Get Psyched! Westfield State University Department of Psychology Newsletter. Message from the Chair

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1 Get Psyched! Spring 2015 Westfield State University Department of Psychology Newsletter Message from the Chair Hello Friends of WSU Department of Psychology. Welcome to our inaugural Department of Psychology Newsletter. So many exciting things are happening in our department that I had to start a newsletter to share a sampling of some of them. 12% of our graduates complete their degree part-time or online through DGCE. However, the count of our majors does not adequately reflect the number of students the psychology department serves. After English Comp, Introduction to Psychology is the most frequently enrolled class at WSU, and psychology is the most often selected Liberal Studies concentration. Plus, with 200 minors, psychology is the largest WSU minor (Business and Sociology a distant second and third). My students know I love numbers, so I will start with some statistics. Our department is one of the larger departments on campus, with 16 full time doctoral level psychology professors and about 18 part-time faculty teaching undergraduate and graduate classes during the day, evening, and online. With approximately 450 majors each year, our department is the fourth largest major at WSU. In students will earn a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and about 23% of them are double majors. We are the most popular double major after the Liberal Studies-Education pairing. We also have a thriving continuing education program. Each year approximately 1 We also have thriving graduate programs serving about 85 students working toward a Master of Arts in Applied Behavior Analysis, or a Master of Arts in Psychology, with concentrations in Mental Health Counseling, Forensic Counseling, or Guidance Counseling. You are surrounded by a lot of great people with different backgrounds and interests. But even though our department is large, we want you to get involved and hope this newsletter will give you some ideas about what is happening in your department, and how you can join the fun. Lynn M. Shelley, Ph.D. Professor and Chair Department of Psychology

2 Meet Our Front Office Staff When you enter the psychology department there are a number of people there to help you. Linda Hogan-Shea, Department Secretary I started at Westfield State in 2006 and since 2008 have been the administrative assistant supporting the faculty and students in the Psychology Department. Being the mother of 2 college students, I know navigating the system can be challenging. I field questions on just about every subject from, when does web registration begin to who is the commencement speaker this year? (Brandon Stanton, Humans of New York.) If I don t know the answer (which seldom happens), I will make every effort to get it. The Psych office is a welcoming place where you can stop by with your questions or to just say hi. Emily Bovat, Graduate Assistant Hello, my name is Emily Bovat. I am in my first year of the School Guidance Counseling graduate program. Although I am only one year in I have already had the opportunity to observe in various schools and meet great counselors. Working at the front desk in the Psychology department is a great experience. I get to help students, which is part of my career goal, and I learn about everything that goes on in the department and all it offers. Bill Ross, Graduate Assistant My name is Bill Ross. I am an LMHC graduate assistant. My favorite thing about working in the Psychology office is getting to know the professors outside the classroom. I also like meeting students who come into the office. Outside of WSU, I work as an educator, public speaker, and entertainer. Since 2002 I have had the honor of presenting my program Last Call, a sobering look at alcohol abuse through New-Vaudeville Theatre, as part of the WSU first year orientation. Ariana Lopez, Work Study Assistant My name is Ariana Lopez and I'm currently finishing up my sophomore year and majoring in Communication with a concentration in media arts and analysis. I hope to one day start my own production company for television. Working in the front office of the Psychology Department has given me the opportunity to meet and learn from different professors. I enjoy my position and everyone I've met has been kind and welcoming. I'm glad I got the opportunity to work in such a great department here at WSU. Sarah Stone, Work Study Assistant My name is Sarah Stone and I am a double major in Psychology and Ethnic and Gender Studies. I am a Junior and I am a member of the Honors Program, a member of the psychology honor society Psi Chi, and next year s president of the Psychology Club. I love working in the front office because I can interact with students and faculty. If there are any questions or anything you need help with, stop in and ask. We are more than happy to assist you in any way we can. 2

