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Psychology News

Date: Mar 2019

In American culture, Friday is the best day of the week for many different reasons. Many students see it as the end of the school week and it is finally time to relax. Other students see it as a time to hang out with their friends and have fun. For me, Friday is my favorite day of the week for a totally different reason. For the whole week, I have been looking forward to spending my Friday afternoon at Deer Park Middle Magnet School, where I volunteer with the group Mustang Mentors.

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Mentors and mentees of the Mustang Mentoring Program

Deer Park Middle Magnet School is located in Owings Mills, Maryland. It serves over 3000 children and has about 1500 staff members. Despite its large size, our mentorship program is tailored to serving about 20 students. There is a selection process in which students have to apply to our program. Once they are accepted, we meet with these students and discuss a variety of topics, which range from classes, teachers, and even issues at home. My fellow mentors and I are always there to listen and help these children cope with difficult situations. One of my favorite (and also most challenging) moments was when my mentee disclosed to me that her friend had recently passed away and that she was having a hard time coping with her loss. Being able to relate to her, I encouraged her, and we had a great conversation afterwards about her other interests, as well as her career aspirations. From that point on, I meet with this girl every time when we visit their school and she always greets me with a smile and a hug.

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Student Nya Medley (right) and students at Deer Park

Overall, I thoroughly enjoy being a mentor through the Mustang Mentors. This mentorship opportunity allows me to grow professionally, while at the same time, learn how to actively listen to my mentees and be an importance source of support for them. Importantly, being able to encourage and guide an adolescent brings me so much joy and excitement. Looking ahead, I want to explore the career of being a middle school counselor. Learning that many children struggle with school and family problems really motivates me to make a positive impact on them. As a psychology major, I know I am gathering important skills and experiences to achieve this goal.

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Interested in a mentoring program? Contact Vaniah Hall for more information!

By: Nya Medley

As a science, Psychology is heavily based on research. Among our amazing faculty, Dr. Metzger has an active research program in the area of cognitive psychology.

Dr. Metzger’s Background

Dr. Metzger received his Ph.D. in Experimental Cognitive Psychology from the University of North Dakota and completed his post-doctoral training at the Institute for Child Development at the University of Minnesota and the Department of Internal Medicine at the University of North Carolina. Before coming to Stevenson University, he has worked as a faculty member at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga as well as Pennsylvania State University.

Dr. Metzger

Dr. Metzger and his students from left to right Danielle Gershman, Bryce Merkt, and Cole Simmons

Dr. Metzger’s Research Projects

As a progressive thinker, Dr. Metzger has been looking into the idea of quantum physics in psychology. He states, “You don’t need to know the math, but the understanding is important.” He has applied these ideas to cognitive psychology, mentioning how twins can have similar thought process because of the principle of superposition. Dr. Metzger currently has three different research groups, Psych and Law, Cognition and Emotion, and Health Behaviors.


Dr. Metzger led a group of students to attend the Southeast Psychological Association (SEPA) conference in March 2019. From left to right: Savanna Angel, Akera Williams, Jenny Tran, Kelly Sweeney, and Nick Mehiel


From left to right: Cole Simmons, Samantha Burney, and Nick Mehiel


Congratulations to Hanne Wilburn for winning the Psi Chi Regional Research Award at SEPA!

With all these research opportunities, Dr. Metzger has gathered a group of dedicated psychology students who are eager to learn more. For the past semesters, his students have collaborated with the researchers at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga to investigate how well faces of an already known individual can be identified. The goal is to determine the reliability of facial recognition and how it can be applied to witness statements in court. Stevenson students have taken part in the data management and collection for the studies.

Without a doubt, research is a process that requires a lot of work. Dr. Metzger’s students are learning so much. For example, research assistant Danielle Gershman finds that through this research experience, she is gaining a better understanding of her interest and is equipped with the skills she needs for grad school.

Dr. Metzger’s Mentoring Style

Every professor is unique. Students repeatedly report that they enjoy working with Dr. Metzger because of his consistent supportive guidance. One student Cole Simmons mentions, “Dr. Metzger is different and very smart. He cares about the students who work with him. He listens to them and supports their ideas.”

Overall, Dr. Metzger has been fostering the growth of many Stevenson Psychology students. Interested in learning more about Dr. Metzger’s work? Email him at

By: Olivia Webb

When Caitlin Kennedy is not in class, you will probably find her in the lab conducting experiments to investigate how pollutants such as zinc may have an effect on crayfish.

