Newsletter Section

Graduate Program

Welcome to the UW Psychology 2019 Cohort!

2019 Graduate Student Cohort
2019 Graduate Student Cohort

This past Autumn, 16 students began their doctoral studies in the University of Washington’s Psychology Department! Prior to joining the program, several of this group of students earned their undergraduate degrees from the UW and other institutions on the West Coast (UCLA, Pomona College, and Willamette University). Others in the cohort arrived at the UW from the East Coast (UPenn, UConn, Williams College, Colby College), the Midwest (Indiana University, Oberlin College, Ohio State, Northwestern, University of Minnesota, St. Olaf College, Notre Dame), and around the world (Yonsei University).

This promising group has already received several awards and fellowships, including University of Washington Top Scholar Awards, Psychology Department Scholar Awards, National Science Foundation Graduate Research fellowships, a Pigott Diversity Award, and a graduate student fellowship from Kuwait University.

Prior to the start of Fall Quarter, the 2019 cohort attended a blend of orientation events which included three days of a university-wide TA/RA orientation conference and three days of orientation specific to the Psychology Department. The departmental orientation was organized by this year’s lead TA, 5th year graduate student Melissa Gasser (Adult Clinical with Bill George and Mary Larimer). Highlights of the departmental orientation for students included meeting many department members including Jeanny Mai (Graduate Advisor), Cheryl Kaiser (Department Chair), and Sapna Cheryan (Director of Graduate Training), as well as research and teaching panels of faculty and current fellow psychology graduate students.  Students also enjoyed getting to know their cohort alongside other orientation events including presentations from university organizations and resources, such as UW Recycling and Hall Health Center Services.  

We are proud of the passion and accomplishments that they bring with them to the UW and look forward to seeing their future achievements!

Supplemental Reading:



NRSA Researcher Studies Emotion Regulation as Socialcultural Process

Megan Ramaiya
Megan Ramaiya

Megan Ramaiya (Adult Clinical Area with Jane Simoni) is our latest student to receive predoctoral funding through the National Research Service Award (NRSA) for her research on suicidal Nepali youth. The background of this research award was covered in a previous article. Learn more about Megan below!

Let's start with the basics: where are you from and where did you complete undergrad and masters?
I grew up in Macon, GA, but when I’m asked where “home” is, I'll usually say North Carolina or South Asia. I received my undergrad and master’s degrees from Duke (in Biology and Global Health).



Research Fellow Aims to Help Adolescents' Mental Health

Kevin Kuehn
Kevin Kuehn

Kevin Kuehn (Child Clinical Area with Kevin King) is our latest student to receive predoctoral (NRSA, or National Research Service Award) funding from the National Institute of Mental Health for his research on understanding and treating suicidal thoughts and behaviors in adolescents. The background of this research award was covered in a previous article. Learn more about Kevin below!

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

I’m originally from the suburbs of Detroit and went to Wayne State University (in Detroit) for my undergrad degree.

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

After undergrad, I landed a job as a research assistant in Department of Psychiatry at Brown University on a longitudinal study of youth diagnosed with bipolar disorder and also helped out on projects with youth hospitalized for suicide risk. There, I gained some experience in the assessment of suicidal behaviors as well as some familiarity with treatment development research as it pertains to youth at risk for suicide. There are few places in the U.S. where I could pursue that line of research, which led me to apply to the BRTC/UW.

Seattle is a great place to live with the proximity to the mountains, the great restaurants, and the many breweries. I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to live here. 

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

My research is focused both on understanding and treating suicidal thoughts and behaviors in adolescents. While in undergrad I volunteered for a lab at the University of Michigan that studies youth at risk for suicide which gave me some perspective on the problem. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in youth ages 12-19, but we still do not know who is most likely to be at imminent risk. Even worse, evidence-based treatments exist to treat suicidal thoughts and behaviors, but a large proportion of youth either can’t or don’t access them. I’m motivated to make a dent on these two problems.

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

I first learned about the NRSA through the BRTC, from my mentor (Kevin King), and from other grad students in the department. The application process is a slog and very tedious, but definitely worth it since it helps to organize your ideas and formulate a plan for your dissertation. A couple of other students in my cohort got together to brainstorm and set writing deadlines which was really helpful. I also received lots of feedback and encouragement from Kevin King and Melanie Harned which helped me to feel confident in ultimately submitting it.

How did you feel when you learned that your application was accepted and that you will receive funding?

I felt extremely relieved and overwhelmed. I was also excited to get started on the project and to actually do the research I spent so much time developing.

What is the name of your project and the funding source?

Employing ecological momentary assessment to study impulsivity, emotion regulation, and coping among youth at high-risk for suicide. It’s a National Research Service Award (NRSA) from the National Institute of Mental Health.

How might your research change the world?

I hope that we can better identify youth at imminent risk for suicide and connect them with evidence-based treatments. The ultimate goal would be to reduce the rate of youth suicide in the U.S. 

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

Work closely with your advisors or other people in developing your project and training plan. Talk with a program officer at NIH about the research they think is needed and evaluate whether your ideas and interests align. I also think persistence is a pretty big ingredient in success (and in graduate school). Most people have to apply more than once. After each round reviewers give you feedback on your proposal and (hopefully) suggest ways to improve. Take that advice very carefully and reapply since it’s likely to be a stronger application. Criticism is a part of that process.

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

Complete the study I proposed and then spend some time publishing papers and talking about the project. You know, try to be an academic. I’m excited to have more time to collaborate with some brilliant faculty members in the department.

