All posts by krrolf

Honors Defense: Kristi Rolf

Huge congratulations to senior Kristi Rolf who successfully defended her Honors in Psychology project on April 26th!

Kristi Rolf ’23 poses with her presentation after a successful defense

Kristi’s project was titled Sense of Purpose in College Students: Connections with Support and Descriptions of Purpose Development. During the defense, her advisor Dr. Findley Van Nostrand was joined by committee members Dr. Powell and Professor Chapman of the Modern Languages Department.

Kristi will be graduating with honors on May 6th 2023. Congratulations Kristi!

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Honors Defense: Skyler Pokorny

Huge congratulations to senior Skyler Pokorny who successfully defended her honors project on Wednesday April 26th!

Skyler Pokorny ’23 poses with her Honors in Psychology t-shirt after a successful defense

Skyler’s project was titled Experimental Manipulation of Self-Concept Clarity in Emerging Adults. During the defense, Skyler’s project advisor Dr. Findley-Van Nostrand was joined by committee members Dr. Allen and Dr. Berenson of the Religion and Philosophy department .

Skyler will be graduating with honors on May 6th, 2023. Congratulations Skyler!

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Spring ’23 Poster Session

It’s been a busy year as usual for RC Psych! On Thursday April 20th, the Psychology Department took over the first floor of Fintel Library for the Spring 2023 poster session! Students, faculty, and staff from across campus gathered to hear psychology students present their research and experiential learning experiences.

Scroll on for photos from the day and visit us on social media to congratulate our hard-working students!

Fintel Library buzzes with presenters
Seminar students present their project Effect of Mood on Recall: (L to R) Alex Jaklitsch, Anna Arnold, Lindsay Jones, & Haley Patterson, class of 2023.
Seminar students (L to R) Emma Kalinski, Amanda Nakdimen, Noal cheru, & Morgan Micallef present their seminar project titled Heart Rate Variability: Coherence Between Heart Rate and Breathing.
Seniors (L to R) Isabelle Mildonian, Ciara Fadeley, Taelor Quick, & Kynston Boyd present their seminar project titled Increased Desire for socialization with stronger Social Support and higher Need to Belong.
Seniors (L to R) Rhianna Chambers, Skyler Pokorny, Kelsey McCown, & Macallan Bonser present their research, Emerging Adults and Media.
Seniors (L to R) Kosovare Fetinci, Kristi Rolf, Logan Pasley, & Alexis Wright present their study titled Perceptions of Crime & Mental Illness.
Senior Kosovare Fetinci presents her independent study titled Friendship Dissolution and its Impacts.
Senior Lauryn Chappell (second from left) presents a study titled von Restorff Effect: examining perceptual memory recall accuracy of college students to Dr. Carter with team members Pete Nichols (left) and Ameen Oliver (right) .
Senior Morgan Kelly (left) presents her internship experience at H2 Health.
Seniors (L to R) Elayna Jennings, Sariah Steele, Huda Hashash, Maryam Nishtar, and Devin Brown present their study titled Effect of Task Difficulty and Anxiety on HRV.
Senior Selam Mekonnen presents her study titled The Impact of Pluralistic Ignorance on Gender Bias
Dr. Powell and Dr. Allen learn about student research.

It’s been a great year of research and experiential learning for RC Psych! We can’t wait to see how these students apply their skills in the future.

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Academic Awards in Psychology 2023

On Tuesday April 18th, the psychology department was proud to recognize the accomplishments of our fantastic students. In the annual ceremony, twelve students received special recognition for their achievements in psychology through eight awards, and Psi Chi the Psychology Honor Society inducted new members. Read on to learn about this year’s awardees!

Senior Scholar in Psychology

Skyler Pokorny, 2023 Senior Scholar in Psychology

The senior scholar in psychology is the student with the highest GPA in Psychology courses. Ties are broken by highest GPA across all Roanoke College Courses. Congratulations to Skyler Pokorny for winning the title this year!

