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Psychology News

Keyword: students

Congratulations to Angel Longus (’22 Psychology) for getting accepted into the National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Undergraduates summer program. Angel will be involved in the “Talking college: Increasing diversity in the linguistic sciences through research on language and social mobility” project and will “receive training in linguistics, preparation for graduate school, and experience in conducting original research that extends their understanding of African-American language, culture, and community.”

Longus 1

We are all very excited for you Angel!

Together with our two fellow psychology students Elijah Nieto and Chris Roberts, the four of us spent a day in November working with high school students in Morgan State University’s Upward Bound Program as a part of the service-learning component of PSY 350: Psychology of the Black Experience. Taught by Dr. Leary, this course focuses on understanding the experiences of Black individuals in the U.S and globally through the lens of psychology. The students are required to draw upon the topics discussed in class and conduct an intervention to assist the students in the Upward Bound (UB) program.


Gloria Collier (in yellow shirt) and some of the UB students

UB is a program dedicated to motivating low-income, potential first-generation college students to seek higher education while simultaneously assisting them with core academics and their college application process. Mrs. McDonald, the program director, along with Dr. Elliott (who serves as a UB’s counselor), Inga Williams, and Darrin Coley, all welcomed us with open arms.

We started off with an icebreaker before implementing our intervention. The icebreaker helped us get to know the UB students a little better. After the icebreaker, we shared with the students a poster with the stages of the Nigrescence model written on it.


The poster that we shared with the UB students with the Nigrescence model

The Nigrescence model, developed by William Cross, Jr. in 1971, explains the Black identity in four stages—pre-encounter, dissonance, immersion/emersion, and internalization/internalization-commitment. The pre-encounter stage describes when a Black individual has an affinity towards all things White and a dislike toward all things associated with being Black. The dissonance stage describes the experience of the Black individual encountering an event that opens his/her eyes up to the harsh reality that Black people go through. The immersion/emersion stage refers to a Black individual who is completely emerged in Black culture and not interested in paying attention to the other cultures around him/her. The final stage internalization/internalization-commitment is one in which the Black individual is secure in the understanding of his/her Blackness and focuses on issues not only inclusive to Black people but other races and ethnicities as well.

After explaining the Nigrescence model to the UB students, each student placed their name near the stage that they felt was appropriate. Many of the students found themselves in between the stages of dissonance and immersion/emersion or immersion/emersion and internalization/internalization-commitment. Surprisingly, the stage that harbored the most students was the internalization/internalization commitment stage. Many of the students discussed how they felt this would affect them once they were in college. After listening to their stories about why they were in each stage and how their current placement in the model would affect their experience at either a historically black college or university (HBCU) or predominantly white institution (PWI), we shared with them where we saw ourselves on the model. We also explained how college has been for us as Black students at a PWI, how we have grown through stages in the Nigresence model, and how successful we have been on our journey thus far.

Overall, spending a day with the UB students was a very fulfilling experience. We found these students to be extremely thoughtful, mature, and knowledgeable. We hope that this experience impacted them as much as it has impacted us.

By: Gloria Collier and Alzariyat Abdalla

Sweaty palms, upset stomach, racing heartbeat, and even hyperventilation… These are some of the physical symptoms that individuals with high levels of anxiety may experience. Psychologically, these individuals may experience a tremendous level of worry and concern, to the point when it is debilitating.

Last Tuesday, Dr. Spada of the Psychology Department hosted a movie night when we watched Angst, an independent film that aims to help students understand what anxiety truly is and what we can all do to help ourselves and others.


Dr. Colleen Spada hosting the movie night for "Angst"

Unlike many other films, Angst takes the approach of interviewing children, adolescents, adults, and professionals who have experienced high levels of anxiety to document how they are coping with these feelings.


A great turnout for this event! Left to Right: Dr. Jeff Elliott, Dr. Christine Moran, and Ms. Katey Earle 

A highlight of this event was the panel discussion after the film was over. Specifically, Dr. Spada, Dr. Finkenburg (Counseling and Human Services), Mr. James Gresch (a recent graduate of a Master’s program in Psychology), and Lindsay Hamel (’20 Psychology of SU) served as panelists and led an excellent discussion about anxiety and mental health, and how we could together build a strong community to support individuals who are experiencing anxiety.


Left to Right: Graziela (Dr. Spada's daughter), Dr. Spada, Lindsay Hamel, James Gresch, and Dr. Finkenberg

I walked away from this event learning a lot about anxiety. Given how stressful college life is, students may experience various levels of anxiety. As such, knowing what anxiety is and how to cope with it constructively is important. As a community, we can do a lot to help each other.


Thank you Graziela for helping today!

By: Nya Medley

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)

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