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Student Achievements

Gray Vargas

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Gray Vargas

Gray Vargas was awarded an RGSO Dissertation Support Grant from the College of Liberal Arts to study functional connectivity in the brain of patients with Multiple Sclerosis and how this relates to depression symptoms.  Gray also won the best student poster award at the National Academy of Neuropsychology annual conference in 2013 for her poster entitled “Gray Matter Atrophy and Depression in Multiple Sclerosis.” Lastly, she also won 1st place in Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Graduate Student Exhibition at Penn State for her poster entitled “Positivity of Everyday Experiences Interacts with Social Support to Predict Depression in Multiple Sclerosis.” Gray received a B.A. in Psychology at Haverford College and is primarily focused on mood changes in neurological populations.  Gray just finished her fifth year in the Clinical Psychology program at Penn State and is starting her predoctoral internship at the Baltimore VA.

Indira Turney

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Indira Turney

Indira Turney received a National Science Foundation graduate fellowship to examine the Neural substrates underlying age-related increases in false memories, focusing on the relationship between false memories and the structure and function of the Prefrontal Cortex. She also received acceptance into the NIH funded Multimodal Neuroimaging Training Program to gain experience in various neuroimaging techniques with her main focus on DTI at the University of Pittsburgh, in collaboration with Carnegie Mellon University. Indira has just completed her first year cognitive psychology, working on false memory and aging in the Cognitive Aging and Neuroimaging Lab with Dr. Nancy Dennis. She graduated in 2011 from the University of the Virgin Islands, St. Croix (B.A. Psychology) and did a pre-doc at the University of Pittsburgh (Cognitive Neuroscience). Her goal is that her research will emphasize the association between cortical activity and human cognition and memory. In addition, she hopes to examine the effects of lifestyle factors on neurocognitive function and factors that encourage healthy aging in neurological populations. In her non-academic life she enjoys swimming, cooking, traveling and spending time with family and friends.

Christian Thoroughgood

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Christian Thoroughgood

Christian Thoroughgood received the Superior Teaching and Research (STAR) Award, which recognizes students who have excelled in all aspects of their graduate program. He is also the recipient of the Outstanding Publication by a Psychology Graduate Student Award for his significant contributions to the academic literature. Christian received his M.S. from Penn State and his B.A. in Psychology and Economics from the University of Maryland, College Park. His research interests include leadership (destructive leadership, follower susceptibilities, implicit leader and follower theories), aggression and counterproductive work behavior (abusive supervision, employee deviance), and diversity (gender, race, intersectional identities) in organizations. 

Lauren E. Szkodny

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Lauren E. Szkodny

Lauren E. Szkodny was awarded an International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies Student Research Grant and Research and Graduate Studies Office (RGSO) Dissertation Support Grant to examine intraindividual variability in posttraumatic symptomatology using an ecological momentary assessment (EMA) approach.  She also received the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) Anxiety Special Interest Group Student Poster Award for Outstanding Research in the Field of Anxiety Disorders for her investigation of dynamic worry and maladaptive thought patterns and their internal and external cues in an ecologically valid manner.  Lauren is entering her 7th year of study in the adult track of the clinical psychology doctoral program.  Her core graduate program of research, under the guidance of Dr. Michelle Newman, centers on enhancing assessment and measurement of anxiety and trauma-related processes through survey development and intensive repeated measures design.  Additional research interests include investigating the moderating effects of narcissism on the relationship between posttraumatic symptoms and interpersonal dysfunction.  Lauren received her B.A. in Psychology from Cornell University in 2005 and her M.S. in Psychology from Penn State University in 2010.

Lauren M. Sippel

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Lauren M. Sippel

Lauren M. Sippel received the Superior Teaching and Research Award and an award of Dissertation Support from the Research and Graduate Studies Office of the College of the Liberal Arts. Lauren is currently completing her clinical internship at the University of Mississippi Medical Center and Sonny (G.V.) Montgomery VAMC Consortium. She is primarily interested in the sequelae of trauma exposure, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and interpersonal difficulties. She received her B.A. in Psychology from Swarthmore College and her M.S. in Clinical Psychology from Penn State University. 

Michael Roche

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Michael Roche

Michael Roche is a fifth year clinical psychology student, mentored by Dr. Aaron Pincus. His research focuses on the intersection of personality assessment and ecological momentary assessment (EMA) of social processes. He was awarded the best clinical graduate student paper award (2013) for his manuscript (appearing in Personality Disorders: Theory, Research, and Treatment) pathological narcissism and interpersonal behavior in daily life. He also received 1st place in the Society for Personality Assessment poster session (2013), for his poster examining advancements of multi-level modeling to describe if-then affective signatures. His 2012 talk at the Society for Interpersonal Theory and Research (SITAR) convention discussed person-specific applications of longitudinal assessment of social processes, earning an honorable mention for the Jerry Wiggins Student Award for Outstanding Interpersonal Research. His 2013 talk at SITAR won the Jerry Wiggins Award. The talk described part of his dissertation: supporting the proposed changes to personality disorder assessment in DSM-5 (emphasizing a single dimension of self and interpersonal functioning) by demonstrating several theory driven measures capable of capturing this core of personality pathology.   

Kelsey Quigley

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Kelsey Quigley

Kelsey Quigley received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (NSF GRFP). This Fellowship funds three years of graduate-level research in the sciences. During her tenure, she will be investigating the ways in which children's early emotional environments influence the development of emotion, regulation, and corresponding physiological systems. Specifically, she is interested in the role of maternal-infant touch and skin-to-skin contact in communicating emotional information and facilitating early regulatory processes. She will be conducting this work primarily in the lab of my mentor, Dr. Ginger Moore; I will further pursue this line of research in Dr. Pamela Cole's lab. Currently, she is a rising second-year in the child clinical track. 

Giorgia Picci

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Giorgia Picci

Giorgia Picci received a National Science Foundation graduate fellowship to examine the pubertal contributions in the development of face recognition biases. Giorgia is a second-year graduate student in the developmental psychology area. She is primarily interested in how adolescence may present a unique developmental period for social information processing abilities (i.e. face processing) in both typically and atypically developing individuals. Giorgia received a B.A. in psychology at George Mason University in 2012. 

Alissa Parr

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Alissa Parr

Alissa Parr received the George C. Thornton, III Graduate Scholarship by the Society for Industrial-Organizational Psychology Foundation at the association’s annual conference in 2013.  This is an award provided to a doctoral student in I-O psychology who epitomizes the scientist/practitioner model.  Alissa interned at various consulting companies, including Development Dimensions International and ICF International, and engaged in research projects focused on leadership at work throughout her time at Penn State.  Alissa is a 5th year graduate student in I-O psychology.  She received her B.S. in Psychology from Eckerd College and M.S. in I-O Psychology from Penn State.    

Victoria Merritt

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Victoria Merritt

Victoria Merritt was awarded 3rd place in the Social and Behavioral Sciences for her poster entitled “Personality Factors and Post-Concussion Symptom Reporting at Baseline in Collegiate Athletes”in the 2013 Penn State University Graduate Student Exhibition.  Victoria just completed her second year in the clinical psychology doctoral program.  She is a student in Dr. Arnett’s neuropsychology lab and is studying sports-related concussion.  Victoria received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Minnesota.

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