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Psychology News

Keyword: faculty

Dr. Maria Wong is an Associate Professor of Psychology specializing in developmental psychology. She teaches PSY 108 Human Growth and Development, PSY 201 Writing for Psychology, and PSY 136 Statistics for Behavioral and Social Sciences. Her approach to teaching is greatly shaped by her experiences being a Chinese American woman and having a multicultural background.

Dr. Wong’s Background

Dr. Wong was born and raised in Hong Kong but moved to Canada with her family where she completed her last year of high school and college. During her time as an undergraduate student, she volunteered to be a research assistant and became interested in cultural psychology and child development. After obtaining her Bachelor’s degree, she moved to the United States for graduate school. While in grad school, Dr. Wong was given the opportunity to be a teaching assistant and an instructor. She received her PhD from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

Dr Wong with RA 

Dr. Wong and her research assistants Stephanie Charney and Kelsey Krupski. They surprised her one day with a trophy that says "The Best Professor, Mentor, Advisor, and Overall Person."

Dr Wong trophy

Dr. Wong’s Teaching and Research

Due to PSY 108 and PSY 201 as required courses for our psychology majors, many students know and love Dr. Wong. I have had the pleasure to be taught by her in PSY 201, work alongside her as a student assistant, and complete a teaching assistantship under her supervision. Her caring and positive personality made me so eager to learn and work with her. I can happily say she made my transition to Stevenson from community college wonderful!

Psychology Major Olivia Webb is currently taking PSY 108 with Dr. Wong. She states that Dr. Wong is full of positivity and great at explaining complicated concepts. In addition, she notes Dr. Wong keeps the class really interesting by including activities that connect the concepts being learned to real life.

Stephanie Charney has been working as one of Dr. Wong’s research assistants for the past year and states that it has been an irreplaceable experience. Dr. Wong has taught her a lot about reviewing literature, thinking critically, analyzing data, and writing effectively for large scale research projects. She offers research assistants the perfect balance of guidance and freedom when giving assignments, which students are always appreciative of.

Sarah Goranson has worked closely with Dr. Wong for all four years she has attended Stevenson. When she was a freshman, she approached Dr. Wong stating she was interested in Developmental Psychology, and Dr. Wong offered her a research assistant position. Sarah has presented a poster with Dr. Wong at the Eastern Psychological Association Conference and is currently revising a manuscript that has been accepted for publication.

In sum, Dr. Wong has shaped students experience as they work towards their undergraduate degree. Her lively approach to teaching is something that grabs her students' attention and makes them very eager to learn. Her caring demeanor is something that does not go unnoticed, and as I’m sure many students can agree, Dr. Wong is an excellent instructor!

By: Makaylah Morton

As the department chair, Dr. Jeff Elliott has played major roles in developing a high-quality undergraduate psychology major, promoting student research, and supporting students’ professional development. He is definitely an integral part of our psychology department! I had a chance to interview Dr. Elliott to ask him more about his background and type of work that he does at Stevenson.

Dr. Elliott

Dr. Jeff Elliott

Dr. Elliott’s Background

Dr. Elliott received his Ph.D. in Human Services Psychology from University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He has been involved in the field of mental health as he has provided counseling to men who were abusive to their romantic partners. Since 2001, he has been working at Stevenson University (Villa Julie College back then).

Dr. Elliott’s Work at Stevenson and Beyond

At Stevenson, Dr. Elliott has taught almost every course in our curriculum! His excellence in teaching has been recognized by the Rose Dawson Excellence in Teaching Award. Courses that he offers include First Year Seminar, Research Methods and Statistics II, and Behavioral Approaches to Change, and Senior Research Theses. He has developed courses such as PSY 201 Writing for Psychology and PSY 136 Statistics for Behavioral and Social Sciences to equip students with the foundation of skills to understand and communicate about research. In addition to his role as the department chair, Dr. Elliott is serving as the Chair of the Institutional Review Board (IRB).

Dr. Elliott is well-known for his support and advocacy for students, especially for those who are struggling. His passion and dedication in meeting students where they are and helping them succeed extends beyond our Stevenson community. For example, Dr. Elliott has been working as a Counselor/Program Evaluator for Upward Bound at Morgan State University for many years to support first generation, low income, and at-risk high school students. Through his intervention, these students have a higher chance of graduating high school and attending college.