3 Name the Empty Head The Main Psychology office is home to a clear head, which is sometimes empty, sometimes filled with seasonal decorations, and occasionally houses a small brain. But the head has no name. We are looking for submissions from students, faculty, and staff to name the head. Preference will be given to names related to psychology. You are always welcome to come by and see the empty head name suggestions can be dropped into the head box next to the head. Free Mints! Do they improve test performance? One time, a while ago, somebody in the psychology department read that sucking mint candies during an exam improves test performance. So the department started putting mint candies out in the main psychology office for our students. They were very popular, especially during finals week. But, do they really improve test performance, or was that just some tidbit of information some reporter decided to write about without really understanding the scientific method? It appears the latter. If you search for scholarly articles on the topic you will find a few very well controlled studies that find no relationship between sucking mint candy and/or smelling the scent of mint, and subsequent cognitive functioning, memory, or test anxiety. So, the science shows a clear lack of evidence for our promotion of mint sucking. But that does not deter us! We still have mints out. Why? Senior psychology major Desiré Rivera suggests the true value of the mints is that they improve interpersonal relations as well as work via the placebo effect when students believe they perform better on a test taken while sucking mints, they really do perform better. Department chair, Lynn Shelly says We leave the mints out because we like to see students drop into the main psychology office. So drop in for a mint, but be sure to study also. Psychology, Sociology and Social Work Professional Networking Night In February The Career Center, Office of Alumni Relations, and the Departments of Psychology, Sociology and Social Work co-sponsored a Professional Networking Night, where WSU alum or currently enrolled graduate students spoke with students about their current careers and the paths they took to get there. Representing careers were Danielle Bolster, Samantha Hague, Laura Mangini, Sean Regnier, Nicole West, Alexandra Phillips, and Brittany Stacy. WSU psychology students had the opportunity to learn about diverse career paths for psychology majors. 3

4 Mark Nickerson Speaks at WSU Claudia Ciano-Boyce, Ed.D The WSU speaker series presented Mark Nickerson, a psychotherapist who wrote a book entitled, The Wounds Within, on his work with veterans with PTSD. Psychology club members participated in this important event by graciously and courageously reading aloud passages from the book during the talk. Sara Cauley, Dillon Roy, and Molly Delaney. Each contributed tremendously to this event and represented the Department of Psychology well. Journal Club in Evolutionary Psychology Eric Bressler, Ph.D. The Journal Club in Evolutionary Psychology is comprised of students and faculty interested in how evolutionary theory can be used to understand human behavior and experience. We hold weekly meetings during which members read and discuss empirical papers pursuing evolutionary psychological research. This club is a good opportunity for any students interested in animal behavior, evolutionary theory, the science of psychology, and for those who want practice in learning how to critically examine research. Contact Dr. Eric Bressler for more information about the Journal Club in Evolutionary Psychology Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Journal Club Robin White, Ph.D. You have probably read news articles that discuss exciting new findings in the field of neuroscience. Have you ever wanted to know more? If so, then the Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Journal Club (INJC) is for you! This year students read and discussed research featured in the popular press, including a ground-breaking study by Saul Villeda who came to WSU to talk on March 16 th. He presented his research about blood and cognition in the elderly. To join the INJC list and start getting scheduling information and links to resources Dr. Robin White 4

5 Retirement, Promotions, and A New Appointment Retirement After more than 30 years of service, Dr. Susan Dutch retired from WSU. We are indebted to Dr. Dutch for her many contributions to the department, university, and Psi Chi. She leaves a legacy as a dedicated, conscientious, and caring educator. She also leaves the foundation of an incredibly strong (and award winning) Psi Chi chapter, and a department with a curriculum positively impacted by her expertise. Tenure & Promotion Dr. Summer Williams completed her 6th year with us at WSU, and earned tenure effective Fall Dr. Williams, a health psychologist, earned her Ph. D. in 2008 from the University of California, Riverside. She does research in the area of health communication and patient outcomes, such as patient adherence and patient satisfaction. She teaches Health Psychology, Social Psychology, Introduction to Psychology, and Capstone and Special Topics courses. She is also the new faculty advisor for WSU s chapter of Psi Chi, the international honor society in psychology. Dr. Joey Reyes joined WSU s Department of Psychology in His tenure and promotion became effective Fall Dr. Reyes is the director of our Applied Behavior Analysis graduate program. He earned his Ph.D. in Psychology with an emphasis in Behavior Analysis from the University of Florida. His primary area of research is in the assessment and treatment of problem behavior. He teaches Psychology of Learning, Applied Behavior Analysis, and Capstone and Special Topics courses at both graduate and undergraduate levels. Dr. Joe Camilleri joined WSU s Department of Psychology in His tenure and promotion took effect Fall At the graduate level, Dr. Camilleri is the director of our MA program in Forensic Mental Health Counseling, and at the undergraduate level he teaches Research Methods in Psychology, Statistics for Psychologists, Forensic Psychology, Psychometrics, and Capstone and Special Topics courses. He earned his Ph.D. in 2008 from Queen's University in Canada. His primary area of research is on sexual conflict in relationships and psychopathy. New Appointment We welcome Dr. Leo Andrade who just completed his first year at WSU. Prior to joining us Dr. Andrade was a researcher at University of Connecticut School of Medicine. He earned his Ph. D. in Behavior Analysis from University of Florida. He does research in the area of impulsivity and contingency management treatments for substance use disorders. He teaches Psychology of Learning, Applied Behavior Analysis, Research Methods in Psychology, Capstone and Special Topics courses at both graduate and undergraduate levels. 5

