth Holman was mentored by Robert Kohlenberg while completing our Adult Clinical program.  His dissertation defense took place August 4, “Development of Brief Relationship Enhancement.”  His year long internship was at American Lake Veterans Affairs.  Gareth is currently building his private practice while serving as a fellow at Evidence-Based Practice Institute/PracticeGround.

Jane Simoni and Keren Lehavot
Photo:  Jane Simoni and Keren Lehavot

Keren Lehavot, an Adult Clinical student with Jane Simoni’s lab, defended her dissertation "Minority Stress, Coping, and Health among Sexual Minority Women” in summer 2010 before completing her internship at VA Puget Sound Health Care System. She graduated in summer 2011 and is a postdoctoral fellow at the VA Puget Sound, Seattle Division.

Rebecca Schacht’s dissertation “Women’s sexual behavior, attitudes, and alcohol-related sex risk following sexual assault in childhood, adulthood, or both” was defended in spring 2010 prior to her begining a year long internship at VA Maryland/University of Maryland, School of Medicine. Her faculty advisor was Bill George.  Rebecca completed the Adult Clinical program and graduated in summer 2011.  Rebecca is currently a research postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

Cognition and Perception student Alec Scharff, successfully defended his dissertation “Effects of divided attention on perceptual capacity for contrast, words, objects, and shapes” on August 10. His committee chair and mentor has been John Palmer. Alec is at the University of Texas at Austin, where he is a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Alex Hux at the Center for Perceptual Systems, College of Liberal Arts.

J Summer 2011 Graduates
Photo:  2011 Hooding PhD Attendees

Autumn quarter 2011


Haley Douglas received the Graduate Student Research Award from the Mindfulness and Acceptance Special Interest Group of the Association of Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT).  She will be honored at the 2011 ABCT conference in Toronto where she will present results from a study investigating the effects of Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention on hemodynamic reactivity in substance abusers.   The research was in collaboration with the Lustyk Women’s Health Lab at Seattle Pacific University and the UW Addictive Behaviors Research Center.  She is a first year Adult Clinical student with Mary Larimer and Bill George as her advisors.  She is also a researcher with Kathleen Lustyk, Affiliate Associate Professor.

Rick Cruz was awarded a predoctoral National Research Service Award (FD31) from the National Institute of Drug Abuse. His project is "Acculturation, Family Context, and Mexican Origin Youth Substance Use Risk Across Time".  He is a fifth year Child Clinical student with Kevin King as his advisor. Learn more about Rick here.

Jeremy Luk received a predoctoral National Research Service Award from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.  His project is "Developmental pathways to alcohol and drug use across European and Asian American Youth."   He is a Child Clinical student with Kevin King as his advisor. Learn more about Jeremy here.

Erin Ward-Ciesielski, (Adult Clinical with Marsha Linehan), received a predoctoral National Research Service Award (F31) from the National Institute of Mental Health for her project "Brief Skills Training for Suicidal Individuals." Learn more about Erin here.

Lori Wu Malahy (Social Psychology and Personality with Yuichi Shoda) and Josh Tabak (Social Psychology and Personality with Sapna Cheryan), both received a diversity travel award to attend the 13th annual SPSP Meeting which will be held January 26-28, 2012, in San Diego, California

[Students who complete their Master’s degrees, general exams or defend their dissertation in Autumn 2011 will be included in the Summer 2012 e-newsletter]

Mexican Youth Substance Use Research Funded by NRSA

Rick Cruz, a fifth year student in Child Clinical, recently received an NRSA through the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Rick's project is titled,  "Acculturation, Family Context, and Mexican Origin Youth Substance Use Risk Across Time." His primary advisor is Kevin King. A brief introduction of the NRSA is provided in another article.

Rick Cruz
Photo:  Rick Cruz

Let's start with the basics, where are you from and where did you complete undergraduate and masters degrees?

I’m from Tucson, Arizona, and I completed my bachelor of science at the University of Arizona.

How did you wind up at UW/--why did you apply here? What do you think about living in Seattle?

My path to UW was serendipitous. I originally wanted to work on depression treatment research, and I applied to many programs all over the country with this as my focus. UW was the only child clinical focused program that I applied to, and Dr. Cauce was the only mentor that I applied to work with focusing on cultural and community psychology. During the application process I thought, “Seattle, that would be cool,” and I was really interested in the work that Dr. Cauce was involved in.

During interview weekend, I was only here for a short time and did not get to see much of Seattle. So I drove up from Arizona to start the program, and did not really know what to expect. I still remember driving into the city on I-5 and seeing the downtown skyline set against the backdrop of an August sunset. From that moment, I knew I was going to enjoy my time here. I have loved living in Seattle so far.

What is your research interest and how did you get into it (what inspires/motivates you)?

My research interests revolve around understanding the role of cultural, familial, and peer factors as they relate to ethnic minority youth substance use (and other behavior problem) etiology. I began working with Dr. Kevin King, my primary advisor, towards the end of my second year, and that is when I began developing my interest in youth substance use development. My dissertation will examine pathways from family cultural dynamics to youth substance use via disrupted family functioning.

The main reasons that I am interested in these topics are, first, my interest in culture, and the pervasive but often little recognized role that it plays in human psychology; and second, because of my passion for social justice and my desire to help reduce ethnic minority health disparities.

How did you learn about your funding opportunity and tell us about the application and waiting process?

