Category Archives: Student Highlight

Psi Chi Inductions 2018

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Congratulations to the new members of Psi Chi!

On March 13th, 2018, the psychology department held their Psi Chi Induction Ceremony. Thirty-four students were inducted this semester into Psi Chi, the international honor society for psychology and one of the largest honor societies in the United States.

Following lunch, Dr. Findley-Van Nostrand began the ceremony by making the opening remarks. Students were then given their certificates and the nominations for the new executive board for Psi Chi were held. Dr. Osterman ended the ceremony by leading the recognition of the outgoing and incoming executive boards.

Pictures of the new members of Psi Chi followed the conclusion of the ceremony, including:

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Students who were not able to attend the ceremony but are new members of Psi Chi are as follows:

  • Ciprianna O. Azar
  • Alexander J. Glando
  • Elizabeth Q. Helminski
  • Jeanette L. Kurtic
  • Logan E. Miner
  • Hannah Pfeffer
  • Jeanne M. Skulstad
  • Natalie M. Slemp
  • Allison L. Smith
  • Thomas E. Thomas
  • Kestrel Thorne-Kaunelis
  • Caroline G. Wagoner
  • Taylor C. Ward
  • Griffith E. Wood
  • Emily A. Wright

In order to be accepted to Psi Chi as an undergraduate student, one must:

  • be enrolled as a major or minor in a psychology program or a program psychological in nature
  • have completed at least 3 semesters or equivalent of full-time college coursework
  • have completed at least 9 semester credit hours or equivalent of psychology courses
  • have earned a cumulative GPA that is in the top 35% of their class (sophomore, junior, or senior) compared to their classmates across the entire university or the college that houses psychology (minimum GPA of 3.0 on a 4-point scale)3
  • have a minimum 3.0 GPA average for psychology courses

Some of the benefits include:

  • International recognition for academic excellence in psychology.
    • Distinguished members can be found here, including Albert Bandura, B. F. Skinner, and Philip G. Zimbardo.
  • Over $400,000 are available annually in awards and grants.
  • Psi Chi’s Career Center
  • Free access to three publications:
    • Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research
    • Eye on Psi Chi
    • Psi Chi Digest

For more information, follow this link to the official Psi Chi website.

Congratulations again to our new members of Psi Chi! They’ve worked hard and we look forward to seeing what they will do in the future.

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Congratulations to Molly Zydel!

Molly Zydel ’19, courtesy of Dr. Powell

Congratulations to Molly Zydel ’19 for being awarded the Mamie Phipps Clark Diversity Research Grant!

Zydel will use this grant towards funding her Distinction Project, titled “Perceptions of Foster Care Youth’s Academic Identity: Comparing Reports from Foster Parents and Former Foster Care Youth.” Specifically, she will be using the grant in order to offset the costs of compensating participants for their time.

She has been a member of Dr. Powell’s research lab since fall 2016.

Zydel also went to Thailand as part of Dr. Powell’s May Term last summer. You can read about the trip here.

The Mamie Phipps Clark Diversity Research Grant was founded in honor of Mamie Phipps Clark. Graduating in 1943, Clark was the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in psychology from Columbia University.

As such, this grant is awarded to Psi Chi students and faculty advisors who are seeking to study diverse populations and issues.

For more information about the research grant, click here.

Congratulations again to Molly Zydel! We’re proud of you and look forward to learning about the results of your Distinction Project!

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Students Present at the Academy of Human Resource Development Conference

Riker Lawrence ’20 (left) and Kaitlin Busse ’18 (right) presented two posters at the Academy of Human Resource Development conference in Richmond, VA, this past week..

Congratulations to Kaitlin Busse ’18 and Riker Lawrence ’20 for their successful poster sessions at the Academy of Human Resource Development (AHRD) Conference in Richmond, Virginia!

Part of Dr. Powell’s lab, Busse and Lawrence presented two posters on their findings from researching work-life balance and perceptions of organizational climate and job satisfaction in employees from the United States and the United Kingdom.

