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Psychology News

I have always enjoyed presenting posters. I first presented a poster project when I was eight and poster projects have always been my favorite part of school. Being able to research a specific topic and add my own creative influence to a plain white board has always made we feel so accomplished. I never knew that attending poster presentations would be so rewarding as well... On March 29 2019, I attended the wonderful Paul D. Lack Scholars’ Day poster presentation at the Manning Academic Center.

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Psychology Student Jenny Tran

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Psychology Student Danielle Gershman

When I first heard about this event, I knew that this showcase would highlight many research topics from varying students and faculty, but I was not sure the exact topics that would be presented. When I started to walk around the posters, I was flabbergasted by how the presenters were speaking so fluently, energetically, and cheerfully about their work. I discussed with many presenters about their different research topics and have learned so many new things. For example, I now know how music can affect alcohol consumption, why people cannot recognize celebrities with tinted glasses on, and even how we should monitor what we say on social media when a celebrity dies due to suicide.

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Counseling and Human Services faculty Dr. Finkenberg and Psychology faculty Dr. Schurtz

As I toured around the different posters, one that has caught my attention was presented by Dr. Shirna Gullo. Dr. Gullo is a nursing professor here at Stevenson University, and she conducted her own study about the effects of online testing for nursing students in college. She expressed to me that in the past, nursing students were required to take exams on paper tests, however this seemed to be a severe disadvantage for the students. What teachers were seeing was that despite having passed the written exam, many students were underperforming in the actual workforce. As such, she conducted a study to see if computerized testing was more beneficial for nursing students. To see Dr. Gullo to be passionate about her research was very inspiring.

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Dr. Gullo from Nursing

Overall, I was so happy to attend to the showcase. Poster presentations are not only color or glitter on a board, but they represent a significant way to positively impact a person’s career or even their future.

By: Nya Medley

Stevenson University offers a unique Bachelor’s to Masters option that allows students to save tuition and complete their education in a shorter period of time. The GPA requirement is a 3.0 and a minimum of 60 credits must be completed prior to applying. Students must apply during the first semester of their junior year and are eligible to take graduate level classes once 75 credits have been completed. This program is online which allows it to be flexible with outside obligations such as other classes or work. Psychology students working towards their Bachelor’s degree can utilize this shorter time frame education experience depending on their area of personal and professional interest.

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Options for Psychology majors include:

Communications Studies is essentially mastering the science of communication. Many professionals want to enhance their communication skills. By completing a Master’s in Communications Studies, many new opportunities can be unlocked. This program may appeal to those interested in Industrial and Organization Psychology because students will be able to gain skills in evaluating and creating solutions to conflicts that occur in organizations. In addition, students who attain their Master of Science in Communication Studies will be equipped in strategies to create cohesive communications across differing cultural, social, and business settings.

Community-Based Education & Leadership is designed to create highly-qualified professionals to teach, lead, and manage informal education settings. A Master’s in Community-Based Education & Leadership (CBEL) can appeal to Psychology majors interested in working with children and teaching in a non-formal setting. This program produces leaders for nonprofit organizations, athletic coaching, youth development, and leadership in the greater community. Students interested in completing a Master’s in CBEL will have the ability to hone in on skills related to STEM, cognitive and emotional development, and research driven decision making. A 15-credit certificate is also offered.

Crime Scene Investigation is a great option for students who wish to learn about the integration of science and law. The media and popular culture have increased the awareness of forensic evidence among potential jurors to such an extreme that there is now an expectation that forensic evidence must contribute to all trials. Due to this culture shift, more forensic science technicians are needed to provide timely forensic information to law enforcement agencies and courts. The Crime Scene Investigation program provides students with the skills to evaluate crime scenes and select the appropriate steps to be followed in documenting, collecting, preserving, and processing evidence. The program trains professionals to process forensic evidence and report their findings in an ethical manner for the purpose of effectively communicating those findings in a courtroom setting. An 18-credit certificate is also available.

Forensic Investigation could be a great fit for Psychology majors interested in the social aspects of forensics or criminal justice. A Master of Science in Forensic Investigation prepares students to collect physical data and conduct interviews for the purpose of synthesizing the results for court testimony. In addition, students are prepared for careers that provide them with the ability to communicate findings, analysis, and conclusions. Potential positions for graduates range from Police Detective, to Federal Bureau of Investigation, to Special Agent. At the state and local level, Forensic Investigators usually specialize in one type of crime. An 18-credit certificate is also offered.

