Page 1


Wendy Kliewer Chair

Michael Southam-Gerow Director, Graduate Studies

Linda Zyzniewski Director, Undergraduate Studies

Dorothy Fillmore Associate Director for Academic Operations

PROGRAM DIRECTORS Eric Benotsch Health Jeff Green Social

Greetings from 806 W. Franklin St.! As I write this we are in the throes of Welcome Week and indeed have already begun preparing for what will be an exciting year. We began the new academic year by welcoming two new faculty to our health psychology program (see articles on Page 4). We are continuing to build this newest doctoral program in our department and are excited about our strong department wide strengths in health. Read more about the interesting work one of our health psychology faculty – Dr. Rose Corona—are doing on Page 6. In addition to our strong research focus, we continue to offer our undergraduate students interesting opportunities for discovery and engagement. Read about the service-learning opportunities Dr. Vicky Shivy and Dr. Joshua Langberg are providing to our undergraduates on Pages 8-9. Faculty in our department continue to have research, teaching and service opportunities around the world. A terrific example of that comes from Dr. Faye Belgrave, who spent the spring 2012 semester at sea, travelling the world and teaching a course in cross-cultural psychology. Read about her adventures on Pages 10-11. Be sure not to miss our regular features – our spotlights on undergraduate students and graduate students; our Ask the CPSD column; information on new staff in the department; and of course, alumni updates. We hope you enjoy our new “news magazine” format and look forward to hearing about what is going on in your life. Best wishes for a safe and productive fall.

Wendy Kliewer, Ph.D. Professor and Chair Page 2

Barbara Myers Developmental Joseph Porter Biopsychology Bruce Rybarczyk Clinical Marilyn Stern Counseling Jody Davis Web and Facebook

Jennifer Elswick E-magazine Production

We invite you to join us on our new Facebook page! If you "like" the page in your Facebook account, then department news and updates will appear in your Newsfeed. It will be a great way for alumni to reminisce and for everyone to stay in the loop about upcoming events, news items and new research findings.

Join our community!


Inside This Issue 1

12

Cover photography by Elijah Christman, program support technician for VCU Psychology Fisheye photo of White House, 806 W. Franklin St.

Graduate student spotlight Katie Taylor, developmental program

by Gillian Leibach

4

13

Meet our new faculty and staff members

Undergraduate student spotlight

5

Latessa “Miracle” Allums by Katharine Stoddard

Alumni updates

6 Research spotlight:

14-15 Department news and updates

16

Can parents help prevent youth tobacco use? An evaluation of two evidence-based parenting programs

August 2012 graduates

by Rosalie Corona, Ph.D.

17

7

Department contact information

Ask the CPSD

Photo by Elijah Christman

A reader seeks advice on how to approach her elderly mother about her diminishing aptitude in driving by Andrea Shamaskin, M.S.

8-9 Innovative new service-learning courses for undergraduates

Joshua Langberg, Ph.D. Victoria Shivy, Ph.D.

10-11 My Voyage Around the World

Correction from the Summer 2011 Newsletter In the article titled, “The VCU Clark-Hill Institute for Positive Youth Development: Spotlight on the Director,” on Page 7, column 1, we incorrectly stated that, “ACE refers to the CDC’s Adverse Childhood Experiences study—one of the largest investigations undertaken to date to examine the adult health outcomes of those exposed to maltreatment as youth." In fact, ACE stands for "Academic Center of Excellence.”

by Faye Belgrave, Ph.D. Page 3


Meet Our New Faculty and Staff Members daughter, Kate. Their summer also included a trip to the London Olympics with family, including Everhart’s grandfather who won a gold medal for USA basketball in the 1948 London Olympic Games. NBC’s Today Show featured him during his visit. Click HERE to watch it!

Robin Everhart, Ph.D. Health psychology program

Robin S. Everhart, Ph.D., joined the health psychology program in August as an assistant professor. Everhart received her undergraduate degree from Duke University, graduating with distinction in psychology. She received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Syracuse University and completed her predoctoral internship in pediatric psychology at Brown Medical School. She recently completed a twoyear postdoctoral fellowship at Rhode Island Hospital/Brown Medical School and was awarded an F32 training grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to investigate family and cultural predictors of caregiver quality of life in pediatric asthma. She is also a licensed clinical psychologist in Rhode Island. Everhart’s research focuses on child health psychology, primarily in pediatric asthma, and incorporates a focus on quality of life, health disparities and family systems. Her research highlights the importance of the family system in managing pediatric chronic illnesses as well as urban and cultural stressors that impact child disease management. Everhart’s recent research is aimed at developing familybased models of care that target both caregiver and child health outcomes in ethnic minority families. Everhart moved to the Richmond area this summer with her husband, Drew, and their 4-year old son, Jack, and 19-month-old

non-black physicians. In this project, she applies social psychology theories of intergroup biases and uses well-established social psychological methods for affect and behavior assessment. Building on this work, she plans to write a larger grant to develop theory-based interventions aiming at improving the dynamics of racially discordant medical interactions. On weekends, she enjoys exploring the Richmond and surrounding areas with her family.

