Newsletter Article

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.

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.

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,”  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]