The conference began on Wednesday, February the 14th, ending on the 18th. AHRD, a global organization, focuses on “leading human resource development through research.” 

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Student Publication & Updates

Last semester, students from Dr. Nichols lab published a paper titled “Exploration of Methodological and Participant-Related Influences on the Number of Artifacts in ERP Data.”

Under the direction of Dr. Nichols, Ms. Stephanie M. Shields and Ms. Caitlin E. Morse conducted a study in order to see how the number of trials needed to collect enough data for Event-related Potential (ERP) could be minimized through the reduction of artifacts.

Typically, this type of research requires a number of trials in order to collect enough data. Oftentimes, several of these trials have to be discarded as a result of artifacts, or errors.

Shields, Morse, and Nichols focused specifically on the connections between “the number of trials that have to be eliminated due to artifacts and a set of methodological variables, physical considerations, and individual differences.”

To read more about what they found as a result of their research, follow this link to the original article.

Related: Ms. Shields was awarded a Fulbright grant to return to Germany to study bat vocalizations and vocal learning in Munich, Germany from September 2017-July 2018. Prior to this, she spent a summer in Hamburg, Germany through the German Academic Exchange Service Research Internship in Science and Engineering. While there, she completed a research project with Ph.D. student Signe Luisa Schneider on electroencephalography (EEG), learning, and memory. (To find out more about this latter project, follow this link.) Shields also completed over three years of research in the psychology department and had other articles published as well. She graduated with a major in psychology, a concentration in neuroscience, and a minor in German. She plans on earning a Ph.D. in Neuroscience.

Related: Ms. Morse currently works as a Licensed Nursing Assistant at Portsmouth Regional Hospital in New Hampshire. Graduating from Roanoke College with a degree in Kinesiology and Exercise Science in 2017, she followed this by attending the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences where she completed a Bachelor of Science degree in order to become a registered nurse. While at Roanoke College, she worked as a research assistant in the psychology department for around three and a half years, starting in 2013. She has also participated in two other published articles through Dr. Nichols lab, alongside Ms. Shields and other students. Her Linked In account can be found here.

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An Interview with Victoria Preston

The following is a transcription from an in-person interview with Victoria Preston at Fruitions where a student assistant was able to talk with her about her research and internship experiences at Roanoke College and Blue Ridge Behavioral Healthcare.

Victoria Preston ’17, presenting her findings at the recent Psychology Poster Session

Can you tell me a little about yourself? (Such as interesting hobbies and your favorite color?)

I’m a psych major. I don’t think I have any interesting hobbies. I like animals and my favorite color is green.

What kind of classes are you taking this semester?

This is my last semester, so I’m at the very end of what I need to be taking. I’m taking a seminar course [for psychology], and then I’m taking a sociology class because it’s interesting to me. I [also] work for Dr. Powell on a research lab.

How do you like seminar?

It’s kind of challenging just because you’re working in a group to come up with a project. Most of the groups are four people, [but] we’ve got three, so it’s just kind of difficult to get everyone on the same page, to get everyone to meet on time, [and] to get the work done, but it seems to be going well so far.

How do you like Dr. Powell’s lab?

I  love it. This is my second year working for her, second semester I guess, and her lab is about an emerging adult study or doing something with adolescents. Last semester I just worked in helping other students with their research- I didn’t do anything of my own. (…) This year I’m doing my own study from a previous student’s and some of her work. I have someone working for me this time. So, (…) I really enjoy it and you get the experience of what working in a research setting would be and you get her attention to help with anything else that you need.

So, what are you doing specifically in the lab?

There’s a Roanoke College student who graduated last year who did a study on emerging adults and talking, ghosting, friends with benefits, that kind of relationship. I’m doing a secondary data analysis of her study. Dr. Powell and Dr. Friedman did a study on a ghosting, so I’m taking some of their information and putting it together and running my own analysis of it: dealing with if there’s a time frame, what blocking is, if we can accurately define what “talking” really means. [Talking is] different for every person. That’s basically what I am doing this semester.