Nao Hagiwara, Ph.D. Health psychology program

Nao Hagiwara, Ph.D., joined the health psychology program in August as an assistant professor and will also be affiliated with the social psychology program. She received her doctorate in social/ personality psychology from Michigan State University and her postdoctoral training in health disparities research at Karmanos Cancer Institute, Wayne State University School of Medicine. Her research strength is carrying and bridging basic social psychology and applied health research. In basic social psychology research, she investigates the underlying mechanisms involved in stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination by using both traditional social psychological and social cognitive research methods. In applied health research, she examines social psychological factors that contribute to inequality in health status and health care among socially disadvantaged groups. Hagiwara has a NIH grant to examine how patients’ and physicians’ racial attitudes simultaneously influence their affect and behavior during racially discordant medical interactions between black patients and

Elijah Christman, M.B.A. Program support technician

Christman joined our fiscal office in July. He comes to us after six years with VCU Libraries as a senior fiscal technician. Christman reports that he sought out this position so that he could learn more about grants management and eventually move up within the fiscal ranks. A Midlothian, Va., native, he attended Huguenot Academy and earned his bachelor’s degree in business from U.Va.-Wise and an M.B.A. from Averett. Outside of work, his main passion is photography - check out his Flickr stream and reports spending far too much of his VCU earnings on cameras and the accompanying equipment! A self-reported "spice snob," he is also a wonderful cook with a particular penchant for baking, especially bundt cakes. Please join us in extending Christman a warm welcome to the department!


Alumni Updates Sabrina Squire (B.S. ‘76) is a news anchor for Richmond’s NBC12 station. Squire returned to campus recently to address incoming freshmen at the College of Humanities and Sciences’ Welcome Week Major Mixer in the Commonwealth Ballrooms in the student commons. She also helped Dean James Coleman give away prizes including an autographed VCU basketball. Click here to read the text of her remarks to students. Dr. Hank Gonner (M.S. ‘80), D.Min., retired in July 2012 as director of spiritual care at St. Joseph Medical Center in Reading, Penn., and now lives in the Crossridge community in Glen Allen, Va., with his wife, Julie, a fellow native Richmonder. They will be near their son, Andy, a Long and Foster realtor; daughter Charlotte Gilman, a registered nurse at the VCU Medical Center; and two grandchildren. Dr. Kimberley Rowan (Ph.D. ‘07) is settled in to her family’s own home in Bon Air and is enjoying reconnecting with Richmond after several years in rurual southeast Georgia. Daughter Lilly is now 18 months old, and “boy is she cute!” She is planning to join Commonwealth Counseling Associates in the upcoming months as a clinical psychologist in their group practice. Catherine Kirk (B.S.‘08) recently received her master’s in public health from the University of Michigan and has just taken a position with the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University's School of Public Health. As a project manager for the Research Program on Children and Global Adversity, she will be piloting an intervention aiming to prevent mental health issues in children whose families are affected by HIV/AIDS in rural Rwanda. In sub-Saharan Africa, services to treat mental health problems are extremely limited, and this pilot project focusing on prevention is one of the first of its kind in Africa.

Catherine Kirk (B.S.‘08)

What’s YOUR Update? Click HERE Sabrina Squire (B.S. ‘76) poses with Katharine Stoddard at Welcome Week. Stoddard is our department’s assistant director of academic advising. Page 5


Research Spotlight:

by Rosalie Corona, Ph.D.

Can Parents Help Prevent Youth Tobacco Use? An Evaluation of Two Evidence-Based Parenting Programs in prevention programs. Dishion and colleagues developed the Family Check Up arents can influence their adoles(FCU), a three-session, strength-based cents’ health through modeling healthy family assessment that uses motivational behaviors (e.g., not smoking), parenting interviewing to motivate caregivers to practices (e.g., monitoring their chilimprove their parenting behaviors and dren’s activities) and by talking with engage in family-based services (Dishion adolescents about risk behaviors. Parents & Kavanagh, 2003; Dishion & Stormare in a unique position to promote ado- shak, 2007; Shaw et al., 2006). The FCU lescent health because they can talk to has shown promise for changing parenttheir adolescents about risk behaviors ing behaviors and decreasing adolescent and decision-making early and repeatrisk behaviors (Connell et al., 2007; edly and can tailor conversations based Dishion et al., 2003; 2008). Advances on their child’s cognitive, social, emoalso have been made in the development tional and physical development of self-directed programs that deliver (Kotchick et al., 2001). Thus, programs intervention content through videos/ to help parents influence their adolesDVDs, CDs or the Web. Self-directed cents’ behaviors may have more persistent effects than youth-only programs. Although research has demonstrated the effectiveness of parenting programs in reducing adolescent risk behaviors and promoting adolescent health (e.g., Bauman et al., 2001; Dishion et al., 2002; Haggerty et al., 2007), engaging and retaining parents in prevention programs is not easy, particularly for families with limited resources. Parents encounter environmental barriers such as work-family conflicts, child-care issues and transportation barriers that make it difficult for them to attend parenting programs offered in school and community settings. As a result, programs often do not reach many families who could most benefit. Thus, there is a continued need for new strategies to engage parents in adolescent tobacco promotion efforts. Recently, researchers have identified the use of motivational interviewing techniques and technology as promising approaches to facilitate parent engagement

