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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 Photo 2018

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.

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.

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.

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 doctoral candidate in Social Psychology and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Her research lies at the intersections of prejudice, social media, and activism to examine the following issues: a) how stereotypes about social groups influence perceptions of social media activism, b) unconscious bias interventions for the workplace, and c) the effects of media portrayals on underrepresented groups' self-perceptions and identity. Lizbeth was born and raised in California and 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 in promoting more positive treatment of the environment. Specifically, Mike’s research reflects two themes: Expanding individuals’ sense of self to include nature and other people as well as understanding how ethical frameworks influence the way individuals treat the environment. Consequently, his research often focuses on individuals’ sense of self in relation to the environment, compassion for others, and moral judgments about nature. Mike also has an additional interest in the ways that recreational use of nature can be leveraged to produce pro-environmental outcomes.

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.  

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.

Lauren Spencer

I seek to empower people to enhance their subjective well-being by identifying recurring opportunities and effective strategies to improve their affective states. My research examines affect regulation strategies people use in common negative situations to determine which strategies are helpful and which ones are not. For example, a common regulation strategy that people might employ is to share the negative event with someone else. But what should they seek from the interaction? Advice? To be comforted? Does receiving these things actually help people feel better? I also examine these questions in the growing population of people living with chronic autoimmune illnesses to identify factors that threaten or bolster their subjective well-being. The goal is to identify empirically supported, concrete, teachable strategies that people can apply to frequent or long-term negative situations and stressors in order to feel and cope 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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