In addition to working in the lab, you also completed an internship. Can you tell me about that?

I interned at Blue Ridge Behavioral Health Care in the Child and Family Services [Department]. I was toying with the idea of working with children and families and I wanted to intern at a place that was local enough to where I could potentially work there because I am from Salem. [Interning at Blue Ridge] was just the best option and was something I was vaguely familiar with.

What did you learn from your experience at Blue Ridge?

A lot of what I did there was observing group therapy or sitting in on family assessment planning. If there was a kid that needed some sort of services but couldn’t afford it, they would go to this board and make their argument for the government or organization to pay for it. What I learned was that there are a majority of people who need the help that Blue Ridge is giving but they can’t afford it. That was kind of surprising to me because you think “oh, you know everybody has insurance, that insurance just pays for it” but that was not the case. [I also] just figured out my own personal biases in working with kids because I still want to work with children – I eventually want to be family therapist. Maybe. Working with kids, you think it’s going to be one thing and then it’s an entirely different thing.

I did learn a lot about what it was like to work in an actual office setting, which was really important to me because the only other job I’ve had I was working at a jewelry store. That was just really interesting to me to just see how complicated the behind-the-scenes of mental health is and trying to get people the services that they need.

Were there any moments during your internship that really surprised or struck you?

Since there are children and family services in that building, I thought it was only going to be kids needing some sort of residential treatment or psychiatric testing but it’s anything that has to do with children. […] I’m not sure… There were a lot of interesting experiences that I never anticipated or expected to see.

How do you plan on applying what you learned in your internship to what you’d like to do in the future?

The reason why I wanted to intern at a local place was because I plan on applying for a job there, so basically just taking all of the things I observed and kind of deciding if that’s the path that I want to go down since I’ll only have a bachelors [degree]. You can’t really do a lot, so I’ll probably end up being a case-worker. Just taking the things that I saw and learned in my psych classes, counseling classes, or my abnormal classes- even some of my sociology classes. I’ve taken a lot of juvenile delinquency and behavior classes and the things I’ve learned in my classes [I’ve also] seen first hand. When you do an internship, you have to write daily reflections of what you did and how it applies to what you learned and I could apply 90% of what I saw [interning at Blue Ridge] to something that I learned in my classes.

What’s some advice that you have for students who want to complete an internship?

Definitely do it. If I hadn’t taken the internship, then I would have no idea where to go or where to apply. Experiencing something is good but also being able to network and having people that you can then go to or have them be a reference for [is good as well]. I only interned for two months, so you don’t have to have a long internship to get a full experience . You can just do it for a summer. I would tell everyone to do an internship if they can, especially if they are not a hundred percent certain- even they are a hundred percent certain, but maybe they [realize they] don’t like it that much.

Thanks Victoria for taking time to meet to talk about your research experiences and your internship with Blue Ridge. Congratulations on completing your degree!

For those interested in applying to an internship or wanting to know more about research opportunities, please contact Dr. Camac in the Psychology Department and/or Dr. Lassiter in the Biology Department.

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Charis Flamburis, The Goodtimes Project

Charis Flamburis 2015


Charis Flamburis ’15 was accepted as a counselor at The Goodtimes Project! How exciting!

“Each year over 13,000 children in the US are diagnosed with cancer. Camp Goodtimes was established in 1984 to provide a no cost camp environment for children affected by cancer where they can recapture the joys of childhood.”

Learn more about the project here:

Outstanding Junior Psychology Majors


Congratulations to Alexandra Grant, Diane Nguyen, Joana Peders, Christy Blevins, & Brandy Plouff. They received the award for Outstanding Junior Psychology Majors. This award is given to the junior student or students deemed by the faculty as having demonstrated outstanding academic achievement and potential for continued success in Psychology.

Congratulations Ladies & Keep up the good work!