Research on Veteran Job Skills
First year graduate student Zach Klinefelter and his advisor, Dr. Huffman presented their research on veteran job skills to the Transition to Veterans Program Office (TVPO) of the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s Transition Research Forum in August 2015. The forum is chaired by Dr. Ainspan, a research psychologist with the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and is designed for the “who's who” of government military psychologists. Approximately fifty government military psychologists who are involved in policy writing are invited to the monthly forum. Klinefelter and Huffman provided an overview of their work that was presented at APA in Toronto in August. Their research examined whether the skills and abilities gained from the military translate directly to performance in the civilian sector.
Eion G. Cashman and Kaylynne E. Gray both presented results from their advanced research projects at the annual meeting of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists. The June 2015 conference was held in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Both projects were supervised by Dr. Andy Schrack-Walters. Kaylynne graduated in May 2015 with a major in Psychological Sciences and a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies; Eion also graduated in May 2015 with double majors in Biomedical Science (Emphasis: Chemistry) and Psychological Sciences.
Department welcomes Dr. Dmitrieva.
The Department would like to welcome Dr. Natalia (Natasha) Dmitrieva, Ph.D. as our newest Assistant Professor! Dr. Dmitrieva comes to us directly from her postdoctoral work at Duke University Medical Center, Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development. Dr. Dmitrieva earned her doctoral degree at The Pennsylvania State University in 2011 in Human Development and Family Studies, after completing two majors at UC Irvine in Psychology & Social Behavior and Philosophy in 2005. Dr. Dmitrieva is a developmental health psychologist with expertise in applied statistical methodology. The long-term goal of Dr. Dmitrieva’s research is to better understand how people manage stressors in the context of a chronic illness. In carrying out this work, she has a particular interest in utilizing innovative research methods and statistical analyses (e.g., ecological momentary assessment, latent variable modeling) to address to address rich and meaningful questions that may have been previously difficult to answer. Dr. Dmitrieva will be teaching courses in statistics during the 2015-2016 academic year.
Eat dark chocolate to beat the midday slump, NAU study says
Dr. Larry Stevens and his graduate student Michelle Montopoli's research on the benefits of dark chocolate, published in the journal of NeuroRegulation, is to examine the acute effects of chocolate on attentional characteristics of the brain and the first-ever study of chocolate consumption performed using electroencephalography, or EEG technology. For more information, see the full story in NAU Today.
NAU Student Researchers' Success
Congratulations to undergraduate student (graduate 2015) Victoria Pocknell and her research team (from right to left: Christopher Cuellar, Victoria Pocknell, Alexis Sanchez, and Dr. Mike Alban), for receiving second place in the 2015 SBS Spring Symposium Poster Contest. Their research, which examines cognitive factors affecting freezing as a defensive behavior in humans, was the result of a HURA grant awarded to Ms. Pocknell under the supervision of Dr. Alban. The research will be submitted for publication soon. Victoria’s dedication to research will continue this fall, as she begins the Clinical Ph.D. program at the University of North Dakota.
Andrew Walters AASECT- certified Sexuality Educator
Andrew S. Walters has been designated by the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors, and Therapists (AASECT) as a Certified Sexuality Educator Consultant. AASECT credentials professionals working in sexual health after substantive academic training and supervision. Dr. Walters is the only AASECT-certified Sexuality Educator in Arizona, and also is now Arizona's only Certified Sexuality Educator Consultant. As an AASECT-certified educator consultant, Dr. Walters is able to supervise programs, agencies, and institutions with the development of sexuality- and sexual-health curricula to meet organizational needs.
NAU NASA Space Grant Recipient
Tristan Swatts was awarded a 2015-2016 NAU NASA Space Grant Internship from the Arizona Space Grant Consortium. Tristan’s project, Unpredictable Environmental Noise, will be completed with Department of Psychological Sciences faculty member Dr. Melissa Birkett. Tristan will conduct his research in the upcoming academic year and present the results of his project at the Arizona Statewide Symposium at the University of Arizona in spring 2016. Tristan is a first year student from Sanders, AZ with a major in biomedical science and a minor in psychology.
The Therapeutic Value of Making Art
Ann Collier, assistant professor in our department, has long
believed that her textile hobby is great for relief of stress. In a recent article in The Academic Minute, Sept. 25, 2015, she described the mood
improvement that comes with making things – such activities as quilting,
knitting, sewing, weaving and making rugs.
As a psychologist, she wondered about the therapeutic value of making
art and set up a laboratory study to investigate. The participants, women who were textile
enthusiasts, were asked to reminisce about an anger-provoking situation. Those in the experimental group then went on
to start a textile project while the control group did not. Those in the experimental group returned more
quickly to a happier, less angry place and their inflammatory immune response
(assessed through saliva samples) also showed improvement. Dr. Collier suggests that activities that are
stimulating and engaging may block rumination and are good for improving a bad
mood and deflecting potential health side-effects of that mood.
Dr. Bies-Hernandez's Research Acknowledged with Award
Dr. Nicole Bies-Hernandez's research on teaching effectiveness was recently acknowledged at the National Institute of the Teaching of Psychology in January 2015. Dr. Bies-Hernandez and her coauthors Kris Gunawan & David Copeland were was awarded the The Frank Costin Memorial Award for Excellence given for the poster judged to be most outstanding in terms of contributing to excellence in teaching psychology. The title of the poster was “Teaching Practices that Predict Performance in Undergraduate Psychology Courses.” The purpose of their study was to explore which of the practices are the best predictors of students’ grade performance and learning in large (i.e., 200- or 400-person) sections of an introductory psychology course. For details, see the poster.
Drs. Tidikis and Donohue Team Up for International Research & Teaching Award
Drs. Viktoria Tidikis and Dana Donohue were award an NAU Global and Interdisciplinary Research and Teaching Fund Award for their innovative proposal regarding creativity and intelligence. Their work will bring together NAU (Flagstaff), St. Petersburg University (Russia), Arts Academy (Lithuania), International College of Business (Lithuania), and Vilnius University (Lithuania) in a cross-cultural study of perceptions and understandings of what constitutes creativity. Using measures of creativity and intelligence, Drs. Tidikis and Donohue will examine the cognitive processes believed to underlie creativity and intelligence and examine potential cross-cultural differences.
Graduate Students Participate in Cross-Cultural Training Experience in Republic of Palau
Graduate students Amanda Dunn & Samantha Russell (pictured with Dr. Ann Collier) travelled to the Republic of Palau in January. There, they were part of a team headed by Dr. Collier to train health professionals from Palau's Ministry of Health to deliver an small changes wellness program. This project is part of Dr. Collier's Faculty Grant Program (FGP) titled: Developing a Culturally-Sensitive Obesity Intervention for Pacific Island Families Using a Community-Based Participatory Research Paradigm" under the FY2015 FGP. Ms. Dunn and Ms. Russell are second year graduate students who will be pursuing Ph.D. degrees in areas related to health psychology following graduation from our program.