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Featured Alumni

Dr. Andres G. Viana

Child Clinical Psychologist
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Dr. Andres G. Viana

Andres G. Viana, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor and Director of Childhood Anxiety Disorders Research in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at the University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC). Dr. Viana is also a faculty member of the Mississippi Psychology Residency (Internship) Training Program—a consortium between the Division of Psychology at UMMC and the Psychology Division of the Mental Health Service at the G.V. Sonny Montgomery VA Medical Center. Currently funded by an intramural grant from the University of Mississippi Medical Center, Dr. Viana's program of research focuses on the study and assessment of risk factors for childhood anxiety disorders, with an emphasis on temperamental, cognitive, and parenting factors that may exacerbate anxiety, as well as the nature of the covariation among these processes. More recently, Dr. Viana's research has focused on the relationship between parental and child information processing styles, and how this association may influence the development, expression, and maintenance of fear and anxiety in children.

Dr. Viana was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela. After one year of medical school at the Universidad Central de Venezuela, Dr. Viana decided that psychology was a better fit. However, the options and future prospects in his native country were limited. At the age of 18, he seized on an opportunity to move to the United States to pursue his interests in psychology. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree (magna cum laude) from Florida International University in Miami, Florida, and then moved north to Penn State country to pursue graduate studies. He went on to obtain a Master of Science in child clinical psychology in 2007 and a doctorate in child clinical psychology in 2011 from Penn State.

Dr. Viana has very fond memories about his time as a graduate student at Penn State, "the advice and mentoring I received—and continue to receive—from Penn State mentors have been crucial in helping me to grow as a researcher and, most importantly, as a human being." "The opportunities I had there are simply not available where I grew up; I am eternally grateful for the investment that Penn State and the Psychology faculty made in me; I will never forget it."

Dr. Viana and his wife, Mariana (also a Penn State graduate with a Master of Education degree) now live in Madison, Mississippi with their 4 month-old, Lorenzo, and their two dogs. He enjoys traveling, cooking, and exercising, although he is most excited about his new and most important role: being a dad.

Dana H. Born, Ph.D

Brigadier General in the USAF
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Dana H. Born, Ph.D

Dana H. Born, Ph.D., is a Brigadier General in the USAF, the highest ranking psychologist in the U.S. military and is currently serving as the Dean of the Faculty at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO. She is the first woman to serve as Dean and leads a 700+ member faculty in the design and instruction of more than 500 undergraduate courses for 4,400 cadets in 32 academic discipline. Additionally, General Born directs the operation of five support staff agencies and faculty resources of more than $300 million.

General Born earned a doctorate in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Penn State University in 1994. She also holds a Master of Science degree in experimental psychology from Trinity University and a Master of Arts degree in research psychology from the University of Melbourne. She graduated with distinction from the US Air Force Academy with a degree in behavioral science in 1983.

General Born has had a diverse military career. Prior to her current position, General Born served as a Squadron Commander, Aide and Speechwriter to two Secretaries of the Air Force, senior level policy analyst at the Pentagon and as a Foreign Exchange Officer to Australia. She was in command of the 11th Mission Support Squadron in Washington, DC during the September 11th terrorist attack on the Pentagon. Following the attack, she and her command orchestrated rescue and recovery efforts and the relocation of the Air Force's top commanders to an alternate Command Post. More remarkable, General Born performed these duties that day while not knowing the fate of her 4 month old and 3 year old daughters, who were at the Pentagon's daycare center at the time of the attack. Both children were unharmed.

General Born has a "joint" family. Her husband, Tim, is a US Naval Academy graduate and retired Marine. Her passions include hiking, running and skiing - which she and her family take full advantage of living at the footsteps of the Rocky Mountains.

Brittany Bloodhart

Harold K. Schilling Dean's Graduate Scholarship Winner
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Brittany Bloodhart

Brittany Bloodhart sees herself as a social psychologist whose goal is to do research that will create meaningful impacts on people's lives. She knew that she enjoyed learning about psychology even before college, but it wasn't until taking Social Psychology and Psychology of Gender that she realized that she wanted to spend the rest of her life understanding the psychology of social injustices like racism and sexism. She sought out Penn State because of the numerous faculty doing great work in this area, and because Penn State is one of only two schools in the country to offer a dual PhD in Psychology and Women's Studies. The overarching theme of her graduate research has been individuals' understanding, beliefs, and engagement in social justice and activism, particularly related to gender and climate change. Brittany has worked with Dr. Janet Swim to explore the psychological barriers to engagement in pro-environmental behavior and beliefs in climate change, in addition to understanding how environmental issues are related to feminist and justice concerns. Her dissertation is exploring how the fear of not having personal luxuries and privileges acts as a potential barrier to engagement in social justice action. In addition to the Harold K. Schilling Graduate Dean's Scholarship, Brittany has received Penn State's Research and Graduate Studies Office Dissertation Support Award, has been asked to present her research at numerous national conferences, and was named as runner-up for both the Geis Memorial Dissertation Award and the Hyde Graduate Research Grant, which fund national dissertation research relevant to feminist psychology.

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