6 psychology club Sarah Stone, Psychology Club Officer, Psych Club is made up of a group of students who get together weekly with the goal of promo9ng a be:er understand of the field of psychology. We also want to help each other get the most out of the psychology major at WSU. The club is open to everybody and you can come to as many, or as few, of the mee9ngs as you want. This semester we welcomed Prof. Claudia Ciano- Boyce as our new Club Co- Advisor, who graciously took over as our previous Advisor, Prof. Joe Camilleri, took a much- deserved sabba9cal. One thing we do as a Club is to organize guest speakers who share their research, stories, and advice on planning our career paths. This year we had a drug and alcohol abuse counselor talk with us about her journey and what her job entails. We also were lucky enough to have some professors share with us about their fields of study. For example, Prof. Rebecca Burwell talked with us about counseling and the techniques used behind therapy. Psych Club also hosts an Advising Night each semester where professors and students share advice on classes, plans for the next semester, and plans for life aqer college. We also organize movie nights and trips to various places, including hospitals, correc9on facili9es, and other venues. One extra special trip that we took was in March when we a:ended the Eastern Psychological Associa2on s annual conference in Philadelphia. Professors Ciano- Boyce and Hayes chaperoned and guided us through the logis9cs of a:ending a large conference. We learned a lot at the conference and especially enjoyed seeing the new research that is being done. As a student I can say this was one of the best trips I have ever been on. It was filled with many funny and wonderful memories I hope to never forget. We also learned a lot about each other and were able to bond and grow closer as a group, which is really a main goal of psych club. Even though we start from different backgrounds, we become a group of friends who get together and talk about things that interest us related to psychology. I hope you ll join us next semester! 6

7 Graduate Program News Applied Behavior Analysis Mental Health Counseling Guidance Counseling Forensic Counseling Robert Hayes, Ph.D. Our graduate programs are thriving and each recognized for its excellence. We offer an M.A. degree in Applied Behavior Analysis, as well as a M.A. in Psychology with concentrations in Mental Health Counseling, Forensic Mental Health Counseling, and/or School Guidance Counseling. The Mental Health Counseling program prepares students with all pre-masters education, practicum and internship experiences to meet licensure requirements in the Commonwealth as a mental health counselor (LMHC). As with other concentrations, students attend class in the evenings (after 4pm), with some summer session work. The program can be completed in 3 years. For information contact Program Director Dr. Robert Hayes, The Forensic Mental Health Counseling program is about to enter its second year and is currently developing active relationships with forensic-based internship experiences. The program dually meets the education and experience requirements for a licensed mental health counselor. The program offers an optional thesis, advantaging students considering eventual doctoral study. Our first graduates will cross the stage in Spring For information contact Program Director Dr. Joseph Camilleri, The School Guidance Counseling program meets the Massachusetts Department of Education s requirements for a credential as Guidance Counselor upon graduation! It is our only program that entertains applicants on an openenrollment basis. Preference of available seats is given to students applying by February 1st. For information contact Program Director Ms. Maria Letasz, All M.A. Psychology concentrations will be 60-credit programs beginning Fall 2015 (pending governance approval). The expanded program positions mental health counselors to meet state requirements and guidance counselors to qualify for Professional Status after 3 years of employment. An M.A. in Applied Behavior Analysis can be completed in two years (full-time) at Westfield State! The program matches students with practicum placements beginning in the first semester. Placements are varied and involve working with individuals with developmental disabilities, autism, within school systems, and in clinical mental health placements. For information contact Program Director Dr. Jorge Reyes, 7

