University of Vermont

College of Arts and Sciences

Department of Psychological Science

Undergraduate Student Research Profiles: 2013

Aaron Dean

Aaron Dean
"I am currently a junior psychology major here at UVM. As I began to study psychology I quickly realized studying behavior alone was not enough. I then sought to pursue a minor in biology to further understand how our brains govern our thoughts and actions. I’ve found that since starting as a research assistant in Professor John Green’s lab last fall that my time in the lab has not only fostered my passion for biobehavioral psychology but I’ve discovered a new found love for research and the experimental process as well. This has driven me to begin an independent study of my own to learn more about the brain. This summer I will begin my thesis investigating the effects of the neurohormone secretin in a mechanism involved in cerebellar dependent learning called eyeblink classical conditioning. After graduation I plan to take the skills and knowledge acquired at UVM into the biotechnical field and continue my education to receive a Ph.D. in psychology."

Ashley Deeb

Ashley Deeb
"I am a senior pursuing a Bachelors of Arts in psychology with a chemistry minor and planning to graduate in December 2013. I have been working in Dr. Kelly Rohan's Mood and Seasonality Lab since the fall of my sophomore year. In addition to recruiting participants, assessing symptom severity, and conducting sad mood inductions for Dr. Rohan's studies, I have also been working closely with graduate student Jennifer Mahon on her study observing the cognitive and chronobiological factors involved in Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). I am currently working on my thesis which is investigating attributional styles in SAD across seasons and determining their effect on symptom severity. Specifically, I am looking to see if negative attributional styles in SAD patients become comparable to those of healthy controls in the summer and if the difference in negative attributional styles in summer vs. winter is predictive of winter symptom severity."

"Participating in undergraduate research has increased my interest in psychopathology, specifically mood disorders, and has given me the opportunity to work one-on-one with SAD patients as well as explore my interests through an independent research project. After graduation, I plan on attending medical school and continuing to explore my interests in mood disorders and psychopathology through research. I hope to incorporate research into my work as a doctor."

Tracie Ebalu

Tracie Ebalu
"I am senior pursuing a Bachelors of Science in Psychology with a German minor. I have been a research assistant for the Connecting Cultures Program under the supervision for Dr. Karen Fondacaro for two years. Prior to working in this research lab, I acted as a confederate in a peer's honor's thesis under the supervision of Dr. Elizabeth Pinel. Working in the lab for the past two years has promoted my interest in refugee mental health. During my sophomore year, I helped assist Dr. Fondacaro’s Somali Bantu Women’s group. Additionally, I assisted the design “ tool-kits” for the training of the Winooski schools teachers about the different refugee population and performed data collections for participants."

"This past summer, I was awarded a McNair Scholarship, where I conducted a research project on the relationship between post-migration stressors and mental health functioning for refugee populations. I presented the results at two national conferences in Niagara Falls, NY and Seattle, Washington last semester. In my independent study work, I wrote a research paper examining domestic violence against refugee women. Moreover, I am currently working with Karen on creating a post-migration stressor questionnaire, which will evaluates the resettlement and acculturation stressors of refugees and asylum seeker living in the United States."

"I am currently transcribing data from a Somali youth focus group and serving as an associate for a Bhutanese stress management women’s group. After graduation, I hope to have a full time research position before applying for a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology concentrating on refugee mental health. I want to focus my research on the pre-migration trauma and post-migration stressors for refugee populations."

Sasha Finnell

Sasha Finnell
Sasha is a senior Psychology major and Spanish minor who has been working in the Social Development Lab for the past year. During her time with Dr. Dianna Murray-Close's Social Development Lab, she has conducted semi-structured interviews, administered stress tasks and physiological assessments, supervised and trained undergraduate research assistants, and aided in developing and editing new laboratory protocols. Furthermore, her involvement in Dr. Betsy Hoza’s ADHD Lab has helped her to further develop interpersonal skills in the experimenter-participant relationship.

She is currently researching the hostile attribution bias (i.e., tendency to attribute hostile peer intent in ambiguous relational provocations) as a moderator of relational victimization (i.e. target of relational aggression, which constitutes the skillful manipulation of relationships) and relational aggression.

Sasha has been accepted as a research assistant in Dr. Elizabeth Pinel’s Seeing-I Lab at UVM for 2013-2014, where she will continue research after graduation. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. program in Clinical Psychology. In addition, Sasha currently works on a memory care unit for patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Kate Stansfield

Kate Stansfield
“I am a junior pursuing a degree in neuroscience with a mathematics minor. I began volunteering my time as a research assistant during the 2012 fall semester in Professor John Green’s laboratory, which has a research focus on the neurobiology of learning and memory. I have a strong curiosity for how exercise affects the brain, which is what attracted me to Dr. Green’s lab. During the fall semester, I helped facilitate research in a study investigating executive function effects of voluntary exercise and methylphenidate in developing male rats. I love the hands-on experience of working in a lab and investigating topics that truly interest me.”

“With funding from a UVM Summer Research Award, I will begin conducting an independent study this summer. I will be investigating the effects of estrogen replacement on executive function in exercising and non-exercising ovariectomized female rats. Conducting my own research project will help to further develop the skills necessary to continue studying neuroscience as a post-graduate. I intend to apply to a Ph.D. program in the field of neuroscience, so that I can continue doing research and satisfy my thirst for knowledge. My ultimate career goal is to work in a laboratory, and collaborate with others to conduct meaningful research and make a real contribution to the fascinating world of science.”

Alexandra Sullivan

Alexandra_Sullivan
Allie is a junior pursing a bachelors of science in psychology. She works with both Dr. Annie Murray-Close in the Social Development Lab (SDL) and with Dr. Keith Burt in the Risk and Resilience Lab. In Dr. Murray-Close’s lab, she functions as an assistant project coordinator. This means that, in conjunction with her independent academic pursuits, she helps manage the lab. Her responsibilities include running participants, managing participant recruitment, and supervising and training new research assistants.

Currently in the SDL, she is working on a project examining the relationship between social status goals and depressive symptoms in young adults. She will present her findings in the Spring 2013 Student Research Conference. This summer, she is excited to be working closely with Dr. Murray-Close and clinical doctoral candidate, Nicole Lafko, on a new project with the support of a College of Arts and Sciences APLE summer stipend. Her role will be to examine the relationship between social status goals, depressive symptoms, and stress reactivity in a pre-adolescent population. This research will be used to support her honors thesis, which she will present and defend in April 2014.

After graduation she plans to work as a research lab coordinator in Boston, and eventually pursue a clinical doctoral degree at a leading research university.

Undergraduate Student Research Profiles

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