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Psychology News

We are happy to feature Olivia Gooch (’22 Psychology) this week!

Olivia Gooch

Olivia is currently in her junior year. She is majoring in Psychology and minoring in Counseling and Human Services. As a student athlete, she is a mid-distance runner on the track and field team. She is now training very hard to qualify for the MAC championship!

Olivia is doing very well in her courses. In fact, she was invited to serve as the Teaching Support for courses such as Cognitive Psychology and Experimental Design and Analysis I. She is completing a research study that that focuses on political satisfaction and race with Dr. Metzger. Olivia is planning to apply for graduate programs in school psychology in the future.

When she is not in the classroom, research lab, or track, you can find Olivia working as a student leader. She is serving as a Secretary for the Student Athletic Advisory Committee, as well as a member of the Mid-Atlantic Student Athletic Advisory Committee. These two committees are discussing about the implementation of NCAA regulations for event planning. Olivia is also an active participant of student clubs and organizations such as R.E.A.C.H. and Psychology Club.

We asked Olivia to provide some advice for fellow students about how to thrive in school, athletics, and extracurricular activities. Olivia said, “Time management is the best advice that I can give. I personally write everything down to plan out my day. In addition, your teammates are the best people you can talk to if you ever need help or support.” In her spare time, Olivia loves doing arts and craft to de-stress.

Interested in learning more about Stevenson’s very own track team? Visit the Go Mustangs Sports website to see their playing schedule.

Written by: Funmi Dada

We are proud to feature our alum Sophia Allen (’11 Psychology) this week.

Sophia Allen

Sophia is currently working as a Research Administrator at Johns Hopkins University. Her day-to-day duties include entering data, submitting IRB proposals, reviewing consent forms, renewing grants, amending protocol amendments, and monitoring patients for any medications or adverse reactions. Her excellent writing skills and extensive knowledge in research contribute to her success in this position.

Sophia has a strong research interest in HIV prevention. She is working on a project that aims to develop another form of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), a medication used for preventing the transmission of HIV. Additionally, Sophia is working on a project that develops medications for immunocompromising conditions. She hopes to work with underserved communities to raise awareness of HIV prevention.

Sophia was a nontraditional student who started college at Stevenson at the age of 21. Besides excelling in her courses, Sophia was very active on campus as she worked for ResLife and was a key member of the Psychology Club. She graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2011, and shortly after, Sophia started working for Johns Hopkins University.

“There is so much that you can do with a Bachelor’s degree in psychology,” said Sophia. “It is a really versatile degree and I encourage students to check in with their advisors about their future goals. When I was at Stevenson, Dr. Iannone provided with me with lots of help in honing the skills I needed to secure a job. The psychology program is like family to me, and it has prepared me so well for the real world.”

Congratulations to Sophia on her success and we wish her luck for her future endeavors. Please stay in touch!

Written by: Funmi Dada

In honor of African American History Month, we wanted to highlight our very own Psychology alumna, T’Niya Lawson (’20 Psychology)! 

TNiya Lawson

During her senior year, T’Niya completed her PSY 470 Senior Research Thesis under the supervision of our Department Chair Dr. Elliott. In her thesis, T’Niya examined how the race and attitude of a law enforcement officer (threatening vs. non-threatening) and the participants’ race influenced compliance with officer requests. Her results indicated that officer race, threatening attitude, and participant race did in fact influence compliance level. Her and research team found that compliance was highest in the non-threatening, same race as law enforcement officers conditions. Although the Psychology Student Research Showcase was cancelled due to COVID, T’Niya had the opportunity to present her work at the virtual Eastern Psychological Association Conference in March, 2020.

Looking back at her four years at Stevenson, T’Niya was heavily involved in extracurricular activities. To this end, she had held various leadership positions for many student clubs and organizations. For example, she had served as the Chair for Women of Resilience Tenacity, and Humility (W.O.R.T.H.) (a club focused on building sisterhood and creating a social environment for all women). She was also the Treasurer of Active Minds (whose goal is to empower students to speak openly about mental health and encourage help-seeking) and Treasurer of the National Society of Leadership and Success. Notably, T’Niya was an honorary member of the Psychology Program’s Honor Society Psi-Chi.

In Fall 2020, T’Niya started graduate school to pursue her Master’s in Clinical Psychology degree at Virginia State University. Although many students find the transition to graduate school overwhelming, T’Niya was taking everything in stride—all because of the excellent education she received at Stevenson University! For example, her professors took notice of her rich statistical knowledge and research experiences right at the beginning. After all, T’Niya had taken three research methods and statistics course and was involved in various research projects at Stevenson, and these experiences really made her stand out from her peers. Indeed, T’Niya’s first semester went so well that she earned a perfect GPA of 4.0! Moving forward, T’Niya will be taking clinical courses in her program and she is very confident that she is just as well-prepared.

