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Psychology News

Did you know that one of the top reasons why young adults seek mental health services is because of the high level of stress that they experience? This semester, I have enrolled in Dr. Colleen Spada’s special topics course “Anxiety, Stress, and Relaxation.” In this course, we explore not only the different types and possible causes of stress, but also constructive coping methods in response to the experience of stress.

Dr. Spada

Dr. Spada

A highlight of this course is the opportunity to hear from different guest speakers that Dr. Spada has invited. For example, this semester we have heard from an art therapist, a yoga instructor, as well as a massage therapist! Importantly, these guest speakers did not just lecture to us, but they had incorporated various hands-on activities for us to learn more about each of these topics. Let’s take a look!


Massage therapist Jes Raschella engaging the class in massage techniques. After practicing a few massage techniques, multiple students noted how relaxed their body felt. It seemed that our stress had melted away!


Acupuncturist Dr. Rhonda Sapp provided a brief history of acupuncture. Psychology major Sophie Spartana volunteered to try out acupuncture on her ears. One student reported better sleep after the mini-acupuncture session from Dr. Sapp!

Taken together, I have thoroughly enjoyed Dr. Spada’s course. This course is not only highly interactive, but has also provided us with tools to manage our own stress. I would highly recommend this course!

By: Semira Nock

Psychology major Cory Jones is the wide receiver for the Stevenson football team. As a student athlete, he is working hard to balance his football practices and schoolwork.

Cory started playing football at the age of 8. The SU football team had a great season this year. The homecoming game was particularly outstanding, and Cory has made two catches and a touchdown.

Cory Jones2

Cory Jones ('21 Psychology)

Cory always puts in 100% into all he does. He has learned that for both football and schoolwork, self-discipline is essential for achieving excellence.

Why Psychology? For Cory, he is passionate about helping others. He is particularly interested in becoming a sport psychologist in which he can help other athletes to achieve their full potential.

One thing that you may not know about Cory is that he is also an artist. He likes to create art in his free time and use spray paint as well as other art mediums to create large pieces of artwork. Cory hopes that one day he could incorporate elements of art therapy into his clinical work.

At the next football game, be sure to keep an eye out for number 84!

Cory Jones1

Cory Jones: Number 84!

By: Olivia Webb

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

Growing up, I was not really interested in coloring or creating artwork. Even to this day, I still find art to be a little intimidating. I would never consider myself to be artistic.

Last Tuesday, I attended the “Art and Mental Health” event hosted by Dr. Iannone and Ms. Sharelle Langaigne. Dr. I is a Professor in Psychology and Ms. Langaigne is an SU alum (’15 Psychology). She recently completed her Master’s degree in Art Therapy and Creative Development from the Pratt Institute and will be taking the licensing exam to become a Board Certified Art Therapist.


This “Art and Mental Health” event focuses on art therapy: how people from different backgrounds can use art to express themselves. First, we were all given a blank mask. Next, we were asked to decorate our mask using the different materials provided, including paint, pipe cleaners, beads, glitter, feathers, and so on. Ms. Langaigne explained that our task was to decorate the mask based on how we were feeling at the moment. Importantly, we should not be comparing our work with others. Ms. Langaigne emphasized that while we were free to give compliments, criticisms (including self-criticisms) were not allowed. I felt a lot more relaxed knowing that none of us were being judged.


As I worked on this mask, I realized how art can actually be used in therapy settings. In other words, art is such an awesome creative outlet for people to express themselves and decompress. It finally became apparent to me why art is taking such a special place in the therapy setting. Art can really save lives!

By: Nya Medley

A quick note from Dr. Wong: Julia Wingard was a very quiet student when she first started. Guess what! She is now one of the most engaged, motivated, and active students you can find on campus! Her transformation in recent years has really impressed me. I have thus invited her to share her journey with us via this blog post.

Hello, my name is Julia Wingard and I am a junior psychology major. I was invited by Dr. Wong to write a blog post to document my amazing transformation at Stevenson.

Julia Wingard

Julia Wingard ('21 Psychology)

I have to be honest with you that my first year was rough. I actually did not start out as a Psychology major. I was majoring in something that my family had told me to, but soon realized that it wasn’t for me. I was very quiet, reserved, and anxious about nearly everything. I was struggling in my classes and other aspects of my life as well.

During my first year, I took PSY 101: Introduction to Psychology and fell in love with it. I then conducted some research about psychology careers and the courses that students need to take as psych majors. Finally, I decided to officially switch my major to Psychology. It turned out to be an excellent fit. I cannot tell you how happy I feel with this decision!

As I gained more confidence in my academics, I started to develop a clearer vision of where I was heading. I then experienced a change in my attitude and mindset…

  • Slowly but surely, I began to open up and raised my hand more often in class.
  • I met with instructors outside of class to learn more about their work. This landed to an opportunity for me to become one of Dr. Schurtz’s research assistants.
  • I became proactive in finding opportunities. Just this past summer I landed in a job through a program that was affiliated with Johns Hopkins University.
  • I was able to find way to hone my leadership skills. For example, I am currently creating my own service-learning project for one of my classes. I participate in various activities on campus (e.g., I am a member of Best Buddies and the new sorority on campus Phi Sigma Sigma).

I am very busy, but am learning so much through these various opportunities!!

Looking back, this shy, quiet, and reserved girl who always sat in the back of the classroom has truly transformed into an active and engaged student. It did take me a great deal of courage to step out of my comfort zone, but after all, it wasn’t that bad! I am now thriving, stretching my limits, and reaching my fullest potential. I can’t wait to provide you with an update about my next step after graduation!

By: Julia Wingard

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