Charles E. Early Award

Isabelle Mildonian (left), 2023 Charles E. Early Award Recipient. and Dr. Buchholz (right).

The Charles E. Early award is granted in honor of Dr. Charles E. Early, retired Professor of Psychology who taught at Roanoke from 1988-2015. The award goes to the student who best embodies Dr. Early’s love of learning, powerful work ethic, keen intellect, warm humor, and deep appreciation for pie. This year’s recipient is Isabelle Mildonian. Congratulations Isabelle!

Curt R. Camac Student Research Award

Devin Brown (left) and Kristi Rolf (right). Not pictured: Maryam Nishtar

The Curt R. Camac Student Research Award was developed to honor Dr. Curt R. Camac’s support of student research. This year’s recipients were Devin Brown, Maryam Nishtar, and Kristi Rolf. Congratulations to all!

Jan H. Lynch Human Development Concentration Award

Left to right: Dr. Findley-Van Nostrand, Caroline Powell, Kosovare Fetinci, and Dr. Powell.

The Jan H. Lynch Human Development Concentration award is granted to a student who has demonstrated excellence in the Human Development Concentration. This year’s awardees are Caroline Powell and Kosovare Fetinci. Congratulations Caroline and Kosovare!

Karl W. Beck Award

Allyson Herriges, 2023 Karl W. Beck Awardee

The Karl W. Beck award is granted to a student with demonstrated excellence in psychology. This year’s awardee is Allyson Herriges. Congratulations Allyson!

Outstanding Students in Neuroscience Concentration

Outstanding Neuroscience Students Jarod Le (left) and Allyson Herriges (left) with Neuroscience Concentration coordinator Dr. Nichols (center).

This award is granted to students who demonstrate excellence in the Neuroscience Concentration. Congratulations to the 2023 recipients, Jarod Le and Allyson Herriges!

Outstanding Junior Psychology Majors

Left to right: Reagan Middelthon, Hannah Pluim, Sophia Contini, and Brian Schwenk

Seven juniors were recognized for outstanding academic success and potential for continued success in Psychology. Awardees were (pictured above) Reagan Middelthon, Hannah Pluim, Sophia Contini, Brian Shwenk; and (not pictured) Elizabeth Bain, Ciara Fadeley, and Timothy Hoffstaetter.

Psi Chi Achievement Award

Psi Chi Achievement Awardee Kristi Rolf (left) & Psi Chi Faculty Advisor Dr. Kennedy-Metz (right).

The Psi Chi Achievement Award is granted to a Psi CHi member who has best exemplified excellence in scholarship, leadership, and service. Chosen by faculty members in Psi Chi, the 2023 awardee is Kristi Rolf. Congratulations!

Psi Chi New Member Induction

Spring 2023 inductees of Psi Chi

Psi Chi also inducted students who have met the academic qualifications for membership in the Honorary Psychology Honor Society. Congratulations to all new members!

It’s been a fantastic year for RC Psychology and we are so proud of our students! Special congratulations and best wishes to the Class of 2023 as they head off into their future endeavors post-graduation.

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Honors Defense: Allyson Herrigies

Huge congratulations to senior Allyson Herriges who successfully defended her honors project on Tuesday April 18th!

Allyson Herriges ’23 prepares to defend her Honors in Psychology project.
She is joined by her son, Andrew, who has a neurodevelopmental disorder.

Allyson’s project was titled Evaluating the Impact of Zofran Exposure on Embryonic Neural Development in Zebrafish Using a Multi-Method Approach. During the defense, Allyson’s project advisor Dr. Drea was joined by committee members Dr. Lassiter and Dr. Kennedy-Metz.

