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Psychology News

Date: 2020

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

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Spada and Dr. Popoli for their 10 years of service at the SU Psychology Department. We will be featuring both of them this week. Today, we will be featuring Dr. Spada, who is an Assistant Professor of Psychology.

Dr. Spada

What made you choose Stevenson?

I first saw the job opening and started as an adjunct professor, teaching one session of PSY-101. But after being at Stevenson for about two semesters, I truly started to feel at home and welcomed! It meant a lot to me, especially since I was only an adjunct professor. I never felt like an extra, but a part of the community as a whole.

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

I believe that the welcoming community drew me to work within the Department. Everyone works well together in a group, playing off of one another’s strengths. I especially love the diversity among the faculty, as we all have various backgrounds and skill sets. Yet, what ties us together is our support for each other’s ventures! For instance, for my special topics course of Anxiety, Stress, & Relaxation, I proposed the idea of inviting an acupuncturist to the class. Everyone was for it! Receiving support like this builds the comradery among us, which is important to me.

What have been your favorite memories of the department?

My favorite memories always draw back to the experiences that I have been able to have with the students. I sometimes have students who take my courses from semester to semester, so seeing their growth and development as well as being able to know that we have adequately prepared them for the next stage of their life is truly invaluable for me as an educator.

What are some of your memorable contributions?

I have had the opportunity to teach different special topics courses, including an anxiety course, a multicultural psychology course, and a psychology of woman course. I have been able to incorporate a service-learning piece into all of them, which is significant to me as it gives students a chance to contribute to the community, as well as present their findings in the Psychology Showcase! I have also organized a screening of anxiety-related film and panel discussion, with the goal of reducing the stigma behind anxiety as a whole. It was very productive, and we had a great turn out!

What have you learned working in the department?

In the last year and a half, I became a full-time faculty member. From this new experience, I have learned that being a full-time faculty member is a lot more than teaching. I have had to stretch my ideas of what I am capable of doing. Every semester is a learning experience for me, and I have pushed myself to try new things! For instance, I had volunteered to teach Writing in Psychology, and in teaching this course, tried different facets to teach and support my students. In doing so, I have made connections with students, and maintain these connections post-graduation. To see their growth and achievements has been significant.

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

I am really looking forward to seeing how the Psychology Department’s new Psy.D. program goes! I believe it will be a great opportunity for undergraduate students to participate in new opportunities for research at all levels.

We commend Dr. Spada for all her hard work and am looking forward to her continuous achievements!

Written by: Semira Nock

Active Minds, a student organization that focuses on empowering students to speak openly about topics related to mental health and overall changing the stigma around mental health, has recently hosted an event on domestic violence.

Active minds flyer

Topics that were discussed that evening included early signs of domestic violence, effects of domestic violence, how to be an ally for those who have experienced domestic abuse, as well as bystander intervention.

Irene Smith

Irene Smith, a domestic abuse attorney with experience working in the Domestic Violence Center of Howard County, the Community Law Center in Baltimore, the Maryland Disability Law Center, and the Women’s Law Center of Maryland, was the guest speaker at the event. Ms. Smith has represented victims of intimate partner violence in high conflict divorce and custody cases, persons with mental illness in state psychiatric facilities in matters related to civil rights violations, disenfranchised communities, and victims of domestic abuse including physical and sexual assault. Due to her wide range of experiences in domestic abuse cases, she provided the best tips and recommendations when it comes to this topic of domestic abuse.

domestic abuse slide

One important point that Ms. Smith has made during the event was that in an abusive relationship, the abuser often wants the victim to believe that they are powerless, and therefore attempts to control every aspect of the victim’s life. If the victim attempts to take their power back, the abuser tends to be physically or sexually violent towards the victim. Therefore, the victim begins to believe that it is safer to stay in the relationship in order to survive. Understanding these complicated dynamics would allow us to be an ally.

Thank you Ms. Smith and Active Minds for hosting this insightful event! To stay informed with more events from this club, you can follow them on Instagram @activemindssu or email them at

Written by: Semira Nock

Today’s featured student athlete is Samantha Baysic.

Sam Baysic

Samantha is a junior psychology major who also plays as goalkeeper for the Stevenson Women’s Soccer team. Samantha first became involved in soccer at the age of six as her parents signed her up for her local team. Quickly, she grew to love soccer and has been playing ever since!

Sam thumbs up

In terms of her major, Samantha chose psychology because she wanted to pursue a career in mental health. She has friends who have undergone therapy and noticed how beneficial it was for them. She then wanted to become a therapist one day, so that she can help others to restore their mental health.

As she has been maneuvering through this semester, Samantha found that staying motivated and organized was initially not the easiest. However, once she was able to transition back on campus as well as begin training with her soccer team, she was able to regain focus and organization with her assignments and projects. In terms of these assignments, the workload has not been too heavy for her, as she has been able to settle in a steady schedule of when she will get them done, making sure to write down key due dates and other important information. Samantha has been able to push through and receive A’s for her midterm grades! She also realizes how important it is to communicate with her professors outside of the classroom, especially now that everything is online. In doing so, she has been able to learn more about her professors as well as the Psychology Department as a whole!

Sam sunset

With all of the different changes that student athletes have undergone, Samantha wants everyone to know: “You can do this! As student athletes we are used to overcoming obstacles and juggling course work. Just think of this semester as a setback will encourage perseverance and make you stronger in the end.”

Written by: Semira Nock

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