Forensic Studies is a similar program to Forensic Investigation but contains a broader range of experience. Students will learn the skills necessary to conduct investigations and examine evidence for the purpose of presenting their findings in legal proceedings. A Master of Science in Forensic Studies is ideal for students interested in more than one area within forensics and who wish to develop more general knowledge in forensics. Potential career opportunities include forensic accounting, digital investigation, and many other areas requiring forensic expertise such as FBI analyst or profiler.

Healthcare Management equips students with the leadership and management competencies that are critical in the healthcare industry. Students can select from two concentrations based on their personal interests and career aspirations: Quality Management and Patient Safety or Project Management. Students and graduates of Stevenson University Online’s Healthcare Management master’s programs have advanced their careers within the industry at hospitals, long-term care facilities, physician practices, insurance companies, medical technology and device companies, and nonprofit healthcare-related organizations.

If you are currently a Psychology Major with less than 60 credits and want to further look into these programs, the tuition, or the specific courses offered, visit the Academics section on Stevenson University’s website or contact Stevenson University Online’s Director of Admissions, Amanda Millar at 443-334-3334.

By: Makaylah Morton

“O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?”  

When people first hear these famous words spoken by Juliet, they instantly think of the famous Shakespearean play Romeo & Juliet. Although few people would regard this play as a work that raises suicide awareness. Dr. Schurtz and his research assistants take a closer look at this subject by examining whether or not reading excerpts from Romeo and Juliet would help participants to become more open to suicide prevention.

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Alicia Hughart and Dr. Schurtz

One of his research assistants, Alicia Hughart, discussed the importance of the Romeo & Juliet Suicide study, as she explained: “Being a Psychology major I am both personally and professionally surrounded by mental illness in a multitude of ways. I have lost and nearly lost loved ones to suicide, and I find that conducting research on this topic goes a long way. Working with Dr. Schurtz has given me the chance to expand my horizons and changed my career path in significant ways.” Dr Schurtz enjoys working with his students very much and finds it rewarding to study topics that have important social implications. To this end, Dr. Schurtz wants his students to learn the many steps of planning and carrying out research studies, which are useful skills that students need to hone for their future careers.

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Dr. Schurtz in action!

Besides conducting research, Dr. Schurtz excels in his teaching. In December 2018, he received a prestigious teaching award from the National Society of Leadership and Success (Sigma Alpha Pi). During the semester, he regularly teaches courses such as PSY 262 Social Psychology and PSY 343 Research Methods and Statistics II. He also teaches special topics on love, self-esteem, gender, and aggression. Derek Davis, who is currently enrolled in Dr. Schurtz’s Social Psychology class, really enjoys being taught by him. Derek says: “I like having Dr. Schurtz as my professor because he always finds ways to keep students engaged… We are always able to get involved and apply topics to real life situations. It has truly been great so far!” 

Interested in learning more about Dr. Schurtz research and teaching? Email him at dschurtz@stevenson.edu 

 By: Tamera Stanley and Semira Nock

Comic fans may have heard about the Unstoppable Wasp, published by Marvel. In this comic, the protagonist Nadia Van Dyne struggles with mental illness. In Issue No. 5 that just came out recently, Nadia came to a realization that she might have bipolar disorder.

What is really special about this issue of The Unstoppable Wasp is that it features a full two-page interview of our Psychology graduate Christina (Chris) Ceary.

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After obtaining her B.S. in Psychology in 2015, Chris earned her Master’s in Applied Psychology (with a Counseling focus) from the University of Baltimore in 2017. She is currently teaching psychology at Johns Hopkins Peabody Institute. Chris has always been a comic fan and admires the work by Jeremy Whitley, the writer of the Unstoppable Wasp. The two finally met through networking and Whitley was impressed by Chris’s knowledge about comics and psychology.

“I was serving as a consultant on the Unstoppable Wasp,” explained Chris. “I read through the script that Whitley provided and offered comments about the mental health aspects that appeared in the storyline. We want to portray the mental health issues as accurately as possible.”

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When we asked her what advice she had for our fellow students, Chris said: “Get out there and talk to people from different fields. For me, taking an interest in things like comics has led to an opportunity that I could not have predicted. Although we usually like to follow traditional paths, being able to think outside the box and create your own opportunities can be even more rewarding! To get started, getting to know people and learning from them is the first step.”

Chris has some good news to share! She has recently been accepted to the Psy.D. program in Counseling Psychology at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. We are proud of you Chris!

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.

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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

 
 
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