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Psychology News

Date: Feb 2020

The Psychology faculty at Stevenson University are dedicated to provide a unique, exceptional classroom experience for our students. This week, Dr. Colleen Spada (who teaches PSY 350 Multicultural Psychology) creatively used speed dating as a class activity.

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Students engaging in speed dating in Dr. Spada’s class

“My goal was to have the students explore cultural identity,” explained Dr. Spada. “Oftentimes, we tend to make assumptions about others based on outward appearances. In this activity, the students had to come up with thoughtful questions that would help them learn more about their classmates’ culture. For example, they could ask their classmates to describe their favorite holiday and traditions, family of origin, favorite foods, or something that we wouldn’t necessarily know by looking at them.”

After coming up with their questions, the students were paired up with one another to begin speed dating. They were given three minutes to ask some of the questions that they had prepared before moving on to the next student.

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Dr. Spada led a class discussion after this speed dating activity. The students were very engaged and everybody seemed to have learned something new. For example, most students did not know that Eid al-Fitr is often selected as the favorite holiday among Muslim students. Not only does Eid mark the end of a fast, but it is also a celebration with rich traditions. In addition, paying attention to individual differences is also important in understanding culture. Specifically, even for things that are considered to be “American”, such as serving mac and cheese on Thanksgiving, not all Americans have mac and cheese for Thanksgiving.

The small class size at Stevenson allows instructors to use fun and engaging activities like this to enhance their students’ experiences. It is truly making a difference in students’ learning!

Are you interested in changing the conversation and reducing the stigma against mental health? If so, join Active Minds! Studies have showed that 7.3 million students across the world benefit from an Active Minds campus presence (Active Minds, 2020). Active Minds is a national nonprofit organization dedicated to providing support for mental health awareness and education for students. Here at Stevenson University, Active Minds is devoted to saving lives and building a strong and impactful community to create a lasting change in how mental health is viewed. The club also encourages students to seek help as soon as needed and teaches students not only how to be there for themselves, but for their friends, family, and fellow peers as well.

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Photo Credits: Active Minds

Active Minds sponsors educational and service events at Stevenson University by means of educating students on mental illness and treatment options, as well as improving the quality of life for those struggling with mental illness. Some of these events include Stress-Less week during midterms and finals and Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month. In addition these events, Active Minds will be participating in National Eating Disorders Awareness Week from February 24-March 1, 2020 to change the discourse surrounding body image, food, and eating disorders.

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Picture of students taking a pledge in support of NEDA during National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (2019)

While joining new clubs can be intimidating at first, Active Minds accepts new members with open arms. Active Minds provides a safe space for all students struggling with mental illness and those who want to give a helping hand in our community. As a member of Active Minds, you can use your voice to advocate for mental health and promote change.

If you are interested, feel free to contact for more information, or visit their Instagram and Twitter for daily motivation and incite on the latest Active Minds news.

Twitter: ActiveMinds_SU
Instagram: activemindssu

By: Angel Longus

This week the Psychology student that we are featuring is Kelly Dunworth (’20 Psychology). Originally a Nursing major, Kelly developed her strong interest in Psychology during her freshman year and made the decision to switch during her sophomore year. Among the many Psychology courses that she has taken, she likes Exceptional Child as well as Child and Adolescent Psychopathology the most. For the past three years, she has learned about the career as a Child Life Specialist and decides that this is the career path that she would like to pursue.

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Kelly Dunworth (’20 Psychology) at her PSY 333 poster at the Spring 2019 Psychology Student Research Showcase

Kelly is actively involved in her Stevenson community and beyond. If she is not helping out with Relay for Life on campus, she is either working as a Child Life Volunteer at Johns Hopkins Hospital or a Child-care Teacher with ABC Care Inc. At Johns Hopkins Hospital, Kelly volunteers in the School Age and Burn Unit, where she provides her young patients with games and activities in order to make them feel comfortable while they undergo treatment. Being able to balance school and volunteering work is definitely one of Kelly’s biggest achievements!

When it comes to the Psychology faculty, Kelly believes that Dr. Gary Popoli has influenced her the most.

Dr. Popoli

Dr. Gary Popoli

Dr. Popoli has taught Kelly PSY 101: Introduction to Psychology, PSY 108: Human Growth and Development, and PSY 136: Statistics for Behavioral & Social Sciences. Not only has Dr. Popoli taught Kelly important psychological concepts and skills, he has also encouraged her to reach her fullest potential. Due to her hard work in Dr. Popoli’s classes, Kelly was chosen to become his Teaching Assistant for his PSY 101 and PSY 136 courses. According to Kelly, Dr. Popoli really cares about his students. His encouragement as well as genuineness have greatly influenced all the students that he teaches.

Thinking about her next step after graduation in May 2020, Kelly plans on going to graduate school to pursue her Master’s Degree in Child Life. She has applied to Towson University, College of Charleston, and UNC Charlotte, and has already been accepted to UNC Charlotte’s graduate program for a Master’s Degree in Education and Child & Family Studies!

Congratulations Kelly, and all the best with your new beginning!

By: Semira Nock

February is the month to celebrate African American History. It represents the perfect time for us to reflect and learn more about the contributions of African Americans. There are so many significant and important accomplishments made by African Americans throughout history, such as Daniel Hale Williams performing the world’s first successful open-heart surgery, and Martin Luther King Jr. leading the Civil Rights Movements which eventually led to the end of segregation in the 1960s.

Within the field of Psychology, there are significant contributions made by Black psychologists that students need to know about. For instance, Mamie Phipps and Kenneth Bancroft Clark made great contributions in the case of Brown v. Board of Education. Specifically, in their famous “Doll Study,” they showed that segregation was extremely damaging to Black children in their perceptions of themselves as a whole, as they preferred the White doll as opposed to the Black doll. Importantly, Clark served as the first Black President of the American Psychological Association, and Mamie Phipps Clark was the first Black woman to receive her Ph.D. from Columbia University in Psychology.

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Photos of Mamie Phipps & Kenneth Clark (Photo credit : APA)

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Photo Kenneth Clark with a child during his research study (Photo credit: NYtimes)

Another famous Black psychologist is Herman George Canady. He was the first psychologist to examine the effect of the race of the examiner on African American students’ performance on IQ test. Canady also helped to establish the West Virginia Psychological Association, the West Virginia State Board of Psychological Examiners, and the Charleston Guidance Clinic.

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Photo of Canady (Photo credit: APA)

Finally, did you know SU has a Student Chapter of the Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi)? This professional association of African American psychologists aims to “liberate the African mind from mental slavery, educate all individuals about Black/African psychology, address issues that negatively impact the black community, and help bring social change through education and community service.” Students who are interested in joining may email for more information.

Happy African American History Month!

By: Semira Nock

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