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Psychology News

Date: 2019

I first decided to become a psychology major when I was 12 years old. Growing up, I have always found joy in helping out my family members, specifically my cousins, with the problems that they were facing. As I began visiting various colleges, I was impressed by how much the Stevenson Psychology professors care about their students. During my visit, I heard from Nick Mehiel, who was a recent graduate of this program, as he shared how the psychology department had nurtured and empowered him to be the best student he could be. From my small talks with the Psychology professors, I was surprised by how much they were interested in me as a prospective student. I instantly knew that the Psychology program at Stevenson University was the right fit for me. 

During my freshman year, I had the privilege of learning from Dr. Metzger and Dr. Wong in the classroom setting, and they were truly exceptional teachers! Beginning this semester, I have started working closely with Dr. Elliott as the student tech. I am assisting with various tasks, and currently helping out to create a series of activities to further engage our freshman Psychology students.

Semira Nock

Tamera Stanley (’22 Psychology), Dr. Elliott, and Semira Nock (22’ Psychology). Photo credit: Nya Medley (’22 Psychology)

I feel really special to be part of the Psychology family. I think everyone here genuinely wants me to succeed. The professors will not hesitate to go out of their way to support me. I look forward to the next few years as I continue to grow and thrive in this department.

By: Semira Nock

Dr. D. Ryan Schurtz is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Stevenson University. Trained in Social Psychology, Dr. Schurtz is interested in understanding the social interactions among individuals and how the real or imagined presence of others may impact our thoughts, behaviors, and emotions.

Since the beginning of this semester, I have been working in Dr. Schurtz’s research lab. Together with him and fellow Psychology students Elijah Nieto, Elise Stickley, and Julia Wingard, we are investigating the many factors that may influence individuals’ trust in social institutions such as large corporations and government.

Dr. Schurtz and Sophie Spartana

Dr. Schurtz and Sophie Spartana

For the past weeks, we have spent time selecting and reading empirical articles to develop a greater understanding of trust and trustworthiness and learned a great deal from our readings! For example, Mayer and Davis (1999) posited that trustworthiness is comprised of three factors: ability, benevolence, and integrity. Ability is comprised of several characteristics and skills that allow a group to have influence. Benevolence is the extent to which an individual wants to do good to one another without a self-interested motive and integrity refers an individual’s perception that another person will adhere to a set of principles. Turning to Ben-Ner and Halldorsson (2010), we have learned that trust involves believing another person will remain fair and cooperative even when there are opportunities to act otherwise, and that trustworthiness involves an individual’s willingness to be cooperative in response to someone’s demand.

After my fellow students and I have reviewed the definitions of the major constructs for this research project, we are identifying and developing good measures. We’ve created a survey that asks multiple different trust-related questions. This allows us to measure several different factors that could potentially be an influence. Though our data collection just got started, we are all excited to see the results of this study.

By: Sophie Spartana (’21 Psychology)

Within the United States, one in two adults will experience at least one mental illness during their lifetime. However, less than half of these individuals have received professional/mental health services to address their issues.

Did you know that October 6 to 12, 2019 is Mental Health Awareness Week? Although mental health is important all year long, we especially reaffirm our commitment to providing support and advocacy for our community during this special week.

Partnering with the Wellness Center, Student Activities, and the Psychology Department, Stevenson|Cares offers a series of health and mental health education events. These events are creating great opportunities for us to be educated about various mental health topics, break the stigma of mental illnesses, and empower members of our community to get help.


By: Tamera Stanley (’22 Psychology)

Dr. Angela Setzer and her research assistants of the Crayfish Lab have been quite busy lately!

First, they went on an adventure exploring the SU campus stream (located beneath the walking bridge connecting the OM and OMN campuses) and brought back a few crayfish. Since then, the research assistants have been trying to breed them, hoping that they will spawn eggs.


"Gotta catch 'em all!"


Lots of hard work, but it was fun and we were learning a lot!


Spotlight of the day: Crayfish!

Secondly, under the guidance of Dr. Setzer, the research assistants have been learning about the neuroanatomy of the crayfish via dissection. They have also been designing the methodology of a new study that aims to examine the effects of alcohol on the crayfish’s spatial memory.


From left to right: Isadora Fink, Maleah Smith, Ximena Diaz Juarez, Dr. Setzer, and Maggie Nichols-Reames

Last but not least, when they are not in the lab or stream, Dr. Setzer and her research assistants are busy preparing for the Psychology Department’s upcoming STEM Fest, which will take place on November 1, 2019. Specifically, they will be hosting a series of activities in the main lobby of MAC on our OMN campus. Please stay tuned for more updates!

By: Dr. Angela Setzer and her students (Isadora Fink, Esha Kashmiri, Maleah Smith, Maggie Nichols-Reames, and Ximena Diaz Juarez)

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