programs allow interventions to be more flexible so that parents can tailor the content and sequence of program ingredients. They are also more convenient as parents can complete the materials in the privacy of their homes at convenient times, thus overcoming scheduling, child -care and transportation issues associated with more traditional program formats. Self-directed programs such as Staying Connected with Your Teen have shown promise in engaging parents and reducing risk behaviors (e.g., Haggerty et al., 2007; Sanders et al., 2000). Together, these studies suggest the benefits of combining brief motivational interviewing

techniques and self-directed programs to engage and retain parents in preventive interventions aimed at promoting positive changes in parenting behavior and reducing youth problem behavior. The proposed project is designed to evaluate the effectiveness of combining these two strategies – motivational interviewing and a self-directed parenting program. The overall goal of the proposed project is to address this gap by determining whether implementation of these two evidence-based programs increases parental monitoring; improves parent-adolescent communication about tobacco use and the parent-child relationship; and consequently decreases adolescents’ tobacco use, intentions to use tobacco and other problem behaviors. This will be accomplished by collecting survey data from 80 parents and their adolescents who complete the family interventions and 80 control parents and adolescents. This three-year project is funded by the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth. The research team includes Rosalie Corona, Ph.D., principal investigator; Albert Farrell, Ph.D., co-investigator; Wendy Kliewer, Ph.D., co-investigator; Anna Yaros, Ph.D., project coordinator; and other members from the VCU Clark-Hill Institute for Positive Youth Development. Corona is an associate professor of health psychology (primary) and clinical psychology (secondary). Her general area of research focuses on health promotion and risk reduction among African American and Latino adolescents and adults. Page 6


y mother is in her 80's and is still driving . Though she has passed all the required driving exams, I have ridden with her enough to know that her poor vision is really affecting her driving ability. She has not had any wrecks but I feel it is only a matter of time before she hurts herself or someone else. I am sensitive to her need for mobility and independence , but feel the risks of her staying on the road outweigh these needs . How might I best talk to her about this while being sensitive to her needs and yet assertive about the action needed? Answer submitted by Andrea Shamaskin, M.S. Center for Psychological Services and Development,

Your question reminds me of one of my favorite movies—Driving Miss 612-620 N. Lombardy St. Daisy. Yes, driving restrictions for older adults are a tough issue to talk about, but are nevertheless an important issue. Aside from poor vision, older adults also tend to have slower reaction times and poorer physical strength (grip strength on the wheel), which can have a role in accidents. One thing to keep in mind is that although teenagers are more likely to be involved in crashes, crashes with older adults are more likely to be fatal because their bodies and physical health are (usually) already compromised. Also, for many older adults, independent driving is the main thing keeping them from needing to move into an assisted living facility. Relying on community programs for help with groceries, errands, etc. can be challenging and depends on socioeconomic status and other resources. It would be good for you to approach the conversation from an "I'm concerned about your well-being and I want to help" perspective. Also, from a team point-of-view, ask your mother how she will know when it is time for her to give up driving. What will be the signs, and are there stages of decline that would indicate potentially dangerous driving? Additionally, you can start talking about some basic limitations that would increase safety, such as not driving at night, in poor weather or during high-traffic areas/times of day. If you are already at the point where you are thinking that it really is time to take away the keys, you can ask your mother questions like, "It seems like driving is tougher than it used to be. What do you think?" Or perhaps, "What things have we done that have helped you with your driving over the past few years? Do you think they are still working well?" It may also be good for your family to try a temporary restricted driving period for 2-3 weeks or so. During this period, your mother agrees not to drive, but will instead rely on family or friends to drive her to various activities and appointments. This can be a good test phase to see whether your mother feels like her independence is maintained, but it can also be good for the family (usually the adult children) to get a sense of whether it will be too burdensome or time consuming to do this on a daily basis. After the test period, it will be good to have another conversation troubleshooting how it went, what worked well, what didn't, etc. This can at least be a temporary solution, and you and your mother can then decide whether a more consistent source of support or assistance is necessary.

What’s on YOUR mind? Send your question anonymously by clicking HERE and it will be considered for our e-magazine’s next issue. Andrea Shamaskin, M.S., is a doctoral candidate in clinical psychology whose research interests are geropsychology, resilience and adjustment to chronic illness.


While the intervention services provided will end at the completion of the fall semester, Langberg plans to follow the academic performance of the students who receive the intervention during the winter/spring semester. If the fieldwork practicum experience is successful both from a training perspective and from an intervention/ support services perspective, Langberg hopes to offer similar experiences in future years, as well as to publish the work in research journals. The ultimate goal is to develop and refine a peer mentoring intervention model that is evidence-based and that can be disseminated to other college campuses.

