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Psychology News

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

Is the accused innocent or guilty? Are the witnesses trustworthy? What factors contribute to wrongful convictions? These are all important questions that have tremendous implications for not only individuals, but the society as a whole. Although students may think that Psychology and Law are two totally separate fields, the ongoing research projects conducted by Dr. Metzger and his research assistants are telling us otherwise.

Dr. Metzger 2019

Dr. Richard Metzger

To our surprise, it turns out that Psychology and Law are closely related. Trained in cognitive psychology, Dr. Metzger is leading his research assistants on a few projects that highlight the complex interplay between psychological factors and law. In one project, Dr. Metzger and his team are investigating the extent to which the presence of a cell phone during a crime may affect a witness’s ability to identify the perpetrator. In another project, they are carefully examining factors that may influence the number of appeals as well as the number of cases when people were falsely accused.

Dr. Metzger and students

Dr. Metzger and some of his research assistants: Danielle Gershman, Bryce Merkt, and Cole Simmons

Under Dr. Metzger’s guidance, Hanne Wilburn (’19 Psychology), Danielle Gershman (’19 Psychology), and Becky Staller ('20 Psychology) presented their poster titled “The mere presence effect 1: Changes in the operation span as a result of phone condition” at the Southeastern Psychological Association (SEPA) and received the Psi Chi Regional Research Award for this outstanding poster presentation.

Hanne Wilburn poster

Congratulations to Hanne Wilburn!

Dr. Metzger’s research assistants all have so much to say about their experience working with him. For example, Cole Simmons says that Dr. Metzger is an outstanding mentor and is fair and understanding. He always encourages students to share their own thoughts and ideas. For Dr. Metzger, he is delighted that all of his research assistants have stepped up, gotten more involved, and thought deeply about how to use their research experience for their future endeavors.

Interested in learning more about Dr. Metzger’s Psych & Law Research Team? Email him at

Written by: Semira Nock

The Psychology Department at Stevenson University offers a few paid positions for selected students every year to work as Peer Teaching Assistants, Research Assistants, or Student Techs. These positions not only look good on resume or curriculum vitae, but they are excellent opportunities for students to further their training in Psychology.

student techs

Our Student Techs Semira Nock (left) and Tamera Stanley (right)

Networking: Through these positions, students will be able to develop deeper relationships with their professors and fellow students. Peer Teaching Assistants, for example, work closely with students inside and outside of class. Similarly, Research Assistants work closely with their professors and research teams as they engage in various research activities. Finally, Student Techs assist with various projects depending on the need of the department as they work closely with the faculty.

Skills: While Research Assistants are learning the nuances of various research tasks that are essential for graduate school, Peer Teaching Assistants are cultivating leadership skills by facilitating class activities and discussions. Students Techs are developing their organizational skills by working on a variety of tasks, such as coordinating department events and designing bulletin boards to create a fun and cohesive community for our students.

Professional development: Our Peer Teaching Assistants, Research Assistants, and Students Techs are all responsible, hardworking, and attentive to detail. They are also acquiring important organizational, time-management, and communication skills that are applicable for graduate school or future career.

Interested in any of these positions? Please email Dr. Elliott for more information!

Written by: Semira Nock 

Note: Sharelle Langaigne will be co-hosting the “Art and Mental Health” session with Dr. Iannone on November 5, 2019 (Tuesday) from 7 to 9pm in MAC Room N204. Come join us to learn about how art and creativity can impact and improve your mental health by participating in art activities. 

I graduated with my B.S. in Psychology from Stevenson University in May 2015. I recently completed my Master's degree in Art Therapy and Creativity Development from the Pratt Institute and will be taking the licensing exam to become a Board Certified Art Therapist.

Sharelle Langaigne

I am currently working in Washington D.C. at an emergency domestic violence shelter where I am designing and facilitating arts-based integrative mental health groups for domestic violence survivors. Taking place at both the shelter and in the community, these groups inspire individual expression and bring healing through creative arts.

The Stevenson Psychology program has provided me with the foundation to learn and grow in various contexts. The thoughtfully-designed curriculum has prepared me very well, from conducting research to communicating clearly in writing using APA style. The many opportunities to present at SU (e.g., Stevenson Psychology Student Research Showcase) and Regional conferences (e.g., Eastern Psychological Association), as well as the completion of internship were crucial for my professional development. Above all, the Psychology faculty are always going out of their way to encourage us to achieve our dreams. I would like to especially thank Dr. Spada and Dr. Tulloch. While Dr. Spada has taught me the value of engaging in community services and what it means to become a woman leader, Dr. Tulloch has taught me not to give up when I encounter challenges. Taken together, I feel very prepared as a result of the excellent education I received as a Psychology major at Stevenson.

I am ending my essay with a piece of advice for our current students. You are all so lucky to be studying at Stevenson! As I talked to my friends from other schools, I found out that not many of their faculty knew them by their names or able to establish close relationships with them. As such, make the most of your Stevenson experience! Work hard and you will be successful!

I first decided to become a psychology major when I was 12 years old. Growing up, I have always found joy in helping out my family members, specifically my cousins, with the problems that they were facing. As I began visiting various colleges, I was impressed by how much the Stevenson Psychology professors care about their students. During my visit, I heard from Nick Mehiel, who was a recent graduate of this program, as he shared how the psychology department had nurtured and empowered him to be the best student he could be. From my small talks with the Psychology professors, I was surprised by how much they were interested in me as a prospective student. I instantly knew that the Psychology program at Stevenson University was the right fit for me. 

During my freshman year, I had the privilege of learning from Dr. Metzger and Dr. Wong in the classroom setting, and they were truly exceptional teachers! Beginning this semester, I have started working closely with Dr. Elliott as the student tech. I am assisting with various tasks, and currently helping out to create a series of activities to further engage our freshman Psychology students.

Semira Nock

Tamera Stanley (’22 Psychology), Dr. Elliott, and Semira Nock (22’ Psychology). Photo credit: Nya Medley (’22 Psychology)

I feel really special to be part of the Psychology family. I think everyone here genuinely wants me to succeed. The professors will not hesitate to go out of their way to support me. I look forward to the next few years as I continue to grow and thrive in this department.

By: Semira Nock

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