Below is the abstract from Allyson’s paper:

“Ondansetron, commonly known as Zofran, is commonly prescribed as an antiemetic to pregnant females experiencing severe morning sickness. Zofran is often only given when the mother’s malnutrition poses a much greater risk to the fetus than exposure to the drug. While the drug may cause morphological abnormalities in development, relatively little has been done to examine gene expression changes. In this study we identified four genes (shank3a, shank3b, gabra1, and hgma2) with important links to neural development and, using Danio rerio, evaluated the expression of these genes after embryos were exposed to Zofran in the early stages of development. We also looked at behavioral development, including tail-flips, startle response, and optical response. Preliminary qPCR analysis has shown dysregulation in the specified genes. Embryos exposed to Zofran at laboratory levels showed a significant increase in tail-flipping at 28hpf, with a downward trend correlating to exposure level. These findings may offer insight into potential correlations to neurodevelopmental disorders, like autism spectrum disorder and ADHD, in children of mothers who used the drug while pregnant, and in turn allow doctors to better treat these conditions.”

Allyson will be graduating with honors on May 6th, 2023. Congratulations, Allyson!

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Why Psych? Psychology Week 2023

April 23-29 2023 is Psychology Week, a campaign from the American Psychological Association (APA). In honor of the week, we are highlighting some of the amazing people in the Roanoke College Psychology Department.

We asked two students and a faculty member to share their answer to the question, “Why Psychology?”

Timothy Hoffstaetter ’24

Timothy Hoffstaetter ’24, Psychology Major

Why psychology?

I choose to study psychology because of my passion for helping and uplifting others. Being educated on this subject allows for me to help others live their best and truest life. I also want to shoutout my sister because even though she is not in the field of psychology she inspires me every day to live my life by helping people. 

Dr. Christopher Buchholz

Dr. Christopher Buchholz, Associate Professor of Psychology

Why psychology?

I was drawn to psychology in a search for an answer to big questions like, What is consciousness? Do we have free will? How can we best live happy and meaningful lives? What I love about psychology and the human experience is that I am still learning new answers to these questions. I find joy in that search as well as in sharing what I have learned with others. 

Allyson Herriges ’23

Allyson Herriges ’23, Psychology Major (right) and her son (left)

Why psychology?

I chose to study psychology because I’m the mother of an autistic child. Through my studies I’ve been able to develop a better understanding of the disorder and have become a better parent as a result. I hope to spend my life researching the neurological basis of autism while also helping families like my own navigate the world, and make it a more autism-friendly place.

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Dr. Buchholz Selected for Dean’s Exemplary Service Award 2022-2023

Congratulations are in order for Dr. Buchholz who received the Roanoke College Dean’s Exemplary Service Award last week.

Dr. Christopher Buchholz

The annual Dean’s awards are granted based on nominations from the college community and include awards for exemplary teaching professional life, and service.

“The Dean’s Exemplary Service Award recognizes outstanding faculty service – either at Roanoke College or in the larger community – in ways that advance the mission of the College in seeking to develop students as whole persons and prepare them for lives of purpose and meaning.  Professional service may involve many factors, such as the number, quality, range or focus of service activities; honors or awards received from off-campus organizations; and the time invested relative to the time available for service activities.”

The announcement from the Dean last week highlighted the incredible dedication Dr. Buchholz shows to the College through service:

“This year’s Dean’s Exemplary Service Award recipient (…) lives and breathes Roanoke College and models to others [the] pillar of service. He currently serves on —count them–nine different college-wide committees, task forces, and groups, along with being a Faculty Marshal. This doesn’t even count the myriad service opportunities he participates in within his department.” 

Dr. Powell, Interim Chair of the Psychology Department, stated: “In each of these endeavors, he is thoughtful – considering the needs of the students and the resources of the college; is reliable – if he says he’s going to do it, he does it in an exceptionally timely manner; and is diligent – ensuring all facets are accounted for and completed appropriately.” 

Another colleague commented: “I have also observed (…) him being a stabilizing agent – consistently working to consider, respect, and understand various perspectives on a range of issues, and modeling such behavior not only to students, but also to junior faculty who are themselves striving to serve students.” 

The psychology department is proud to have Dr. Buchholz on our faculty. His dedication has impacted countless colleagues and students and we can’t thank him enough. Congratulations, Dr. Buchholz, and thank you for your service to our community!

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Honors Defense: Devin Brown

Huge congratulations to senior Devin Brown who successfully defended her honors project on Tuesday April 11th!

Devin Brown ’23 poses with her Honors in Psychology t-shirt after a successful defense

Devin’s project was titled The Pen is Mightier than the Brain: the Cognitive and Social Psychology Behind the Handwriting Legibility Effect. During the defense, Devin’s project advisor Dr. Carter was joined by committee members Dr. Kennedy-Metz and Dr. Brenzovich.

Below is the abstract from Devin’s paper:

The handwriting legibility effect suggests that the quality of handwriting can affect the grades that are assigned to student papers. There are both cognitive and personality based theories that give a basis for why this occurs, but there is a lack of cohesive research testing subcomponents of these theories. This research is a controlled experiment designed to fill this gap in the current literature.  To understand how handwriting quality contributes to evaluator perception of author competency, warmth, and similarity, these personality components were considered. For cognitive components, effort to read the essay, truthfulness of the answer, and complexity of the argument were studied. All of these were affected by the quality of handwriting the participants were exposed to except complexity. This research can be used in future studies to find and apply practical solutions to bring more equality in classroom settings for students that may have worse handwriting for a number of reasons. 

Congratulations, Devin!

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The Nutshell Games!

On Tuesday April 11th, three students from Dr. Kennedy-Metz’s psychophysiology research seminar went head-to-head in The Nutshell Games. Students had 90 second to communicate their current research project “in a nutshell” to a diverse audience of students and faculty from a variety of disciplines.

Morgan Micallef ’23

Undergraduate research is a key part of the Psychology Department’s mission. Every psychology major will conduct research in their senior seminar and more than 1 in 3 students are involved in a research lab each year.

Dr. Kennedy-Metz had a mission to teach her seminar students the importance of science communication through a fun and challenging lesson. I spoke with her about how the nutshell games came to be.

“I’ve always felt that the more high-profile (and potentially impactful) someone’s research becomes, the worse they are at communicating why it’s so important to the world.  Science communication is an essential skill that often doesn’t come naturally to us, and, to make matters worse, is chronically under-trained.  So, I felt a responsibility to emphasize the importance of science communication to students at an early stage in their career. ”

“I invited Dr. Patty Raun, Director of Virginia Tech’s Center for Communicating Science, to lead an improv day in my Research Seminar class, encouraging students to step outside of their comfort zone, embrace vulnerability, and communicate freely and meaningfully.”

Devin Brown ’23

“The goal of the subsequent Nutshell Games competition was for students to put this training to the test, and see how well they could communicate their semester-long projects in succinct, accessible terms to a non-specialist audience.  They had 90 seconds to share their research and convey its importance to the larger community, all while being judged by staff and faculty from 5+ departments across campus (including Chemistry, Psychology, Fine Arts, Music, Public Health, and Health and Human Performance).”

 Winning speaker AJ Palmer ’23 (center) is joined by team members Zoë Dunlap ’23 (left) and Allyson Herriges ’23 (right)

Dr. Kennedy-Metz invited students, faculty, and staff from a variety of backgrounds to simulate the real-world challenge of communicating science to people from a variety of backgrounds.

“One of my goals in gathering such a diverse group of staff and faculty was to showcase how difficult it is to distill a body of work and still communicate it effectively to audience members with such diverse backgrounds, along with the relevance and importance of doing so.  In the future, I hope to expand the scope of the Nutshell Games at Roanoke College to include competitors from across departments.”

We can’t wait to see how this competition grows in future years!

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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 or contact Dr. Todd Peppers ( 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 or contact Dr. Todd Peppers ( 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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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:

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,

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New Disabilities Studies Concentration

This year, Roanoke College has expanded their academic catalog by launching a new concentration in Disability Studies.

“the concentration was designed with an interdisciplinary approach that reflects the truth that disabilities are woven into every aspect of society.” –Roanoke College

The interdisciplinary team of faculty directing the concentration include Dr. Teresa Milbrodt, Assistant Professor of English & Communication Studies; Mrs. Frances McCutcheon, Lecturer in Biology; and Dr. Andréa Burchfield, Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology.

Required courses for the concentration focus on disability theory, the lived experience of people with disabilities, elective units, and a capstone consisting of an internship or independent study.

Dr. Burchfield shares that Disability Studies “prepares students for careers in the human services where they are likely to encounter people with disabilities.” Students who aim to attend graduate programs for special education, occupational therapy, speech and language pathology, and applied behavior analysis will especially benefit from completing the concentration.

Dr. Andréa Burchfield, Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology, Coordinator for Disability Studies

The concentration is also aimed at providing students with disabilities at Roanoke College a means to “better understand themselves, their disability communities, and what to expect from the world at large, while also deepening their support network here on campus.”

Prior to teaching at Roanoke College, Dr. Burchfield worked in the field by providing behavior therapy, disability education and consultation, and disability accommodation training. Her past research focused on children with autism.

She says,

“I’m motivated to educate students about disabilities after years of witnessing the systemic isolation, negative stigmas, and obstacles to accessing services that people with disabilities face. People without disabilities lack a general awareness about the challenges the disability community faces; I’d like to reduce that gap in awareness.”

Through disability studies, Dr. Burchfield hopes that students will create “positive changes for people with disabilities on campus and in their communities” and that current and prospective Roanoke students with disabilities will benefit from a stronger sense of community and belonging on campus.

The Psychology Department is excited that this valuable field of study is now represented on campus.

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Lecture Today!

Psychology students are invited to attend the lecture titled “Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience in the Era of Big Data” hosted by the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC. On February 9th at 5:30pm, Damien Fair, PA-C, Ph.D. will be speaking on this topic.

The lecture will be broadcast on Zoom and is free to attend! Click here to join the webinar.

Read on, or visit the event page for more details!

“Developmental cognitive neuroscience is being pulled in new directions by network science and big data. Brain imaging (e.g. functional MRI, functional connectivity MRI), analytical advances (e.g. graph theory, machine learning), and access to large computing resources have empowered us to collect and process neuro-behavioral data faster and in larger populations than ever before. The clinical and translational potential from these advances is unparalleled, as a better understanding of complex human brain function is best grounded in the onset of these functions during human development. Here Dr. Fair examines the state of developmental cognitive neuroscience in the era of networks and ‘big data’ and highlight the solid footing we can take forward into future discovery and real world applications.”

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Fall ’22 Poster Session

On Thursday December 8th, the Roanoke College community gathered to see psychology students present their latest research and internship experiences. This event is held at the end of every semester and always draws a crowd. As usual, Fintel library was packed with students, staff, and faculty alike to celebrate the hard work of driven psychology students.

Scroll through the photos below to see how our students enhance their learning beyond the classroom!

Fintel buzzes with excitement as students present research and internships
Dr. Findley-Van Nostrand and students listen to a presentation.
Kelsey McCown and Devin Brown speak about their recent internships.


Psychology students love research! Senior seminar, honors in the major, and independent studies are just a few of many ways students conduct research under the supervision of faculty. These experiences are all presented at the poster session as seen in the pictures below.

Seminar students (left to right) Avery Jackson, Jackson Shumate, James Orphanos, Lindsay Jones, and Casey Bowles present their capstone project.
Seniors (left to right) Daniel Jewell, Morgan Bamrick, Kirra Eveland, Madison Dorn, and Allison Verbeke present their capstone project.
Seminar students (left to right) Sadie Wallace, Karen Kohler, Caroline Powell, and Mia Clary present their capstone project.
Maryam Nishtar presents her project conducted with Dr. Nichols, Physical Changes in the Brain as a Function of Clinical Dementia Ratings in Women with Alzheimer’s Disease.
Jarod Le presents his research conducted with Dr. Nichols titled Decoding the Temporal and Spatial Frequency of Time Varying Stimuli Points to Utility of Complex Cells.

HNRS 260 Projects

This semester, Dr. Findley-Van Nostrand taught an Honors-260 course titled The Psychology of Aggression. For their final project, students in the class worked in groups to create informational brochures or flyers summarizing practical applications of the topic they studied throughout the semester. In this course, students from a variety of academic backgrounds learned about the discipline of psychology and its applications.

HNRS 260 students present Psychopathology in Crime and Drug Use
HNRS 260 students present their brochure on intimate partner violence.
HNRS 260 students present Gender Differences in Aggression.
HNRS 260 students enjoy pizza while sharing their brochure about psychopathy in children.


Many students also shared the workplace experience they gained through internships during the summer or school year. A broad range of internships qualify for academic credit and prepare students for the workforce after graduation.

Morgan Michallef presents her fashion internship at Amiee Lynn in Manhattan
Logan Pasley presents her work at Youth Connect
Devin Brown presents her work at Mainstream Mental Health in Roanoke, VA

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What is APA?

You may recognize the acronym APA as the citation style psychology students use to write papers. But who or what is APA and what do they do? This post is APA 101: a beginner’s guide. The American Psychological Association has a wealth of resources you should be taking advantage of as a student and professional. Read on and click the underlined links throughout this post to explore how APA can serve you!


The American Psychological Association is a professional organization representing the field of psychology in the United States. Founded in 1892, today’s APA has more than 13,000 members who are professionals and students connected with the study and practice of psychology (source).

(Important note: APA could also stand for the American Psychiatric Association, a similar group which focusses on the related field of psychiatry. Try not to mix them up!)


Let’s start with the basics for college students: citations. As a student, you will use APA style for papers and projects for class. If you conduct research in undergrad, graduate school, or during your career, you will publish your findings using APA guidelines. All current American psychology research is published and presented in APA format, so it is important to understand it so you can read the latest findings in the field.

But APA citations aren’t just standard in psychology. This style is also widely used in other social sciences as well as the fields of engineering, nursing, and business.

Luckily the APA’s website has a guide for using this style. This page features sample papers, helpful tips, and instructions for formatting your work and citing your sources. Bookmark the guide so you can find it for your next project!

Psychology Student Network (PSN)

Are you an undergraduate student who loves psychology but is looking for direction? Click here to find the latest edition of Psychology Student Network (PSN), the APA’s publication just for undergraduates.

PSN articles discuss topics such as available jobs with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, undergraduate research, and tips for applying to grad school. Each bi-annual publication offers fresh content to guide you throughout your journey as a psychology student.

Grad School Hub

It’s no secret that many psychology careers require a graduate degree. If you are planning to attend graduate school, visit APA’s grad school page for information about finding and applying to graduate programs, and how to succeed once you get there.

Don’t forget to take advantage of the graduate program search tool as you prepare for the next step in your education.

Career Hub

If the student chapter of your life is coming to an end, APA is there to guide you through your career.

Start here with the career options guide to learn about potential careers in psychology. Then, read APA’s job search tips to guide you before diving into the job search tool to locate current job openings nationwide.


Last but not least, on to the fun stuff! APA has a number of resources to satisfy your curiosity about all the current topics in psychology.

Speaking of Psychology is a podcast hosted by Kim Mills, the APA’s senior director of strategic external communications and public affairs. Each episode, Mills interviews psychology researchers and practitioners to highlight new research and practices in the field. You can listen to the podcast on APA’s website, Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Stitcher.

To learn about the most pressing topics that connect psychology to everyday life, check out this hub of current issues featuring articles about the biggest themes in the field today.

Finally, you can read the freshest scholarly papers on APA’s current research page. Here you can stay current on the latest findings in psychology.