What is service-learning? Service-learning at VCU is a coursebased, credit-bearing educational experience in which students participate in an organized service activity that meets community-identified needs. This collaborative teaching and learning strategy is designed to promote and encourage course content, personal growth and civic engagement. Typically, a service-learning course requires a minimum of 15 hours of service with selected nonprofit and communitybased organizations or schools.

Courtesy of VCU Division of Community Engagement

his fall, Joshua M. Langberg, Ph.D., assistant professor in the clinical program, will be teaching a new fieldwork practicum course. The course is specifically designed for junior and senior psychology majors who are seeking to gain clinical experience before pursuing graduate training in the field. The fieldwork practicum is unique in that it benefits both psychology graduate students and incoming freshmen. Specifically, students who enroll will be trained to serve as peer mentors, providing intervention and support services to incoming freshmen at risk for academic difficulties. Each student enrolled in the practicum will work individually with at least two incoming freshmen to teach them skills related to organization and time management as well as study and note-taking strategies. Langberg originally received federal funding from the Institute for Education Sciences and the National Institutes of Mental Health to develop and evaluate these interventions for use with younger adolescents. However, given the importance of organization and time-management skills for academic success in college, he recently adapted these interventions for implementation at VCU. The students who enroll in the practicum will receive weekly group and individual supervision as well as a weekly didactic instruction. These students will receive extensive training in using motivational interviewing techniques to facilitate behavior change as well as in the implementation of organization and time-management interventions. For didactic experiences, the students will be asked to review and critique the current research literature on interventions to support the academic performance of college students. The freshmen who enroll to receive the interventions will meet with their peer mentor twice weekly for the entire fall semester. They will set academic goals and will outline steps and strategies to achieve those goals.

Visit the service-learning website.

Joshua Langberg, Ph.D., Instructor for new fieldwork practicum course testing the efficacy of a peer mentoring program for freshmen at risk for academic difficulties

Page 8


he 18 students in a summer offering of the course, “Experimental Methods in Psychology,” found themselves, quite literally, “out in the woods.” This version of the “Research Methods” class (subtitled “Human Behavior in the Parks”) was modified to meet the criteria for a VCU servicelearning experience. The students worked in collaboration with Ralph White, manager of the city of Richmond’s James River Park System, and select members of a local nonprofit organization, the Friends of the James River Park. The students were engaged to meet an identified community need in that they were tasked with counting and collecting interview data from JRPS visitors.

city of Richmond invaluable information – especially in light of White’s upcoming retirement and the city’s release of the Riverfront Master Plan.

This project represented an expedited team effort among the following key individuals: Victoria Shivy, Ph.D., instructor of record and associate professor of counselVictoria Shivy, Ph.D. ing psychology for the Department of Psychology; Lynn Pelco, Ph.D., program director of service learning in the VCU Division of Community Engagement; Linda Zyzniewski, Ph.D., director of undergraduate programs And, collect data they did! Students were out in the parks dur- for the Department of Psychology; Monika Markowitz, Ph.D., ing high-usage times, such as Memorial Day weekend, and on director of Office of Research Compliance & Education; and Todd Hillhouse, M.S., course GTA. regular weekdays, often as early as 6 a.m. They talked with . dog walkers, runners, bicyclists, kayakers and fishermen. They even observed a baptism in the James River. The stuShivy is an associate professor of counseling psychology. Her redents generated a great deal of enthusiasm and excitement in search interests examine the degree to which occupationally-oriented counting more than 10,000 people in the parks and in gathering perceptions and performance vary as a function of select demothe perceptions of the parks from more than 900 park visitors. graphic, cognitive and socioemotional variables. One finding was that parking and litter were big concerns, whereas access to the James River and urban wilderness areas were seen as major city assets. Each student spent about two hours learning about the nature, importance and needs of the park system in the classroom from White and the Friends of the James River Park organization. They spent about 15 hours in the field collecting data from park visitors and then about 6 hours entering data into a database. Additionally, each student posed an actual research question related to the data (e.g., “Is the average age of park users at the Pony Pasture area younger or older than the average age of park users at Belle Isle?”) and reported on the answer during a final class meeting held at the park system’s headquarters with White, FoJRP board members and other Richmond personnel in attendance. Near the end of the project, students reflected on their course experiences in a series of graded reflection papers. By conducting an actual research project, the students received a deeper and more tangible understanding of research methods. The survey instrument used by students was consistent with measures developed and deployed in the U.S. National Park System. The resulting data will offer the James River Park System, FoJRP and the

Service-learning in action in the James River Park System Photo by Mike Porter, VCU Office of Public Affairs.

Seniors Caitlin O’Fallon and Ryan Mitchell surveyed James River Park System visitors near Belle Isle on June 8 for their experimental methods service learning class.


My Voyage around the World by Faye Belgrave, Ph.D.