8 Students Applied Experiences: Practicum, Internships, and Teaching Assistants Ricki Kantrowitz, Ph.D. Before graduation many WSU Psychology students get practical hands on experience in the field. This allows them to apply what they learned in classes, network with professionals, and understand what it is like to work in the real world. The Psychology Department supports student engagement in applied experiences for course credit. Many graduates of 2015 completed their capstone requirement by participating in experiences such as: a six-credit practicum, supervised by Dr. Kantrowitz (23 students); internship, supervised by a variety of professors (5 students); and teaching assistantships, supervised by Dr. Szpiler (10 students). The demand for practicum has been so great that next year the course will be offered twice, once in the fall and again in the spring. Students completed placements at a variety of sites, including: elementary, middle, and high schools in Westfield, Ludlow and Chicopee, the May Institute, the Westfield Boys and Girls Club, the Probation Department at Westfield District Court, and the Forum House. This year was especially exciting for students in Practicum as a career emphasis was included. Students met with staff from Career Services and attended Career Fairs held on campus. A number of guest speakers talked about their jobs and career paths. Many of the speakers, discussing such careers as school psychology, social work, and the Department of Children and Families were graduates of our own Department of Psychology. Some things you might not know about your professors... Dr. Ricki Kantrowitz is a Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) Representative, World Federation for Mental Health (WFMH) at the United Nations, New York. Dr. Lynn Shelley is the Past President, of the Northeastern Educational Research Association. Dr. Rebecca Burwell is a Steering Committee Member for the New England Psychological Association (NEPA). Dr. Janet Gebelt is the Secretary and on the Executive board of the Society for Research on Identity Formation. Dr. Joseph Camilleri: is a Director-at-Large for the Criminal Justice Psychology Section of the Canadian Psychological Association. 8

9 Psi Chi News Summer Williams, Ph.D. The Department of Psychology supports a chapter of Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology. This organization is a member of the Association of College Honor Societies and an affiliate of the American Psychological Association (APA) and the American Psychological Society (APS). This year WSU s Psi Chi chapter has a new faculty advisor, Dr. Summer Williams. The year began by doing an annual holiday service project. Psi Chi members organized a hygiene drive, led by President Shelby Smith and collected boxes of toiletries and hygiene items for Valley Psychiatric Services, which provides mental health services for the Pioneer Valley. In December, Psi Chi members also participated in the Holiday Mail for Heroes and made over 120 holiday cards for soldiers and their families, distributed by Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. But the highlight of the year occurred on a snowy weekend in February when the WSU Psi Chi chapter held its induction ceremony at which 81 new members were inducted under the guidance of faculty advisor, Summer Williams, and with the attendance of friends and family. Dr. Laurie Simpson was the guest speaker and talked about the need to be open to unexpected life pathways. At the conclusion of her presentation, Dr. Simpson was surprised when she was awarded the Virginia Powers- Lagac Memorial Award that honors outstanding part-time instructors. It s been a very successful year and with so many great new members we anticipate a great year in WSU s Psi Chi wins the Ruth Hubbard Cousins Chapter Award Under the supervision of Dr. Susan Dutch and 2013 and 2015 chapter president Shelby Smith, Psi Chi won the 2014 Ruth Hubbard Cousins Chapter Award. This is the most prestigious award given to a Psi Chi chapter, and recognizes the chapter that best achieves Psi Chi s mission as a role model for others. This is a significant achievement given that there are more than 1,000 chapters nationally and internationally. A new plaque is displayed in the Department of Psychology as a reminder of this honor. 9