Providing Opportunities for Students

One important contribution from Dr. Elliott is his commitment to promoting student research and providing student with opportunities to present their work at professional conferences, such as Eastern Psychological Association (EPA) and Southeastern Psychological Association (SEPA). Dr. Elliott takes a good deal of time to identify funding sources and apply for grants to support our students’ traveling. He strongly believes that these efforts would provide opportunities for students to network, develop professionally, and ultimately become more competitive for graduate schools and professional careers.

Dr. Elliott provides strong support for student activities as he serves as a sponsor for Psychology Club. Students who work closely with Dr. Elliott as research assistants, student assistants, and teaching assistants all rave about him. Emma Lichtman (’19 Psychology) says that she really enjoys working for him and has learned so much by working on a variety of tasks. Hanne Wilburn (’19 Psychology) says: “Dr. Elliott is such a great professor. His door is always open to anyone who needs help. He truly cares about students not just learning, but understanding the important concepts they will need to be successful in the future!”

Thank you for all your dedication and hard work Dr. Elliott! We are lucky to have you as our chair!

By: Olivia Webb

Dr. Dyer Bilgrave has been teaching at Stevenson University (once Villa Julie) for over 30 years. He is loved by many students and is known as the “counseling sequence professor” who provides a hands-on approach to the learning of counseling skills.

Dr. Bilgrave and Makaylah Morton

Makaylah Morton interviewing Dr. Bilgrave

Surprisingly, Dr. Bilgrave did not take a straightforward route going from college to graduate school in becoming a college professor. During his undergraduate years, Dr. Bilgrave had three major interests: religion, counseling psychology, and acting/theater. He spent one year studying religion at Pendle Hill, which is a Quaker study center located in Wallingford, Pennsylvania. After completing his Master’s degree in ministry, he focused on pursuing his interest in psychology and obtained not one, but two Master’s degrees in psychology-related areas. Lastly, Dr. Bilgrave attained a Master’s degree in fine arts and acting. In brief, he was able to pursue all three of his interests through master’s degrees.

Dr. Bilgrave began working at Ville Julie College during his early 30s to teach theater and communications (not psychology!). During this time, he discovered that psychology was the most interesting to him and decided to go back to school for a Doctorate degree at UMBC. As time passed, he slowly transitioned to teaching psychology courses. In 2002, he became a full-time psychology professor. He has also served as the department chair from 2002 to 2005. For the past years, Dr. Bilgrave has been teaching the counseling sequence (PSY 230-Basic Counseling Skills, PSY 340- Advance Counseling Skills, PSY 341- Counseling Theories, and PSY 306-Counseling Lab), all of which are heavily skill-oriented. In addition, he has his own private practice where he sees about 12 clients per week.

As I interviewed Dr. Bilgrave, I found his broad education background very inspiring. Being an undergraduate student, I often find myself having so many interests that I want to pursue but am often worry that I may stray away from what is important. It is very reassuring to know that it is possible to study multiple areas of interest with hard work and a growth-oriented mindset.

Dr. Bilgrave recently announced that he would retire at the end of the Spring 2019 semester. For his colleagues and his students, they can admire all his remarkable work that has been done throughout the years and use it as motivation to keep the Psychology department the best. Anakay Alexander, a Junior Psychology major, has taken 4 courses with Dr. Bilgrave. She said he is very caring and made it a priority to learn every student’s names within the first few classes. In addition, she noted that he always took time to make sure students understood the material by providing a plethora of real-world examples. Lastly, she pointed out that if students did not understand something, he would go back and further explain to make sure everyone had a thorough understanding of the material.

Dr. Bilgrave will be very missed but his amazing contributions to the department will always be remembered!

By: Makaylah Morton

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.

SEPA

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

SEPA2

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

SEPA3

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 rmetzger@stevenson.edu

By: Olivia Webb

On a very cold winter day in December, a really special email from Dean Cheryl Wilson warmed the hearts of all the Psychology faculty....

 
 
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