I learned about the NRSA from Richard Nobles, PhD, my labmate who has since graduated. He was awarded an NRSA during his time in the program, and we often discussed the pros and cons of applying for this funding mechanism.

I applied for the NRSA before the start of my fourth year. I spent the summer mostly focused on the application (I was also working as the Clinic Teaching Assistant), and finding ways to keep myself motivated to write the many different pieces of the application. I was not sure I was going to get funded the first time around, so I resubmitted my application in time for the next application due date. I got the comments back from the review committee and wildly worked to revise the application in two weeks to get it in. The waiting process is long. I tried not to think about it too much while I was waiting to get my score back after the committee meeting.

We have it very good in our department because many students have been awarded an NRSA. There are lots of people to talk to about how to approach this process, and people who will understand the good and the not so good parts of applying. I got help and support from my peers in the department, as well as from my advisors.

How did you feel when you learned that your application was accepted and that you will receive two to three years of funding?

It felt great when I learned that I would be funded. I was proud of my work, and very, very thankful for the support that I had gotten up to that point.

Do you have any advice/tips/suggestions for others who may apply to this opportunity? About graduate study in general?

Talk with students who have applied, and get their thoughts on the grant application process. They can also be helpful in terms of providing examples of what the different parts of the application are supposed to look like.

When you are completing the application, ask your advisor (or whomever is your grant sponsor) for help when you need it. They want you to succeed and should be able to help you during the process.

Talk with the Program Officers at the institute that you are applying to at NIH (for example, I applied to the National Institute of Drug Abuse) very early in the process. They will provide you with a lot of information about the application and give you some feedback regarding your developing ideas about your research proposal. In addition, they can also help you out in determining the best combination of sponsors/co-sponsors, key personnel, and recommenders—the mentorship team that you assemble and your recommendation letters are a very important component of NIH’s application evaluation process.

Grant applications, and graduate school in general, are part of a long process. It is important to take a step back from the day-to-day aspects of the research process and reflect on why you are passionate about your research interests. I think this helps to keep you motivated through some of the more challenging times. In addition, real life is important. Don’t give up on doing things you enjoy—keep reading for pleasure, exercising, socializing, etc. These will keep you sane as you progress through graduate school.

What do you hope to accomplish with the funding and/or while in the UW Psychology graduate program?

I hope to accomplish a meaningful dissertation project. I am trying to address questions that have been discussed in the literature for over 30 years, but have never been formally tested. That’s pretty exciting. I also look forward to continuing to gain clinical experience and trying to help people improve their lives in that way.

What do you like doing in your spare time?

Reading, running, playing soccer, watching UW and University of Arizona sports, seeing friends, hiking, trying to create art, and learning to play the guitar and piano.

The last book and/or movie you saw and enjoyed?

Book: "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close"
Movie: It’s not an actual movie, but I’m addicted to the TV series "Lost" right now. Finishing up the final season.

What you plan to do once you complete your PhD?

First and foremost, World Cup soccer in Brazil 2014.

After some South American travel, I will hopefully start a job in an academic or research focused Children’s Hospital setting that allows me to balance a research program with some involvement in clinical work, including treatment development.

Supplemental Reading:

Research Fellow Studies Suicide Intervention

Erin Ward-Ciesielski is an Adult Clinical student studying with Marsha Linehan. She recently received a predoctoral National Research Service Award (NRSA) from the National Institute of Mental Health for her project "Brief Skills Training for Suicidal Individuals." A brief introduction of the NRSA is provided in another article.

Let's start with the basics, where are you from and where did you complete undergraduate and masters degrees?

I'm from South Bend, Indiana, and did my undergrad work at Indiana University South Bend.

How did you wind up at UW--why did you apply here? What do you think about living in Seattle?

UW was one of the few places that would let me do research on suicide, so it was an easy decision to apply here.

What is your research interest and how did you get into it (what inspires/motivates you)?

I study suicide, specifically developing and evaluating interventions for suicidal individuals.  My interest in the field began in undergrad when, in my 101 class, I filled out a questionnaire about facts and myths related to suicide and became incredibly excited about the topic.  Later that night I found out that a friend from high school killed himself and there was really no turning back after that.

How did you learn about your funding opportunity and tell us about the application and waiting process?

The application process was very prolonged.  Each step after deciding to apply and then submitting involved waiting for some period of time.  The most stressful delay was between finding out my score and finding out the actual funding decision three months later.

How did you feel when you learned that your application was accepted and that you will receive two to three years of funding?

Relieved.  It felt like such a long wait and by that point I was ready to start the project instead of just talking and writing about it.

Do you have any advice/tips/suggestions for others who may apply to this opportunity? About graduate study in general?

Applying is definitely worth all the work and all the waiting.  The ability to devote a huge portion of your time to your own research program makes doing a large or complex project possible.

What do you hope to accomplish with the funding and/or while in the UW Psychology graduate program?

I'm running a randomized controlled trial for the project, so if I can accomplish that, it will be a success.

What do you like doing in your spare time?

Watching TV, reading, walking

The last book and/or movie you saw and enjoyed?

Last movie: "In Time"

Last book: "The New York Regional Mormon Singles Halloween Dance," by Elna
Baker

What you plan to do once you complete your PhD?

I haven't entirely decided yet, but supervising and working with students will definitely be a part of it.

Supplemental Reading: