D.C. Semester Highlight: Gabrielle Lirosi

Gabrielle Lirosi ’24 is spending a semester participating in the Lutheran College Washington Semester (LCWS). Gabrielle originally hails from Jackson, New Jersey and is a current junior at Roanoke College. She majors in Psychology with a minor in Sociology and a concentration in Crime, Deviance, and Social Control.

I interviewed Gabrielle to learn more about what she’s doing during her semester away!

Lirosi visiting The View of D.C. in Arlington, Virginia

This spring, Gabrielle is working for Offender Aid and Restoration (OAR) as a Post-Release Intern. OAR works to “create a community where those impacted by the legal system enjoy equal civil and human rights.” Gabrielle’s team specifically works with people who have recently been released from incarceration to help them transition back into the community.

Describing her work, Gabrielle says, “some days I am booked with appointments working with our participants to find housing, arrange community service, build job applications, practice interviews, and so much more!” Her team communicates with probation/parole officers, group home mentors, and family members of participants to help build their support system. Gabrielle also frequently attends court to stay up-to-date with participants and share OAR resources with recently-released individuals.

Positively impacting people’s lives while gaining high-level professional experience is an average day for an LCWS student. This semester, Gabrielle has been assigned the designated point-person for a large project in which OAR is assessing their recidivism rates.

Gabrielle Lirosi walks through the Federal Triangle

Gabrielle is putting her psychology background to work in the professional world! She says psychology students must consider participating in LCWS.

“So many focus on DC as the capital only seeing politics and ignoring the social sciences that reside in such a complex society! I’ve applied endless amounts of psychology work into analyzing the culture of DC and understanding my work at OAR! There are ample opportunities for any major, including psychology.”

According to Gabrielle, the networking and mentoring opportunities available for all students in D.C. are invaluable.

Gabrielle Lirosi ’24 with roommates Sierra Smith (Augustana University ’23. left) and Natalie Webster (Roanoke College ’25, right)

When she isn’t in class or working at OAR, Gabrielle is soaking up the culture of the nation’s capital! She loves making spontaneous plans with her roommates (pictured above). “There has never been a dull moment exploring the city,” she says, but it’s easy to find peace and quiet in one of D.C.’s many parks.

When I asked Gabrielle what her favorite memory from the semester so far is, she said, “seeing the cherry blossoms at sunrise was surreal, they are a token of DC and are in peak bloom right now.” But the famous cherry blossoms are tied with the interactive art of the Artech House for most memorable to Gabrielle.

Want to learn more about LCWS? Visit https://www.washingtonsemester.org/ or contact Dr. Todd Peppers (peppers@roanoke.edu) for more information!

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Psych Students at President’s Ball 2023

On Saturday March 18th, Roanoke College students, faculty, and staff gathered at the Cregger Center for the annual President’s Ball. The college community had a blast dressing up and dancing. This year’s event was notable as the first President’s Ball during the term of President Frank Shushok.

Many psychology students were spotted enjoying the evening. Enjoy these pictures of #PsychRC at Roanoke’s biggest night of the year!

Allyson Herriges ’23 (left)
Maryam Nishtar ’23 (second from right)
Megan onofrei ’24 (front row, second from left)
Sophia Contini ’24 (middle)
Timothy Hoffstaetter ’24 (second from left)
Kristi Rolf ’23 (left)

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D.C. Semester Highlight: Megan Onofrei

Megan Onofrei ’24 is spending her semester in the U.S. capital by participating in the Lutheran College Washington Semester (LCWS) program. A junior from Mesa, Arizona, Onofrei majors in Political Science with a minor in Psychology. Outside of the classroom, she plays defense for Roanoke College Women’s Soccer.

Megan Onofrei ’24 enjoys time on the National Mall

The Lutheran College Washington Semester allows Roanoke students to live and study in Washington D.C. while gaining professional experience through an internship. Onofrei is currently interning at the Normandy Group, a government relations firm.

Onofrei describes her internship as “well organized but also flexible and highly interactive.” Interning at the Normandy Group, Onofrei is “involved in all aspects of the firm’s responsibilities” but she notes that “I also retain the opportunity to attend Congressional hearings or networking events throughout the day that are related to the clients and projects that I am a part of.” This keeps her days “exciting and busy!”

Onofrei and roommate Jocelyn Snader ’24 attend the Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing

Onofrei’s time in D.C. has been saturated with politics, but her psychology studies have been relevant throughout. She says,

“the concepts that I have learned about in Social Psychology apply directly to the interactions that I have with work colleagues or other professionals. On a larger scale, I have seen the reality of psychological phenomena that is a driver for certain decisions made by Congress.”

The Washington semester is open to students from any major, and any type of internship can can be completed for credit! Onofrei says “psychology students should definitely consider participating in the Washington Semester because there is a lot of networking and interpersonal interaction available here!” This experiential learning and career experience will set any student apart as they prepare for graduate school or the workforce.

Onofrei and fellow LCWS students on a field trip the the Library of Congress

Professional experiences abound at LCWS! On a recent LCWS field trip, Onofrei and other students toured the Library of Congress, pictured above. Onofrei has also attended hearings of the House Oversight Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee. She says, “I have plans to sit in a Supreme Court Oral Argument later on in the semester, an opportunity that I am extremely excited for!”

Outside of the work day, LCWS provides ample opportunity to explore the nation’s capital. Onofrei has enjoyed exploring monuments and memorials, taking in the architecture of D.C., and hitting up the culinary scene by trying new coffee shops and restaurants. But her favorite recreation so far has been visiting D.C. suburbs like Alexandria and Georgetown, “it is very relaxing to walk along these long brick-lined streets, full of shops and beautiful architecture.”

Want to learn more about LCWS? Visit https://www.washingtonsemester.org/ or contact Dr. Todd Peppers (peppers@roanoke.edu) for more information!

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Psych Students Elected to Phi Beta Kappa

Last week, two Psychology majors were elected to join Phi Beta Kappa, the country’s oldest and most prestigious academic honor society. Seniors Allyson Herriges and Caroline Powell were recognized for outstanding achievement in the liberal arts and sciences.

To be eligible for membership in PBK, college students must complete a wide berth of coursework beyond requirements for their major, study a language and math or statistics, and be determined to have good moral character. Read more details about membership requirements here!

Phi Beta Kappa nominees from the 2022/2023 school year will be inducted at a formal ceremony on May 5th 2023, the day before commencement.

Congratulations Allyson and Caroline! The psychology department is proud to recognize your achievement and wishes you the best of luck after graduation.

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Job Opportunity: Strategic Therapy Associates

Attention upcoming graduates and recent alumni! If you are seeking employment that would lead towards licensure and are enthusiastic about working with children and families, Strategic Therapy Associates has position openings you may be eligible for.

Strategic Therapy Associates provides family therapy services to at-risk children and their families across Central and Southwest Virginia. We have offices in Lynchburg, Farmville Richmond, Danville, Halifax, Martinsville, Roanoke, Lexington and Wytheville, Virginia. They are seeking candidates who have completed or will soon complete a master’s degree in Counseling, Social Work or Marriage & Family Therapy.  All clinicians offered employment must be able to register as a Resident in Counseling, Resident in Marriage & Family Therapy or Supervisee in Social Work with the VA Board of Health Professionals to receive clinical supervision towards professional licensure as an LPC, LMFT or LCSW.

They use a Strategic Family Therapy systems approach in our work with clients and are seeking therapists who are interested in learning solution-focused interventions.  Applicants should be interested in working with at-risk children and families in their homes where they will learn how to uncover the family’s strengths and abilities to solve their own problems, where our therapist motivates clients to implement positive changes. All therapists receive extensive training and weekly supervision.

Here is a link to the company page and a list of open positions:


REU Opportunity: Paid Summer Research in Missouri

Looking for something to do with your summer? You can get paid while conducting research and building a competitive CV for grad school applications! The University of Missouri is hosting a Paid Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) this summer. Read on for details about the program and how to apply!

Scientific Study of Interpersonal Relationships Across the Lifespan

The scientific study of interpersonal relationships over the lifespan is important to our broader understanding of the human experience.  These relationships begin with our earliest interactions and continue well into later life, and through them we learn how to communicate with, trust, and support others, as well as handle conflicts and negative interactions. These relationships are also studied through a variety of different social and behavioral science disciplines, including psychology, human development, family sciences, and interpersonal communication.  Increasing interdisciplinary insights into how close relationships and human social networks function and impact well-being across the lifespan is important to consider in training the next generation of scholars.

The University of Missouri (MU) is hosting a new National Science Foundation REU Site* centered on the scientific theme of Close Relationships.  This nine-week on-campus summer program (8 students per summer) is centered on the interdisciplinary, lifespan developmental, and diverse nature of the scientific study of close relationships.  This REU site will take advantage of the collaborative and interactive research environment fostered by the Family and Relationships Research Network of Missouri (FARR-net) at MU.  Each undergraduate will be mentored by a primary FARR-net-affiliated faculty member from the departments of Communication, Human Development & Family Sciences, or Psychological Sciences, to design a project related to one or more primary close relationships (i.e., parent-child, sibling, friends, romantic/marital partners) from a developmentally-informed perspective. 

Who should apply?

Rising sophomore, junior, or senior undergraduates with interests in close relationships research and graduate study in any relevant social and behavioral science degree program from across the U.S. are eligible for the program.  We are particularly interested in reviewing applications from students who may not have strong research opportunities at their current institutions, as well as students who are either first-generation college students or students with minoritized identities.

How should students apply?

Applicants must complete an online application at the link below by Friday, March 31, 2023, as well as submit a CV or resume, an unofficial transcript, a one-page (250 words) description of the student’s educational and career goals, and one letter of recommendation (ideally from a faculty member at their current institution).

Application website: https://undergradresearch.missouri.edu/interpersonal-relationships-summer-research-program/

What does the program include?

The REU program site will cover admitted students’ travel to and from the University of Missouri, as well as campus lodging and meals for the entire 9 week program (Tue 5/30 – Fri 7/28, 2023).  Students will also earn a stipend of $600 per week ($5400 over the course of the summer) while participating approximately 40 hours per week in: 1) research with an individual faculty member in their area of expertise, 2) participating in weekly seminars on close relationships, as well as other areas of professional development (e.g., graduate school application preparation, competitive fellowship funding), 3) opportunities to present the research conducted, and 4) social programs sponsored by the MU Office of Undergraduate Research along with students from other on-campus summer research experiences.

QUESTIONS? Contact program coordinator, Dr. Nicole Campione-Barr, campionebarrn@umsystem.edu

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