W

hen I was first asked to teach for Semester at Sea, I thought, “Why not? What a wonderful way to cruise around the world!” I would get the chance to visit some of the mustsee countries I had not yet visited including Vietnam, Brazil and India. And, I would return to countries I had enjoyed visiting before – Ghana and South Africa. The spring 2012 voyage included stops in the Bahamas, Dominica, Brazil, Ghana, South Africa, Mauritius, India, Singapore, Vietnam, Hong Kong, China, Japan and Hawaii. Our stops ranged from one to six days. However, this voyage was not a cruise! I did not have five-course meals, stay up all night dancing and singing karaoke or get luxurious spa treatments! By contrast, I was frequently teaching at 8 a.m., seeing students run from the classroom because of sea sickness and constantly adjusting to the hectic and ever-changing daily schedule. Before beginning the journey, I thought I would have much more discretionary time (think no shopping, no cooking, no cleaning, no laundry, etc.) and I had planned to work on several writing projects. The very slow Internet quickly dispelled this idea along with the hectic schedule. In spite of these inconveniences, this academic voyage was one of the most meaningful experiences in my professional career. I learned a lot about others and a bit about myself during this voyage. Page 10

Faye Belgrave in Shanghai

accompanied me on this trip, and w e excitedly got off the bus to be welcomed into the village with dancing, speeches and introductions to the chief and elders. I even danced with the students and the locals. There is a saying in Africa, “You can’t sit down while the music is playing.” Following this, we participated in a naming ceremony in which we were all given African names based on the day of the week in which we were born and our personality. My name was Akosua Nutifafa. Akosua means I was born on a Sunday and Nutifafa means “peace.” I can honestly say at that time I have never felt more welcome in any place and by any people in my life. Although I must say that the hospitality and generosity in several other ports were also very special. I experienced several other memorable events and though they were not all this positive, I learned a lot and appreciated each and every one of them.

What did I do? I taught classes in cross -cultural psychology and AfricanAmerican psychology. I also accompanied students on faculty-led field trips. These included trips to schools, to children’s orphanages, to local villages and to clinics/medical facilities. Additionally, I contributed to shipboard life by informally mentoring students and giving a lecture or two. For example, I facilitated a cross-cultural activity, spoke during a Black History Month celebration and contributed to a session on careers in psychology, among several other activi- What did I learn? This article is not ties. long enough to recite all that I learned through observing, reading and listening The field trips were wonderful ways to over these 3 ½ months. Some were sigimmerse myself – at least for a little nificant and thought-provoking – some while – in the culture of the country I was visiting. One of my most memora- were trivial. Since I had traveled previble field trips was a visit to the Torgorme ously to several underdeveloped counVillage in Ghana. The village was about tries, I knew first of all that being an American (in many countries) bought me an hour away from Accra. As our bus lots of privileges (and perhaps undepulled into the village, we were met by children running toward and then along- served respect). In most countries, I side the bus. There was drumming, clap- found the people respectful, helpful and ping and excitement at seeing us! We felt friendly. The people in Japan perhaps best exemplified this. For example, one it! About 50 Semester at Sea students


mother and daughter walked with me for about 10 minutes in the rain to show me exactly where my train was. In India, several people asked me about my family, and while initially I thought this a bit unusual, it made sense in the context of the strong family ties in this culture. In Vietnam, I especially enjoyed my visit to a kindergarten where children were very disciplined and respectful of their teachers. I remembered thinking of how hostile some of us are when someone comes to our country and cannot speak English and how if we all took just a little time to help that confused-looking person, we might just make steps toward improving our diplomatic relationships with other countries.

“I think most of all, I learned to listen and look.” and played pretty much the same as they do in this country. Most everyone I talked to valued education, and parents wanted the best for their children.

I also observed what would be considered violations of human and civil rights in this country. For example, it is a criminal act to be in same-sex relationships in several of the countries we visited. LGBT students had to be cautioned not I observed how people from collective to display behaviors that indicated that and communal cultures behave compared they were LGBT. In several countries, with people like us who are from an indi- women had considerably less power in vidualistic culture. I saw how life rerelationships and in society and little revolved around tribal groups, communicourse in cases of abuse. Poverty was ties and/or families where everyone con- rampant in many countries and there was tributed to the household; where decia vast difference between the poor sions about marriage are made by parmasses and the very small number of ents, such as in India, because parents wealthy people (maybe this last one is “know best.” I observed that often sev- not so different from in this country). I also observed some of the challenges students in Asian and African countries went through because of the incredible level of competition they face to achieve higher education. I was saddened to see young children and very young adolescent mothers with HIV in South Africa. At the same time, I became more aware of the efforts that are now being Belgrave with students in Hong Kong enacted to prevent and eral family members lived in the same treat HIV. In South Africa, I also saw house, and that in many Asian cultures, it continued signs of racial oppression as I is the son’s responsibility to take care of observed black townships (one had close parents in their elder years. I observed to 1 million people) that had very little similarities, too. Children were children infrastructure for basic things such as

water and electricity, whereas a mall close to where our ship docked where mostly white people shopped was, quite frankly, more upscale than any I have seen in Richmond. Throughout the voyage, I met dedicated men and women who were working hard to make a difference in their communities. I think most of all, I learned to listen and look. Check out Semester at Sea: See details on this academic program I would definitely recommend to students. While the fees are more than what a semester would cost at VCU, scholarships and work-study opportunities are available to defray some of the cost. The schedule is demanding, as students take up to four academic classes and have a tremendous amount of field work. Many of the students participated in service projects that ranged from feeding children at orphanages to building houses in a village to helping out in local schools. All of the students I talked to valued this experience. Some referred to it as lifechanging.” Many continue to work on behalf of service projects initiated because of being in a particular country. Faculty and graduate students might also be interested in working for Semester at Sea. There were several graduate students who served as resident directors. If funding prohibits this type of cultural immersion, I would recommend that students visit at least one country while in college. I don’t think you have been educated until you leave the United States.