We are so proud of T’Niya and look forward to hearing more about her future achievements! Please keep us posted!

Written by: Semira Nock

So Psyched is a new fun and engaging club dedicated to combating cyberbullying, helping students to become more mindful of their media usage, and analyzing how mental health is portrayed in the media.

So psyched

The main goal of So Psyched is to understand the relationship between social media usage and mental health outcomes. Specifically, the way we think about the world has a lot to do with our daily consumption of social media, viral feeds, hypes, buzzwords, and trending hashtags. To this end, So Psyched encourages students to discuss mental health as it pertains to pop culture, social media, and current events.

Angel Longus, a psychology major who is serving as the President of So Psyched, shared, “On the one hand, social media is fun and entertaining. On the other hand, the messages from social media can be extremely toxic and upsetting. As a club, So Psyched aims to help students to navigate their conflicting feelings, set boundaries for themselves to minimize media burnout, and establish healthy habits regarding the use of social media. So Psyched also wants to look at what students can do to advocate for mental health and reduce any stigma related to mental health in the social media.”

Vice President Jasmine Benning, a criminal justice major, encourages all interested students to join. She said, “So Psyched focuses on mental health and social media. Our topics are relevant because almost everyone uses social media. We have a lot of fun activities and discussions planned in the coming months and hope to see you there!”

Students who are interested in joining So Psyched should follow their social media accounts for more information.

Twitter: SoPsychedSU
Instagram: SoPsychedSU

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Popoli for his 10 years of service at Stevenson! Dr. Popoli is an Adjunct Professor of Psychology. Outside of Stevenson, Dr. Popoli serves on the Board of Editors for the International Journal of Psychological Studies. He is also a dissertation editor and assists students in master’s and doctoral programs with their statistical analyses. Dr. Popoli also enjoys writing, as he recently submitted an article about suicide and whether or not daylight savings time has any benefit or detriment of suicide. He is also a frequent guest speaker on the Cotolo Chronicles podcast, which discusses the latest research in psychology. We recently interviewed Dr. Popoli on his experiences working in the Psychology Department.

Dr. Popoli

What made you choose Stevenson?

I initially taught at a community college, but it did not offer any research opportunities. Therefore, I came to Stevenson, as it was more a challenge and the Psychology Department also offered more research and statistics courses! I found that the students are more focused here, as I taught PSY 136, PSY 270 (now PSY 355), and PSY 343, all courses that are heavily based on research.

What qualities about the Psychology Department did you like that drew you to work within it?

I like the fact that a large percentage of our students go on to graduate school, as graduation is an amazing achievement for them. I have also taught a variety of students who take psychology courses, from nursing and sociology majors, to criminal justice and computer technology majors. Being able to teach different students about an important aspect of psychology is something that I love!

That is such an important point! What have been your favorite memories of the department?

My favorite memories of the department first begin with my supervisor and the faculty. Dr. Elliott has been the best supervisor during my years of teaching, being the most supportive, empathetic, and generous person I have ever met! The other faculty members of the Psychology Department are an absolute delight to be around, and truly interesting and great people. In terms of the students, I have written letters of recommendation, and when students write me back saying that they have been accepted into their graduate program, it is extremely rewarding and invaluable to me. I also love the Psychology showcase, as it is a time that students get to show off their research and all the hard work that they have put into it!

I could not agree more! What are some of your memorable contributions?

I have really enjoyed helping students increase their interest in graduate school, letting them know that it is a viable and rewarding option for them. I have also helped students with other courses in the statistical field, and in general, I have helped many great students, so it is just a pleasure to work here.

What have you learned working in the department?

Truthfully, I have learned what it is like to work with a wonderful group of people and have a supervisor that supports you. At my previous jobs, I have worked within a contentious environment and the supervisors were not supportive at all. Therefore, it has truly been an amazing experience thus far.

What are you looking forward to for the future of the department?

I am looking forward to the Department’s new doctoral program, as it is a phenomenal plan and such an accomplishment! As we all have echoed, I am also looking forward to the day we get back to normal in terms of teaching in-person courses.

Thank you, Dr. Popoli, for all that you have done for the Psychology Department and the students here at Stevenson University! Here to another 10 years!

Written by: Semira Nock

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