What do you like doing in your spare time?
I challenged myself to run a marathon a few years ago and have since completed 6 of them (as well as a half marathon on Mt. Bachelor that was supposed to be a full but it turns out that running on a mountain is hard). Other than that, I’m excited to travel more with my husband and to continue exploring many of the breweries Seattle has to offer.

The last book and/or movie you saw and enjoyed?
I just watched The Command over the weekend and didn’t fall asleep, which is an indicator it was decent. It was based on a true story of a Russian submarine accident.

What do you plan to do once you complete your PhD?

Continue this line of research and pursue projects aimed at reducing the rate of suicide.

Supplemental Reading:


Updates from the Diversity Steering Committee

Diversity Steering Committee
Diversity Steering Committee

The Diversity Steering Committee (DSC) has new leadership for the 2019-2020 academic year. Adriana Germano (Social Psychology and Personality Area with Sapna Cheryan) completed her two-year term as a DSC co-chair this summer to focus on new and exciting research. New this quarter, Noah Triplett (Child Clinical Area with Shannon Dorsey) joined Terrence Pope (Social Psychology and Personality Area with Sapna Cheryan) as DSC co-chair. Together, Noah and Terrence share coordination and leadership of DSC’s many initiatives, along with this year’s faculty chair, Yuichi Shoda, Ph.D.

This Autumn quarter, we welcomed new and future graduate student members by presenting at the Psychology Department's new student orientation.

At our first meeting of the year, October 3, 2019, we laid the groundwork for this upcoming year. Our new and continuing DSC projects and initiatives include: administering the department diversity climate survey, coordinating campus-wide Allen L. Edward’s Psychology talks on diversity, integrating community service into DSC’s work and mission, and building the DSC community. You can look forward to hearing updates about these projects as the year progresses!

So far this Autumn, we hosted our first annual bowling night at the HUB! It was a nice opportunity for students to take a break from the stressors of graduate school, connect with one another, and enjoy a free round of bowling and slice of pizza. We also began hosting a department-wide “coffee cart” in Guthrie on Thursdays from 12:00pm to 2:00pm. It’s been a great chance to share our work, increase awareness of DSC activities/events, and advertise events featuring diversity around campus all while fostering connections between likeminded researchers. We hope you’ll join us for a complimentary cup of coffee or tea sometime soon!

Additionally, the Diversity Steering Committee has spent the quarter updating the recommended course list for the data science specialization, supporting the development of a psychology teaching group, collaborating with diversity groups in other departments to improve our climate survey, reviving the Diversity Science listserv, and forming a committee to pilot a new accountability measure that would allow us to follow up with graduate students comments on their experiences in the department.

The DSC looks forward to supporting graduate students in exploring diversity science in their coursework, research, teaching, and other domains of engagement within and outside the UW.  Please contact us at or join us on Slack for more information or to ask how you can be a part of one of our upcoming projects!

Supplemental Reading:


Graduate Accomplishments

Since our last newsletter, the following accomplishments have occurred in our graduate program:

Suzanne Lewis (Behavioral Neuroscience Area with David Gire) was selected to present her work on olfactory navigation as a part of the Society for Neuroscience Press Conference at the 2019 annual meeting.

Dominic Sivitilli (Behavioral Neuroscience Area with David Gire)'s research on octopus intelligence was featured in the UW Daily and on the NOVA website.

Adriana Germano (Social Psychology & Personality Area with Sapna Cheryan) and Prerna Martin (Child Clinical Area with Shannon Dorsey) were the inaugural recipients of the Pigott Diversity & Equity Fellowship and Sarason Fellowship for Graduate Students in Psychology!


Master's Degrees
Mariah Corey (Adult Clinical Area with Jonathan Kanter
Lily Durwood (Child Clinical/Developmental Area with Kristina Olson and Kate McLaughlin)
Jessica Glazier (Social Psychology & Personality Area with Kristina Olson & Cheryl Kaiser)
Gala Gulacsik (Cogntion & Perception Area with Susan Joslyn)
Max Halvorson (Child Clinical Area with Kevin King)  
Kevin Kuehn (Adult Clinical Area with Kevin King
Pete Rosencrans (Adult Clinical Area with Lori Zoellner)  


Candidate Status Achieved
Jessica Canning (Adult Clinical Area with Mary Larimer
Doris Dai (Social Psychology & Personality Area with Stephanie Fryberg)
Jessica Glazier (Social Psychology & Personality Area with Kristina Olson & Cheryl Kaiser)
Corbin Johnson (Animal Behavior Area with Noah Snyder-Mackler)
Miranda Johnson (Cognition and Perception Area with John Palmer)
Prerna Martin (Child Clinical Area with Shannon Dorsey
Krystal Parrish (Child Clinical Area with Lili Lengua


Doctoral Degrees 
Charlotte Brill (Adult Clinical Area with William George)  
Jose Ceballos (Cogntion & Perception Area with Chantel Prat)
Danielle Eakins (Adult Clinical Area with William George)  
Sarah Edmunds (Child Clinical Area with Wendy Stone
Elizabeth Enright (Developmental Area with Kristina Olson & Jessica Sommerville
Natalia Garcia (Adult Clinical Area with Lori Zoellner)  
Kyrill Gurtovenko (Child Clinical Area with Lynn Fainsilber Katz
Lizzy Karp (Child Clinical Area with Wendy Stone
Melanie Klein (Child Clinical Area with Lili Lengua
Connor McCabe (Child Clinical Area with Kevin King
Lizzie Neilson (Adult Clinical Area with William George)  
Erika Ruberry (Child Clinical Area with Lili Lengua
Roy Seo (Cogntion & Perception Area with Chantel Prat)
Frank Schwebel (Adult Clinical Area with Mary Larimer)