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Graduate Office

Sherri Gilliland, Graduate Records



Department of Psychology 
125 Moore Building 
The Pennsylvania State University 
University Park, PA 16802-3106

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Graduate Students

Grad Students 2017 

We encourage our students to pursue their intellectual passions and master both traditional and innovative research methods.

Our students have received the following honors:

  • Awards and Honorable Mentions from the NSF Graduate Research Fellows Program
  • Harold K. Schilling Dean's Graduate Scholarship
  • Geis Memorial Award
  • Clara Mayo Grant from the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Graduate Fellowship
  • APA Travel Award and Society for Personality and Social Psychology Travel Award
  • Psi Chi Graduate Research Grant
  • The following Penn State Awards: Africana Research Center Award, Awards for excellence in the PSU Graduate Student Exhibition, Graduate Scholar Award, Liberal Arts RGSO Dissertation Support Award, Penn State Alumni Association Dissertation Award, and the Welch Nagle Award

They have also been selected to attend the Summer Institute in Social and Personality Psychology and the International Summer School in Affective Sciences.

Our Current Students:

Daniel Albohn

Dan works with Dr. Reg Adams in the Social Vision and Interpersonal Perception Lab. Broadly, his interests include emotion perception and emotion theory, links between person perception and psychophysiology, and the intersection of social psychology and vision science. One of his specific interests involves examining subtle emotion cues on the neutral face, and how the perception of a neutral face can change impression formation.

Julia Dahl

Julia Dahl studies social group identities and related processes. Primarily she studies the ways in which belonging to a social group influences important life outcomes (e.g., achievement, engagement in health-promoting and pro-social behaviors). Julia’s research examines related processes from two perspectives. First, she studies biases and prejudice people have towards certain group members. For example, when do gender and race-based stereotypes affect the achievement-related opportunities others give to women and underrepresented minority members? Second, she studies how stereotypes and identities shape people's own behavior. For example, how do gender stereotypes about men affect their achievement motivation or pro-environmental engagement?

Jonathan Gallegos

I see myself as a psychologist who is interested in understanding interpersonal conflict. Within this research umbrella I seek to understand two unique domains. The first encompasses work on identity, stereotyping, and power dynamics. My current work has focused mostly on examining masculinity as an identity, both in terms of men’s responses to personal transgressions of masculine etiquette (i.e., when they  lose their “good man” status), and examining variations in the conceptualization of masculinity. The second domain involves understanding emotion and how it functions within the framework of interpersonal conflict. For instance, understanding the shapes stigma can take, how it is delivered (e.g., implicitly), how people affectively respond, and the influence of that affect within interactions.

Carlos Garrido

I am a member of the Social Vision and Interpersonal Perception Laboratory at Penn State. At the current time, my research focuses on the manner by which people extract various different facial cues from faces to form a holistic impression of other people. In particular, I study cross-group perceptions of facial cues and the effects of intersectional statuses (e.g., age, gender, race, sexual orientation) on perceptual accuracy.  I also have an interest in expanding my methods for measuring human behavior to include social cognitive affective neuroscience methodology.

Nathan Geiger

Nathan is a graduate student working with Dr. Janet Swim to save the world.  He is interested in studying psychological reactions to and engagement with climate change and other current environmental issues.  As "wicked problems," many of these topics will require enormous human engagement to address but psychological and social mechanisms may act as barriers to prevent meaningful engagement with these topics.  Facilitating engagement with these topics and positive social change requires conducting research to understand and overcome psychosocial barriers to action.  Please visit my personal webpage for more information on my work. Nathan grew up in Austin, TX and still enjoys natural swimming holes, Tex-Mex food, the occasional cheap beer, and indie rock music.  He also enjoys urban farming, cycling, hiking, playing guitar, practicing Spanish, and hanging out with friends who have dogs. 

Ash Gillis

Ash is broadly interested perceptions of the natural environment and interventions aimed to build hazard- and disaster-resilient communities. Ash's current interests include 1) psychological processes involved in responding to changes in the natural environment, 2) spillover of pro-environmental behavior, and 3) community-focused solutions to preventing and addressing environmental problems. Ash works with Janet Swim and is a Graduate Research Fellow at Mt. Cuba Center focusing on community-based interventions to increase biodiversity in suburban neighborhoods through changes in residential landscaping behavior.

Danfei Hu

Danfei works with Dr. Karen Gasper in the Feelings, Behavior, and Information Processing lab. She is broadly interested in the cognitive and motivational components of emotional processing and emotion regulation. Current projects explore 1) how people control their emotions when bad things happen, and 2) how individuals’ beliefs about emotion impact their information processing and behavior.

Lizbeth Kim
Lizbeth is a dual-title student in Social Psychology and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Her research examines how stereotypes about gender and emotions influence perceptions of social activism and prejudice confrontations on social media. She is also interested in the effects of media representation of underrepresented groups on feelings of belonging and civic agency. Lizbeth received her B.A. in psychology from the University of California, Berkeley.

Mary Kruk

Mary Kruk is a doctoral candidate in Psychology and Women's Studies, working with Dr. Jes Matsick. Her research examines the experiences of people with stigmatized identities, with a focus on women, sexual minorities, and people of color. She is also interested in minority/majority group relations; in particular, the attitudes and perceptions of low status group members toward high status group members. Mary received her B.A. in Women's Studies from the University of Michigan in 2017. 

