University of Vermont

The College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Psychological Science

Undergraduate Award Winners: 2008

2008 award winners

Back, L-R: Sara Fefer, Lynne Bond (Undergraduate Program Director), Melissa Martin
Front: Jessica Wagar, Alice Kosak

Jessica Wagar (John Dewey Award)

Jessica is this years' recipient of the John Dewey Award Wagar in recognition of the excellent research she has conducted for her Honors thesis, in conjunction with her outstanding academic achievement and her participation in the first class of Honors College students. In her thesis, Jessica is testing the validity of two operational measures of the construct of maternal sensitivity, one obtained from maternal reports, the other from direct observations of mothers with their children during exposure to novel events. Although the data for her research were collected as part of an ongoing study, Jessica conceptualized this project and then spent nine months rating the behavior of more than 90 mothers from videotape. Throughout this process, Jessica has shown the ability to grasp complex concepts quickly, to ask thoughtful questions about what she is doing, to use feedback well, and to work independently and with dedication to complete her project. She has accomplished all this while working 20 hours a week in the Admissions Office. Jessica plans to pursue graduate study in Psychology.

Alice Kosak (Donald Forgays Outstanding Senior Award)

Alice is a research assistant in Professor Kelly Rohan's laboratory. She is an enthusiastic, self-disciplined research assistant who is always willing to provide extra help where needed. In addition to this work, Alice is completing an Honors Thesis with Professor Rohan on mood sensitivity to high pollen levels. All of this has been done while maintaining an excellent academic record and working several jobs to support herself throughout her time at UVM. Alice is also a consistent and devoted volunteer for the Ronald McDonald House Charity of Vermont as well as for the Lund Family Center. Her volunteer endeavors are part of her goal to expose herself to different environments and groups of people in an effort to decide what psychology career to pursue.

Sara Fefer (George Albee Award)

Sarah is this year's recipient in honor of her extraordinary work in research and service contexts with at risk children and adolescents. Sarah has worked as a counselor in Professor Hoza's NIMH-funded research summer program for children with ADHD, and is she currently working in a similar capacity in Professor Hoza's the pilot prevention program for kindergarten through 2nd grade students with attention, learning or behavioral difficulties at a Winooski school. Sarah is completely dedicated to research-informed interventions for at risk youth and plans to pursue a career in school psychology towards this end. Sarah has done this while working several jobs to support herself through school. It is telling that the jobs she has chosen are also with at risk youth. For example, she works at the Teen Futures program at the King Street Center. This program serves at risk students in grades 6-12 with diverse cultural backgrounds (e.g., Congolese, Sudanese, Somali, Indian, Chinese, Tibetan, and Bosnian). She also has worked at Edmunds Middle School as a tutor for at-risk students. Similarly, her work at the UVM learning cooperative as an Academic Counselor has involved mentoring TRIO students (first-generation low income college students). Sarah plans to pursue a career in evidence-based interventions in the school context and has already received offers from several top-notch school psychology doctoral programs.

Melissa Martin (Heinz Ansbacher Award)

Melissa is president of the UVM Chapter of Psi Ch, the honor society in psychology. She has also been very active in a variety of campus activities that relate to her interest in psychology, including the Inter-Residence Association, as well as the Honors College Student Mentor. She is also a member of the first graduating class of the Honors College and has worked as a counselor on two of Betsy Hoza's projects relating to ADHD and attention, learning or behavioral difficulties. Melissa is currently completing an honors thesis with Professor Bond in which she is looking at the experiences of adolescents who have a sibling with a diagnosis on the autism Asperger's dimension. Melissa has also maintained a 3.50 GPA.

Undergraduate Awards