The biggest takeaway from this post? You should visit the APA website! Whether you are a student, researcher, professional or just someone who thinks psychology is cool, there’s something for everyone at APA

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Internship Highlight: Logan Pasley

How does a Roanoke College psychology student spend spend her summer? This year, senior Logan Pasley chose to intern at Youth Connect of Virginia, serving as a Mentor and Life Skills Provider.

Pasley originally hails from Penhook, Virginia and studies psychology with a minor in sociology at Roanoke. She recently began interning with Youth Connect in her hometown, an opportunity she pursued because “I have always wanted to work with children.” Additionally, Pasley’s goal was to learn more about the foster care system and how it can be improved.

Pasley works remotely for Youth Connect in a paid position while earning course credit, a great example of the wide variety of internship opportunities for psychology majors.

As Mentor and Life Skills Provider, Pasley develops a one-on-one relationship with young clients. When meeting a new client, she learns about their background and uses the Casey Life skills assessment to evaluate “life skills in daily living, self-care, relationships, communication, respect, education, work, etc.” Pasley uses this information to design and implement a six-month plan of action for each client.

Pasley’s work with clients is very hands-on. Each session, her job is “to plan a day in which the client is exposed to activities in the community. I allow my clients to choose a specific goal or task to get accomplished throughout the day and then take them to the most appropriate location to accomplish this goal.”

This work allowed Pasley to develop important skills. She says,

“I learned a way of communicating with individuals who struggle with trauma, mental illness, and grueling circumstances.”

After a full summer of working with Youth Connect, Pasley took the time to reflect on her growth and the impact she’s had on her clients. In what she describes as the most meaningful moment from her internship, Pasley’s was reunited with the first client she ever worked with. She remembers,

“the client’s face lit up when I walked into the room. Her DSS [Department of Social Services] worker added that the client found her voice through me and rediscovered her purpose.”

After her experience working with clients one-on-one, Pasley now wants to turn her attention to the legal system, focusing on “the structural issues that affect every individual involved with the legal system.” She says a change is overdue and is passionate about addressing unseen issues.

We can’t wait to see how Logan Pasley continues to change lives at Youth Connect and beyond!

Are you interested in completing your own internship as a psychology student? Visit the department’s internship page or contact Dr. Findley-Van Nostrand at

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William & Mary Masters Program Diversity Open House

Are you a current student interested in graduate school?

The College of William and Mary will be holding a Diversity Open House for their Masters Program in Psychology over Zoom. The Masters Program in Psychology is a 2-year research-focused program designed to help prepare students for admission to Ph.D programs. All Roanoke psychology students are encouraged to attend to learn more about the program.

The Open House which will be held on October 25th at 6:00pm EST. Click here to RSVP!

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Internship Highlight: Avery Jackson

The Roanoke College psychology department is always proud to recognize the work of our fantastic students. Today we are highlighting Avery Jackson who completed an internship this summer at Children and Family Associates in Roanoke, VA.

Avery is a senior from Yarmouth, Maine who is double majoring in Communications and Psychology. She shares that she was motivated to pursue this internship because “I knew I wanted to have a hand on experience with a counselor.”

While interning at Children and Family Associates, Avery was able to observe counseling sessions and discuss her questions and comments with the counselor afterwards. She shares what a typical day in her internship looked like: ” an average day would involve me going in at noon to debrief with my supervisor on the previous day. I would then sit in on the sessions each hour unless the client requested for me to not be present.”

This direct experience paid off since Avery says, “I wasn’t sure if I wanted to work with children, but after this experience I know that I want to pursue this career.”

I asked Avery to reflect on a meaningful moment from her experience. She shares that the most impactful memory occurred as she was wrapping up her internship:

“My supervisor pushed me to fill out the report for a new client. After meeting with this new client, my supervisor asked me what I would diagnose this patient with. I replied with what I thought the diagnoses would be and I remember a huge smile coming across her face. She told me she was so impressed and proud of me. She pushed and encouraged me the whole summer and made me realize that this is what I want to do, and I can do it.

Avery Jackson ’23

Avery’s work is an exciting example of the benefits of completing internships as a psychology student. We can’t wait to see what Avery does in the future and how her internship experience guides her career!