10 Honors and Awards Lynn Shelley, Ph.D. Dr. Virginia Powers-Lagac Outstanding Adjunct Award The Department of Psychology at Westfield State University (WSU) is pleased to announce the 2015 winner of the Dr. Virginia Powers-Lagac Outstanding Adjunct Award. This award was established in Dr. Powers-Lagac s memory, to recognize an outstanding part-time professor who is an exemplary classroom educator, a mentor outside the classroom, and highly committed to the mission of the University's Department of Psychology. This year s award recipient was Dr. Laurie Simpson. Dr. Simpson, a WSU alum, earned an MS in Criminal Justice, and an MA in Psychology with a concentration in Mental Health Counseling. In November of last year, she completed her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA. She is currently the Director of the Academic Advising Center at WSU and has been with the Center since Dr. Simpson has been an adjunct professor for the Department of Psychology since She teaches both online and inperson classes, such as Introduction to Psychology, Child Development, Adolescent Development, Educational Psychology, Psychology of Love and the Psychology of Law. It is clear that Dr. Simpson enjoys working with students and they in turn enjoy her enthusiasm Drs. Shelley, Simpson, Hayes, and Szpiler John Nevins Outstanding Educator Dr. Robert Hayes won the 2014 DGCE John Nevins Outstanding Educator Award. Winners of this award are nominated by students, and then selected by a panel of judges representing the DGCE student body and WSU administration, faculty, and staff. The Department of Psychology is the proud home to several winners of this award. The 2014 winner, Dr. Hayes, has worked at Westfield State University since He earned his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from George Washington University in He conducts research in areas of health psychology and has served the university in a number of positions, including Dean (DGCE) and Academic Affairs Vice President. In addition to teaching both graduate and undergraduate courses in the Division of Graduate and Continuing Education, Dr. Hayes is the chair of the Graduate Committee in Psychology, which administrates the department s graduate programs, and the director of its Mental Health Counseling program. Dr. Hayes says, I enjoy teaching in DGCE where I work with students who typically are earning undergraduate degrees in addition to managing very busy personal lives, and I like mentoring applied mental health clinicians as they enter into the helping field of counseling. Affordable Colleges Online Affordable Colleges Online recently examined hundreds of fully accredited online programs and Westfield State University was recognized for its outstanding Online Psychology degree. WSU ranked #22 in the country! 10

11 Student Awards Lynn Shelley, Ph.D. There are many amazing psychology majors our students complete independent research, work at internship and practicum sites, serve as officers in clubs, participate in peer tutoring, do volunteer work, participate in study abroad, and work hard in their classes. Some even accomplish this despite personal struggles such as illness, disabling conditions, financial burdens, and family obligations. The WSU psychology faculty are proud of all our hard working and committed students and there are a lot. While a great number of our majors show tremendous diligence and effort, a handful go above and beyond and serve as an example and inspiration to their peers and faculty. The department is unable to recognize all outstanding students, but can honor a few. This year six students earned awards from the Department of Psychology. Harvey Roazen Award Kasey Dinsmore is the 2015 winner of the Harvey Roazen Award for academic excellence in psychology. This award is named after a former psychology professor who was deeply committed to students of psychology at Westfield State, and it recognizes the student with the highest cumulative GPA in the Department of Psychology. This year, Kasey Dinsmore is that student. Not only has she done well academically, she is also well liked by her faculty. Dr. Jack Szpiler says Kasey is extremely capable, self motivated, and interpersonal, and Kasey s statistics professor, Dr. Linda Albright, says, She got it...i mean she really got it--not "just" the math aspect, but the logic of hypothesis testing and statistical analysis. Robert Goodale Award Eilianie Alvelo is the 2015 winner of the Robert Goodale Award for academic excellence in the Department of Psychology. This award is named after a former psychology professor who was deeply committed to continuing education students of psychology at Westfield State, and it recognizes the continuing education student with the highest cumulative GPA in the Department of Psychology. Dr. Summer Williams calls Eilianie, outstanding, extremely hard working, persistent, responsible, and conscientious. Similarly, Drs. Stanley Jackson and Robert Hayes called her abilities excellent, and the psychology faculty agree that she is deserving of this honor. "She will return to Westfield State next fall to pursue a Master's in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), with the goal of becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. The Harvey Roazen and the Robert Goodale Awards each come with a $200 stipend, and the students names are engraved on brass plates that hang in a display-cases near the Psychology Department. 11