Belgrave is a professor of social psychology (primary) and health psychology (secondary). She also directs the Center for Cultural Experiences in Prevention. Her work is community and intervention focused and attends to aspects of culture (gender, ethnicity, age, and place, etc.) to promote well-being among African-American youth and young adults. Page 11


Graduate Student Spotlight Katie Taylor, Developmental Program atherine “Katie” Taylor is a fourth-year graduate student in the developmental program. Born and raised in Richmond, Va., Taylor continued her education close to home at Virginia Tech , where she graduated with degrees in human development and psychology in 2008. Following graduation, she moved to Richmond to pursue a teaching position through the HeadStart Program at the local YWCA. This experience led to her initial interest in the effects of violence exposure and violence prevention. To continue to pursue those interests, Taylor applied to work under Terri Sullivan, Ph.D., in the developmental program. Since Taylor began graduate school, she has worked on several projects through the Clark-Hill Institute for Positive Youth Development – of which Sullivan is part of the research team – including Project COPE, an Academic Center for Excellence grant from the Centers for Disease Control and a grant through the Institute of Education Sciences. For the past two years, she has spent most of her time working on the IES grant, which involves implementing and evaluating violence-prevention programs for youth with and without disabilities in a couple of middle schools in the city of Richmond. She has enjoyed working on this project because it has allowed her to delve deeper into violence prevention and prevention research as well as school-based research. In addition, she has learned more about the benefits and challenges involved in working with youth with disabilities. Taylor’s experiences working on this particular project have contributed to a growing interest in youth with disabilities, which is why she chose to become a Va-LEND trainee (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Program). She participated in LEND last year and will continue to work toward completion of the train-

by Gillian Leibach

ing program this academic year. Overall, she says, “it has been a wonderful experience…I have learned so much about specific disabilities, working with families who have a child with a disability, and the role of health professionals in their lives.” Through this program, Taylor has also had the opportunity to collaborate with other professionals in a variety of fields, as well as the families touched by disabilities themselves. For the current academic year, she plans to focus on her dissertation, which will examine the longitudinal association between dating violence victimization and externalizing behavior, and to examine peer deviancy as a moderator of these relations. She initially became interested in youth dating violence after collaborating on several qualitative manuscripts that examined adolescent dating experiences. Taylor is planning to submit a grant to the National Institute of Justice in the spring to fund her dissertation with the hope that she can continue to support her work in the field of adolescent dating violence, including the predictors, outcomes and risk and protective factors. When she is not writing, studying, reading and working on all of her projects, Taylor likes to spend much of her time playing with her dog, Marina, a little pit bull mix. Most of her family and friends still live in Richmond, a fact she cherishes because she gets to spend a lot of time with them. She also enjoys watching “good” TV shows, playing and watching tennis and painting – that is, when she’s not wearing her graduate student hat.

Gillian Leibach is a second-year graduate student in the counseling program.

Did You Know? Our department has the largest doctoral program at VCU and the second-largest undergraduate major at VCU. We offer 4 doctoral programs: clinical, counseling, health and experimental (within experimental are biopsychology, developmental and social). We have more than 1,600 undergraduate majors, more than 120 graduate students and 41 full-time faculty. Last year, our faculty published more than 130 articles and chapters, and 247 of our undergraduates participated in research internships.


Undergraduate Student Spotlight Latessa “Miracle” Allums

Article by Katharine Stoddard bile application. She also helped with free HIV/AIDS testing dates in collaboration with the Fan Free Clinic as well as “edu-tainment” events designed to reach the target audience.

atessa “Miracle” Allums is currently a senior studying psychology with a minor in Spanish. She hails from Yonkers, N.Y., a small city that dances on the border of the Bronx. She hit the ground running in 2009 by getting involved with numerous organizations and by volunteering her time with the When asked about her favorite courses, Allums enthusiastiVCU student life community as well as the greater Richmond cally endorses both her Social Psychology and Interpersonal community. She has been a part of the Relations courses with Jody Davis, Ph.D. Monroe Park Campus Student Govern“I learned so much about how to incorpoment Association for three consecutive “Sometimes I tell rate what I've learned into creating better years and most recently served as the daily living for myself and those I encounpeople I was raised chair of Senate. ter.” by wild wolves and Allums loves giving back to those around After graduation, Allums plans to attend her by volunteering with the Fan Free brought into graduate school for either clinical or social Clinic and serving as a peer mentor to psychology. She hopes to one day own civilization when I freshmen. In fall 2010, Allums took a serand become the facilitator of a treatment vice learning course with Seth Leibowitz, was 3. center that focuses on physical and mental Ph.D., where she served as a mentor at health with a spiritual foundation that The reactions are Cosby High School. After completing the serves underprivileged communities. course, she continued serving by working hilarious!” And if you are wondering about how she with the Guatemala Arts and Education might have received the wonderful name, Study Abroad program as a teaching asMiracle, her father named her that because “he thought my sistant. This year, Allums plans to be involved as an active member of the Students Today Alumni Tomorrow program, as mother didn't want children but BOOM, there I was! Sometimes I tell people I was raised by wild wolves and brought a resident assistant and as president of Ladies in Faith Tointo civilization when I was 3. The reactions are hilarious!” gether, a spiritually based organization focused on fostering sisterhood while building spiritual relationships through community engagement.

