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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 Fall 2019

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.

Terri Frasca

Terri works with Dr. Stephanie Shields and is a dual-title student in the Psychology and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies programs. She broadly studies the experiences of women in the workplace through an intersectional framework, and in turn plans to develop interventions to combat gender inequality. Terri is particularly interested in the factors that influence women’s decisions to negotiate, as well as how to improve perceptions of women who do so. Terri received her B.S. from UNC-Chapel Hill and was the lab manager of the Identity and Diversity Lab at Duke University under Dr. Sarah Gaither for two years.

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. You can read more about Ash's research here:

Eliana Hadjiandreou

Eliana works with Dr. Daryl Cameron in the Empathy and Moral Psychology (EMP) lab. She is broadly interested in the emotional and cognitive motivations and decision-making surrounding empathy, altruism, and prosocial behavior, as well as factors influencing moral judgment. Her current work examines 1) how experiencing life adversity can make empathy seem less cognitively demanding, and how it can help counteract parochial biases as well as 2) how norms of self-interest influence one's prosocial behavior. She also plans to examine how one uses social resources to achieve moral development through self-policing strategies, as well as whether strength of moral beliefs increases when counter-moral beliefs are encountered.

Elise Haynes

Elise works with Dr. Karen Gasper in the Feelings, Behavior, and Information Processing lab. Broadly, her interests include the relationship between emotion and cognitive processes. She is more specifically interested in self-conscious emotions and their unique influences on cognition and moral/social behavior. Additionally, she is passionate about employing open science practices and tactics for improving psychological science and data ethics. Elise graduated from Lee University with a B.A. in Psychology in 2019.

Nicole Hedgecoth

Nikki works with Dr. Reg Adams in the Social Vision and Interpersonal Perception lab. Broadly, Nikki’s research interests are nonverbal communication, emotion perception, stereotyping and prejudice, and mass media influence. Nikki received her B.A. in psychology and M.S. in Negotiation and Conflict Management from the University of Baltimore. 

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.

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 also works with Dr. Daryl Cameron as well as Carter Hunt, a member of the Recreation Parks and Tourism Management department. He is interested in the self in relation to nature: How it is influenced by spending time in nature, how it becomes connected to nature, and how it gets in the way of protecting nature. Consequently, his research has focused on how walking in nature or participating in nature-based tourism impacts the self, how connectedness to nature is affected by self-awareness, and how self-interest based appeals influence concern for the environment and pro-environmental related beliefs. Mike also has an interest in eudaimonia and compassion for the environment both of which have featured in his work.

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.  
Flora Oswald
Flora Oswald is a dual-title student in Social Psychology and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality studies working with Dr. Jes Matsick. Her research interests include human sexuality and discrimination, stereotyping, and bias. She is interested in stigmatized sexual identities as well as contemporary issues in gender and sexuality. Flora received her B.A in Psychology from the University of the Fraser Valley in Canada, and worked as a research assistant in Dr. Cory Pedersen’s Observations and Research in Gender and Sexuality Matters lab. 

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.

Jason Qian

Jason primarily works with Dr. Jonathan Cook in Group Identity and Social Perception Lab. He is broadly interested in research on stigmatized social identities. More specifically, Jason's research focuses on, 1) how people manage their stigmatized identities under social pressure (e.g., identity concealment); 2) how it will have an impact on outcome variables (e.g., educational or health-related outcomes); and 3) if there are negative effects, how we can design psychological interventions to mitigate these disparities. Additionally, Jason is interested in research on the intersectionality of different stigmatized identities.

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.

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.

Samantha Stevens

Samantha earned a B.S. in Psychology with a minor in Law and Society from the University of California, San Diego in 2018. She now works in the Group Identity and Social Perception lab with her primary advisor, Dr. Jonathan Cook. Broadly speaking, Samantha is interested in the experiences of people with stigmatized identities and how those experiences can be improved. She seeks to gain a greater understanding of how social identity and group membership can influence both short-term and long-term outcomes. One of her goals as a researcher is to bridge basic science with application to promote social equity.


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