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Caitlin (right) and her mentor Dr. Angie Setzer (left)

Caitlin’s interest in neuroscience flourished when she took a class in Biological Psychology during her first year at Stevenson. Very soon, she jumped right into the opportunity to work with Dr. Tulloch’s behavioral neuroscience lab. Their collaboration has led to two poster presentations:

Kennedy, C.G., Nash, A.C., Wasicko, N.J., Leister, B.A., & Tulloch, I.K. (2018, November) Multi-generational behavioral response to alcohol in Drosophila melanogaster larvae. Poster presented at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Kennedy, C.G., Leister, B.A., & Tulloch, I.K. (2017, December). Effects of acute alcohol exposure on Drosophila melanogaster larvae locomotor activity. Poster presented at the Stevenson University Psychology Department Showcase in Stevenson, MD, and the Eastern Psychological Association annual meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

For the past year, Caitlin has also been working with Dr. Danna (Biological Sciences) and Dr. Setzer (Psychology). These opportunities brought her two additional poster presentations:

Leister, B.A., Kennedy, C.G., Nash, A.C., Tulloch, I.K., Danna, C.J. (2019, February) Neurodevelopmental effects of early alcohol exposure in transgenic drosophila melanogaster. Poster presented at the Eastern Psychological Association annual meeting in New York City, New York.

Briscoe, A., Dennis, M., Kennedy, C.G., Setzer, A. (2018, December). Crayfish Alcohol Maze Study. Poster presented at the Stevenson University Psychology Department Showcase, Owings Mills, MD.

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Caitlin presenting at the Eastern Psychological Association Conference

In addition to her extensive research experiences, Caitlin played a key role in organizing the Brain Bee event last month (see our previous blog entry here). She took care of all the details such as coordinating with the high school teachers and administrators, creating marketing materials, and keeping track of all the paperwork.

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Caitlin and other Psych Club officers (2019)

Caitlin was recently accepted into a Ph.D. behavioral neuroscience program. As she reflected on her past experiences, she said that she appreciated the close faculty-student relationships, especially with her mentors.

Congratulations Caitlin! Finish strong this semester and we wish you your very best as you take your next exciting step!

#wearethebest #successyoucanmeasure

Midterms are coming up very soon! For many students, midterm season represents a stressful time that we often forget to focus on ourselves. Although we may feel too busy to focus on self-care, there are simple activities that we can implement into our daily routine. According to Baratta (2018), self-care is simply paying attention to the self in a mindful way to ensure you are being cared for. Here are some tips.

Waterfall Ladew2

Did you know that the beautiful Ladew Topiary Gardens is just 30 minutes away from campus?

1. Know your limits. Recognize when you are taking on more than you can handle and figure out ways to slow down.

2. Practice time management and get your assignments done in a timely manner. Try not to procrastinate!

3. Get good sleep and eat well. We need at least 7 hours of sleep to function well. Also try to eat well and make good choices: select fresh, nutritious food.

In conclusion, we need to take time to self-reflect and understand the areas that are causing us stress in order to improve our overall well-being. Finding ways to implement fun into our lives to decompress is important. Enjoy having a nice dinner with your best friend, watching a silly movie, taking a walk at a park, and/or doing a face mask.

Remember to take care of yourself!

By Makaylah Morton

My name is Jenny Tran and I am a junior psychology major. There are a few things that I’d like to share with you as I reflect on my experience serving as the President of the Psychology Club.

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Jenny Tran

1. Communication is important. I have learned to communicate better with others as we organize, delegate, and work together as a team. I realize the importance to create a friendly environment with our fellow club members and collaborators. As a result, we streamline the process of planning and executing successful events, such as the Brain Bee event that took place in February 2019.

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Psychology Club Officers at Brain Bee 2019 (from left to right): Antoinette Nash, Erik Gonzales, Caitlin Kennedy, Jenny Tran, Alex Abramson, and Jordon Huey

2. Partner with other clubs to host events. In the past, the Psychology Club has collaborated with other clubs and organizations. For example, we collaborated with Active Minds and organized a “De-Stress Week” before the finals last semester. This event included activities (e.g., paint night, coloring night, and social night) to provide opportunities for students to decompress. It was very well-received!

3. Make Psychology fun and accessible. The Psychology Club has been successful in inviting psychology professors and special speakers to discuss various topics related to Psychology. We are hoping that these opportunities will enhance students’ interests and knowledge and inspire them as they consider their future career.

Serving as the President of Psychology Club has allowed me to build better relationships with my peers and professors. I have become more attached to the psychology department, as well as the Stevenson University community. Overall, it is a wonderful experience!

By: Jenny Tran

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