If you see her around, please say hello! She loves meeting new people, going on adventures and building long-lasting Currently in her second semester of a research internship with bonds and friendships. She says she adores spending time Faye Belgrave, Ph.D., in the Center for Cultural Experiences in laughing with her family and friends as they are a part of her Prevention, Allums has spent her time conducting research on foundation and keep her grounded. effective ways to reach, educate and engage a targeted audience for The Raise 5 Project, an HIV/AIDS prevention and Katharine Stoddard is the assistant director of awareness group aimed at African-American students. As part academic advising. of her experience, she helped design a website, logo and mo-

Interested in reading our department’s newsletter archives?

Page 13


Department News and Updates Heather Jones, Ph.D., uring 2011-12, our faculty reassistant proceived nearly $5.7 million in new grant fessor in the funding, including $2.8 million from the clinical proNational Institutes of Health in fiscal gram, was reyear 2012 and $1.3 million from the CenAl Farrell and colleagues receive the Nan Tobler cently quoted ters for Disease Control and Prevention Award at recent Society for Prevention Science Heather Jones in a Richmond to continue to fund an Academic Center Research convention. of Excellence in Youth Violence Preven- Times-Dispatch article on ADHD Left to right. David Henry, Ph.D.; Amie Bettencourt, in the workplace. tion. Twelve faculty were principal inPh.D.; Al Farrell, Ph.D.; and SPR President vestigators on major federal grants from Kathleen Ingram, Deborah Gorman–Smith, Ph.D. the NIH, Substance Abuse and Mental Ph.D., has joined the Al Farrell, Ph.D., professor in the cliniHealth Services Administration, CDC or College of Humanical program (pictured above), received Department of Education. ties and Sciences’ the Nan Tobler Award for Review of the dean’s office as asFor the 2012-13 Prevention Science Literature for contrischool year, we wel- sistant dean of acabutions to the summarization or articulacome back from sab- demic affairs. tion of the empirical evidence relevant to Though her departbatical Suzanne Kathy Ingram prevention science at a recent convention Mazzeo, Ph.D., pro- mental load is refor the Society for Prevention Science fessor in the counsel- duced, Ingram will continue to work in Research. He received the award with his psychology, where she is an associate ing program, and colleague David Henry from the UniverMary Loos Scott Vrana, Ph.D., professor in the counseling program. sity of Illinois and his former student Read the dean’s welcome message for professor in the clinical program . We Amie Bettencourt who is currently at are also glad to have Mary Loos, Ph.D., Ingram. Johns Hopkins. Read the article for back on this side of campus after having Caroline Lavelock, a which they were honored. served as interim director of VCU’s Instidoctoral student in Time magazine retute for Drug and Alcohol Studies for a the counseling procently interviewed gram, won the 2012 year. Also returning is Shawn Utsey, Ph.D., who spent the spring 2012 semesStudent Affiliates of Joshua Langberg, Ph.D., assistant ter abroad as a visiting scholar at one of 17 First Time Naprofessor in the cliniVCU’s international partner universities, tional Convention cal program, about an University of Ghana. Caroline Lavelock Attendee Award. ADHD research study Division 17 of the Josh Langberg Congratulations to that he reviewed in his APA is counseling psychology. The Bruce Rybarczyk, own recent publication. Read the Time award is competitive and includes a Ph.D., director of waiver of the registration fee and recog- article. training for the clininition at the 120th Annual APA National Ev Worthington, cal program, who Ph.D., professor in the Convention in Orlando. Lavelock is curwas recently named counseling program, rently collecting data for her thesis on the fellow of APA’s and colleagues from Bruce Rybarczyk efficacy of workbook interventions to Division 22 Georgia State Univerpromote a number of virtues and hopes to (Rehabilitation Psychology) in recognisity (Don Davis, Kris tion of his scholarly contributions to this present a religious adaptation of the interVarjas and Joel vention at the Symposium for Religious field. Ev Worthington Meyers) and University and Spiritual Interventions while attendof North Texas (Joshua Hook) have won ing the national convention. Page 14


Department News and Updates a $198,000 research grant from the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley through their Expanding the Science and Practice of Gratitude initiative. Davis and Hook are recent alumni of the counseling program (2011, 2010, respectively). The project involves a two-year longitudinal study of middle school students in Atlanta. The primary purpose of the project is to examine a model that links gratitude to bullying related outcomes via social connectedness and moral disengagement.

iPad in her work there and will later share her experiences with the CTE. Islam will also help the CPSD plan for future uses of the iPad in clinical settings.