12 Student Awards (continued) 12 Academic Excellence Awards Academic Excellence Awards recognize the outstanding academic accomplishments of students in departments throughout the university. They are given to students who evidenced academic success as well as a passion and commitment to the field of psychology. This year there were four winners. Brian Farrell, Matthew Kidrick, Jessica Lindsay, and Beth Teague. Brian Farrell is passionate about psychology. During his senior year he conducted research on personality and coping under the supervision of Dr. Summer Williams, who called his work, outstanding. Dr. Eric Bressler said, Give me a class filled with 30 copies of him and you wouldn't have to even pay me to teach them. Brian will be attending the University of Maryland where he will pursue graduate study in the field of clinical psychology, and contribute to the body of research on schizophrenia to promote clinically based treatments. His longer-term goal is to become a psychology professor. The WSU psychology faculty have no doubt he can accomplish this goal. Matthew Kidrick has been an active member of both Psi Chi and the Psychology Club, adopting leadership roles in both. Dr. Eric Bressler says He has a curious, sharp mind under a calm, personable demeanor. And Dr. Claudia Ciano-Boyce praises his work with the psychology club pointing out how he energized the club last year and this. The WSU psychology faculty are grateful for his presence in the department. Jessica Lindsay, is another student who has gone above and beyond for the Department of Psychology. Dr. Janet Gebelt says Jess is a joy to work with! She has tutored for statistics, as well as other classes, and has been active around campus with service work. In fact, she founded the WSU chapter of the Convey of Help Club. During the spring semester Jessica completed an internship at the May Center School for children with autism and developmental disabilities where she plans to continue working over the summer and during her graduate studies. The WSU psychology faculty are thrilled she will be back on campus in the Fall in the Master of Arts Applied Behavior Analysis program. Beth Teague was the runner up for the Harvey Roazen Award (her GPA was lower than the winner s by only.006. A double major in English and Psychology, Beth has completed significantly more credits than necessary to earn her degree so the Department of Psychology sees her as more than deserving of this award. Dr. Rebecca Burwell supervised her honors thesis, and calls Beth an independent, on-task, excellent student!

13 Minor in Gerontology Tamara Smith This is the first year of a new interdisciplinary Minor in Gerontology (Departments of Sociology, Psychology and Movement Sciences). This minor is designed for students interested in the many facets of the aging process and the issues facing the elderly today. Gerontology incorporates the study of the physical, mental, social, and emotional changes in older adults. Students completing the Minor in Gerontology will be provided the skills to apply this knowledge through direct work with the elderly and applied work with policies and programs on behalf of older persons. Students will become prepared to specialize in work with the elderly population in their major field of study. Career opportunities abound in a diversity of professional settings, such as community, human services, health-care, long-term care, government agencies (local, state and federal), retirement communities, business and industry. For more information contact the Coordinator of the Gerontology Minor, Dr.Tamara Smith Dr. Saul Villeda, the Vampire Scientist Speaks on Campus Lynn Shelley, Ph.D. On March 16 th, the Department of Psychology co-sponsored a lecture by Dr. Saul Villeda, a scientist at the University of California San Francisco. Over 200 students, faculty, staff, and community members came to hear his talk entitled "Vampire Therapy: Young Blood for Old Brains." Dr. Villeda described his exciting neuroscience research findings of brain rejuvenation from blood. The standing room only crowd had lots of questions. Dr. Villeda also had lunch with several students, and attended multiple classes. Dr. Robin White, a WSU professor of biology, did an amazing job of organizing the event. 13

14 Get Psyched! The Department of Psychology Newsletter Spring 2015 Our Majors do Great things! Brian Farrell, Matt Kidrick, and Nicole Quatrale have all shared the news that they will be attending graduate school in the fall. Additionally, we ve heard that a few students have received full-time job offers from their practicum sites. In the next issue of this newsletter we would like to include a full description of what you are doing. Please the department of psychology or let your professors know your plans for next year and we will happily share the news here. Contact us at: At the time of press, a number of senior psychology major graduates had made decisions about what they will be doing next year! For example Vania Hoyte, Department of Psychology Wilson Hall Room 105 Westfield State University Westfield, MA Please share this newsletter with friends of the Westfield State University Department of Psychology.

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