Psychology students who are interested in completing an internship can contact the department’s Internship Coordinator, Dr. Findley-Van Nostrand ( for more information.

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PLACE Senior Series Fall 2022

Calling all Seniors!

PLACE (Center for Purpose, Life, and Career Exploration) is hosting a Senior Series on Wednesday evenings to prepare Roanoke students for the job search and life as a recent college graduate.

Senior Series events are taking place on Wednesday evenings from 7:00-8:00pm. The sessions cover a variety of topics relating to professional development. Psychology students who are planning to entering the job market immediately after graduation will especially benefit from these events!

There are three topics remaining in the series:

  • Professional Interview Preparation
    • Oct. 5th (Pickle Meeting Room – Colket Center)
  • Professional Development: Dress and Act for the Professional Goals you Seek
    • Oct. 12th (Pickle Meeting Room – Colket Center)
  • Professional Transition: Using your Skills and Career Readiness
    • Oct. 26th (Fintel Library – Classroom 1)

Students can register to attend each event on Handshake or email Amy Foster ( for more information.

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Welcome Dr. Kennedy-Metz!

Dr. Kennedy-Metz

The psychology department is excited to welcome a new faculty member this year!

Dr. Lauren Kennedy-Metz graduated from Roanoke College with a B.S. in Psychology, a Creative Writing minor, and a Neuroscience concentration. She then went down the road to Blacksburg where she completed a PhD in Translational Biology, Medicine, and Health with a concentration in Neuroscience at Virginia Tech.

This year Dr. Kennedy-Metz has returned to her alma mater where she is currently teaching Introduction to Psychology and Cognitive Psychology, as well as serving as the faculty advisor for Psi Chi and RCPA.

When asked what brought her back to Roanoke, Dr. Kennedy-Metz shared that the Roanoke College Psychology Department was her “ideal scenario” for a work environment. She says the department is “where I learned the most about myself, my interests, my strengths as a student and as a human.” She adds that “it’s where I was afforded the opportunities to thrive through the encouragement of lifelong faculty members.” In addition, this native New-Englander shared that “the Roanoke area has always felt like home.”

Dr. Kennedy-Metz brings a unique research background to the department. She summarizes her work as follows:

“My research interests include characterizing psychophysiological indicators of acute stress and developing biofeedback-based approaches to stress management interventions.  Most importantly, I’m interested in taking a tailored approach to both of these things within specific high-stress populations both on campus and beyond (e.g., students, student-athletes, police officers, healthcare workers, kitchen staff, etc.).”

Dr. Kennedy-Metz says she became interested in this topic because the experience of stress is very relatable, but people are often left in the dark about how to respond to it appropriately. However, properly responding to stress is a critical topic, especially for the populations mentioned above.

Speaking to current psychology students, Dr. Kennedy-Metz encourages you to “get involved in things that interest them early on.” She recommends exploring research, clubs, club sports, internships, study abroad and anything else that catches your eye. When trying new things, Dr. Kennedy-Metz says, “worst case you learn that it isn’t for you, and you move on!” She closes with this sage advice. “If you push yourself outside of your comfort zone and end up finding a niche you love, you might look back one day and wonder how different things may have been if you hadn’t taken that first step.”

Be sure to say hi to Dr. Kennedy-Metz when you see her around on the 5th floor of Life Science.

Welcome back to Roanoke, Dr. Kennedy-Metz!

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Out of the Darkness Walk Oct. 1st

Mark your calendars!

This year’s Salem-Roanoke Out of the Darkness Walk for suicide prevention is taking place on Saturday October 1st. The annual event is hosted by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) to raise awareness and support for suicide prevention.

RCPA and Psi Chi are joining the Roanoke community by walking as a team. The event begins at 10am at the Cregger Center right here on campus. All psychology students and faculty are encouraged to sign up to walk with the team or donate to AFSP at the link below:

We hope to see you there.

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