Staci Carr

New research findings! Read about some new findings from our department’s investigators. A sampling of the research questions addressed are: Does caregiver quality of life in pediatric asthma differ by ethnic group? Nadia Islam

Staci Carr, graduate student in the developmental program, was recently quoted in the Richmond Times-Dispatch in an article about how autism affects interpersonal relationships.

Our 2011-12 faculty awards were announced at this school year’s first faculty meeting. To be considered for an award, Jeff Green Jody Davis a faculty member must not yet be a full professor and must demonstrate excelFindings from research examining the “third-party forgiveness effect” were re- lence in one of three areas - teaching, research or service. The recipients for cently featured by Science of Relation2011-12 are Rosalie Corona, Ph.D., for ships in an article applying relationship science to characters from HBO’s popu- teaching, Terri Sullivan, Ph.D., for research and Eric Benotsch, Ph.D., for lar TV show “True Blood.” The thirdservice. We thank them all for their party forgiveness effect is the tendency for individuals who are close friends with dedication and efforts. a victim of a betrayal (third parties) to be less forgiving of the betrayal compared with the victims themselves. This research comes to us from Jeff Green, Ph.D.,and Jody Davis, Ph.D., both associate professors in the social program, and Jeni Burnette, Ph.D., assistant professor of psychology at the University of Richmond and alumna of our own social program. Read the article now. VCU's Center for Teaching Excellence has generously loaned the CPSD two iPads to explore technology's use in clinical settings. Third-year clinical child doctoral student, Nadia Islam, is using an

Does racial bias affect patientphysician interactions? Do bullies and victims have different physiological responses to stress? How do romantic partners promote or prevent exploring new places and activities? Does parental monitoring impact health outcomes for teenagers with type 1 diabetes? Do older adults or younger adults adjust better to life after heart transplant? If mindful people are more willing to explore whatever happens in the present, even if it is uncomfortable, will they show less defensiveness when their sense of self is threatened by a confrontation with their own mortality? Why is it that both cognitive behavioral therapy and more typical treatments lead to strong outcomes for kids?

Rosalie Corona, Ph.D.

Terri Sullivan, Ph.D.

Eric Benotsch, Ph.D.

2011-12 recipient of VCU Psychology’s Teaching Award

2011-12 recipient of VCU Psychology’s Research Award

2011-12 recipient of VCU Psychology’s Service Award

Page 15


Congratulations, August 2012 Graduates! Doctor of Philosophy Cassie Brode William Clay Jessye Cohen-Filipic Kathryn Conley Nicole Fischer Aubrey Gartner Kristina Hood Shannon Hourigan Laura Kiken Jennifer Lamanna Kari Morgan-Struemph Kelly Pugh Neeraja Ravindran Kasey Serdar Courtney Smith Elizabeth Wheeler Master of Science Timothy Donahue Thomas Moore Kevin Webster Jacqueline Woods Bachelor of Science Sylvia Abbott Lillian Adams Shanna Akanbi Jamie Bender Sarah Brown

Nicole Burns Angela Carroll Nikita Dailey Jennifer Depuy Janice Desmangles Marissa Downs Alicia Drake Nida Ehsan Sawsan Eltayeb Roberta Falk Danielle Farruggio Janna Fayson Ariana Fragoso Jameisha Fuller Whitney Goddard Anthony Granato Hailey Griffin Joel Hager Chelsea Hatchett Shayna Hinnant Agathe Hoffer-Schaefer Catherine Hughes Gufran Jarrar Clinton Johnson Faith Johnson Dominique Jones Sukhjit Kaur Michelle Kelley Anne Kiley Jung Kim

Kelli Kim-Eng Victoria Lang Nina Lekwuwa Tyler Luck Latoya Lyttle Stephanie Mackey Gloria Marin Conor McAnulty Kevin McKee Ryan Mitchell Richard Momii Chun Mui Chutima Nakronsri Najmeh Nekoueian Patrick Paez Gloria Park Shivani Parmar Beraly Rivera Matthew Rose Nagham Sadek Sue Salgado Hillary Sarich Renee Shipp Asia Southerland Casey Terry Kathleen Tisdale Adrian Weselin Kelly White David Williams


Photo by Elijah Christman

Happy Fall to All ! Virginia Commonwealth University College of Humanities and Sciences Department of Psychology 806 W. Franklin St. P.O. Box 842018 Richmond, VA 23284-2018 Phone: 804-828-1193 Fax: 804-828-2237 Web address: www.psychology.vcu.edu/ Newsletter comments: Jennifer Elswick, jlelswick@vcu.edu Thanks to Melanie Irvin (B.S. ’96/MC) in Development and Alumni Relations for her editing assistance! Virginia Commonwealth University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action university providing access to education and employment without regard to age, race, color, national origin, gender, religion, sexual orientation, veteran’s status, political affiliation or disability.

VCU Psychology - Fall 2012 E-magazine  

All the latest news and updates from VCU's Department of Psychology.

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you