Mike Lengieza

Mike works with Dr. Janet Swim and is broadly interested promoting more positive treatment of the environment. Specifically, Mike’s research focuses on how the ways in which we think about, focus on, and define the self impact the way that we connect to and treat the environment. He is also interested in investigating these and related processes at both the explicit and implicit level, recognizing that the determinants of behavior are not always consciously accessible. Mike has an additional interest in understanding the factors that influence the experience of compassion for animals as well as moral judgments about their suffering.

Katherine Lewis

Katie’s research interests include gender, sexism, stigma, close relationships and self.  She works with Dr. Terri Vescio. Katie received her B.S. in Psychology from The Ohio State University in 2013 and worked as a lab manager for Dr. Jenny Crocker before beginning graduate school.  

Heather MacArthur

Heather MacArthur is a student in the dual-title Social Psychology and Women’s Studies PhD program and is advised by Stephanie Shields. Her research examines how beliefs about emotion are gendered (e.g., how do gender stereotypes influence our perceptions of others’ emotion?), the consequences of sexist language and humor (e.g., what impact do sexist language and jokes have on women and men?), and feminist history and theory in psychology. When not in the lab, Heather is usually seeking out live music, finding new art projects to work on, growing food, or making her best attempt to visit home in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Kaitlin McCormick-Huhn

Kaitlin McCormick-Huhn (personal website) is a dual-degree doctoral candidate in Psychology and Women’s Studies, working with Dr. Stephanie Shields. In her research she focuses on: a) the effects of stereotypes on perceptions of women's emotion in the workplace, b) bias-reducing interventions, and c) the use of feminist theories and methods (e.g., intersectionality theory) in psychological research. She previously received a B.A. in psychology from Boston University.

Lindsay Palmer

Lindsay is a graduate student pursuing her PhD in Social Psychology. She received her B.A. from the University of Virginia. Before entering graduate school, she worked as a research assistant and lab manager for Dr. Sophie Trawalter's Social Cognition and Behavior Laboratory. She is currently advised by Jes Matsick. Broadly, her research interests include: academic inclusion, prejudice and stigma.

Hyun Joon Park

Hyun Joon is interested in questions related to how social identity threats influence individuals from stigmatized social groups. Broadly, Hyun Joon's research focuses on 1) how belonging to a certain group (e.g. based on social status, gender, and race) leads group members to experience social identity threat; 2) how perceptions of stigmatization towards one's group influences psychological well-being and how individuals come to self-perceptions; 3) how to reduce the impact that stigma has upon group members; and 4) whether individuals who belong to different cultures differentially construct and cope with social identity threats. Hyun Joon works with Dr. Jonathan Cook and he graduated from Korea University with a double major in psychology and economics.

Michael Pasek

Michael researches the psychological and interpersonal consequences of negative stereotypes as they affect people from various stigmatized social groups. In particular, Michael seeks to extend social psychological theory on identity threat and stigma to include the study of religion and religious group membership. Michael is also interested in using longitudinal field-study methods to develop and test interventions designed to buffer individuals from social identity threats and their consequences. Michael works with Dr. Jonathan Cook, is a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, and is a graduate of Bates College. For more information, please see Michael's personal website.

Julian Scheffer

Julian is broadly interested in how motivation shapes moral behavior and moral judgment.  He is currently interested in the following areas: 1) Self-regulation of empathic responding using a motivated empathy framework, 2) Motivational factors that cause people to engage in prosocial or antisocial forms of behavior, and 3) Motivational processes that lead people to adopt moral and non-moral frames when judging the actions of others.  Throughout his work, Julian adopts methods from social psychology and social neuroscience approaches including neuropsychology and electrophysiology. You can view his website here

Nathaniel Schermerhorn

Nathaniel Schermerhorn studies power and masculinity as they relate to intergroup relationships. Primarily, he studies how power affects dynamics between marginalized group members and dominant group members as well as the stereotypes and inequalities that emerge and persist from these dynamics. Second, he applies the findings from power research to politics and social policies. Nathaniel has an emerging interest in how power also affects the relationship between members of one marginalized group with members from another marginalized group. Nathaniel completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Southern California, earned a Master’s in Public Administration from Penn State and now works under the guidance of Dr. Theresa Vescio as a member of the Power, Privilege, and Prejudice Lab.

Lauren Spencer

Lauren works with Karen Gasper in the Feelings, Behavior, and Information Processing lab studying affect and emotion. She is interested in the ways people regulate their mood- both consciously and unconsciously. Current projects examine how knowing an unpleasant task has to be done twice changes the initial task experience and how commiserating with others might make people feel better.

Victoria Spring

Victoria is broadly interested in empathy, particularly how empathy and moral judgment are constructed as the product of domain-general ingredients such as affect, learning, attention, and conceptualization. She is also interested in how intergroup dynamics influence one's propensity to approach or avoid empathic experience, and how we can use machine learning to develop moral robots. Her work is interdisciplinary, spanning social and cognitive psychology, neuroscience, engineering, and philosophy. Victoria works with Dr. Daryl Cameron.

Troy Steiner

I am working with Dr. Reginald Adams Jr. to research the influence of facial expressions and facial cues between social identities (i.e., sex and race) on person perception and perceptual mechanisms. Clearer understanding of the perceptual mechanisms involved in face perception can transform our understanding of social perception and clarify many everyday difficulties in face perception (e.g., the cross-race memory effect, and the increased difficulty to identify cross-group expressions). I am enrolled in the Specialization in Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience (SCAN) program and the use of various neuroscience methodologies (e.g., fMRI, MEG) can help elucidate the lateralized differences in face perception. Once more is understood, my future aims are to study methods to alleviate these common difficulties. In my spare time, I enjoy hiking, running, ocean-kayaking, and playing the devil’s advocate in debates.

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