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The Impact of Child Maltreatment History on Cognition, Emotion, and Adaptation in College.

Currently, we are conducting research involving UNC students with and without a self-reported history of child maltreatment to examine possible differences in cognitive functioning, emotion processing, levels of aggression and overall adaptation to college. We have been particularly interested in a set of skills called "executive functions" which involve planning, working memory, inhibition, and flexibility, and the degree to which students with a child maltreatment history exhibit differences under "hot" testing conditions in which arousal is heightened through incentives and social stimuli (e.g., faces displaying negative emotions). We are exploring whether a history of child maltreatment confers risk for atypical performance on these executive function tasks, as well as increased levels of aggression, atypical psychophysiological functioning, and decreased success in coping with college stressors and demands. Our goal is to follow these students longitudinally across their college years to identify the factors predictive of attrition and those related to resilience and ultimate college graduation. Recently, we received a $20,000 grant from the Avielle Foundation, which was established in the memory of Avielle Richman, one of the young victims of the Sandy Hook tragedy. The foundation is dedicated to funding research and interventions related to "brain health" and understanding the links between the brain and environmental factors that would put a person at higher or lower risk for violence and aggression. Our research is also funded by a $10,000 Research Dissemination and Faculty Development grant from UNC.

School Scholars for the 2013-2014 year

The School of Psychological Sciences Faculty selected 9 students to be recognized as School Scholars for the 2013-2014 year. Only a very small percentage of psychology students receive this distinction each year based upon their academic achievement, research involvement, leadership, and potential for success in the discipline.

Undergraduate Psychology Majors

  • Chelsea Cordero
  • Corey Doty
  • Amanda Hayes
  • John Mortenson
  • Austin Seeley
  • Michaelann Williams

Graduate Students

  • Kristy Dykema, PhD Program in Educational Psychology
  • Wejdan Felmban, PhD Program in Educational Psychology
  • Mackenzie Peake, PhD Program in Educational Psychology
Austin Seeley

Associate Professor Kristina Phillips

Associate Professor Kristina Phillips attended the International Harm Reduction Conference in June, 2013, in Vilnius, Lithuania.
She presented final outcome data on her NIH R21 grant. Overall, Dr. Phillips and her colleagues found that the brief intervention that they developed improved injection drug users' skin and needle cleaning skills, reduced high-risk injection practices, and led to a lower incidence of bacterial infections at a 6 month follow-up compared with an assessment-only condition

Austin Seeley

Austin Seeley, senior psychology major

had his research "Experiences of Fire Survivors: What Factors Predict Resilience" accepted to the prestigious National Conference on Undergraduate Research (NCUR). He will travel to Louisville, Kentucky in March to present at the national conference. Austin’s research mentor is Dr. Nancy Karlin.

Dr. Nancy Karlin, Professor of Psychological Sciences,

won “Best Professor” in the College of Educational and Behavioral Sciences for The Mirror’s 2013 Best of UNC poll. Dr. Karlin has won this award two years in a row.

Dr. Kristina Phillips, Associate Professor of Psychological Sciences

is Co-Investigator on a research team that won funding from the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The grant, which runs from 2013 to 2018 and totals $2,319,525, funds research that will examine whether a brief skin and needle hygiene intervention is more effective than an assessment-only condition at reducing bacterial infections, high-risk injection practices, and health service utilization among injection drug users. Participants will include 350 drug injectors recruited during an acute medical hospitalization at Boston Medical Center.

Undergraduate Psychology Major Stephanie Dormand spent part of the summer semester 2013 working on research related to Fetal Alcohol Effects in Dr. Gilliam’s laboratory. In this photo she is preparing to give a pregnant mouse a solution containing alcohol.

Caitlin Miller

Trip to India inspires grad to continue community service work

In addition to graduating cum laude with bachelor's degrees in Psychology and Anthropology, Caitlin Miller leaves UNC with awards for outstanding community service and research, and a legacy for helping those less fortunate, both in Greeley and India.

In the summer between her junior and senior year, Miller spent six weeks in India working with three different community service organizations, including one that sought to empower women and another striving to educate children that were once beggars in the country's poorest areas.

She fully immersed herself in the culture, wearing Indian clothes, eating Indian food and even wading in the country's holiest - and by American standards, its dirtiest - rivers.

When she returned to Greeley, Miller, pictured at right with Congolese refugee Jackline, began an internship at the Global Refugee Center, working to raise awareness about the refugee populations in Greeley, helping connect the refugees with the rest of the community and organizing awareness events such as "Walk in Their Shoes."

She also organized concerts, Swahili drum lessons and cultural shows, and taught English to refugees. As a research assistant in UNC's neurophysiology lab, Miller studied traumatic brain injuries' effects on the brain's ability to process information and then combined her anthropological and psychological work for her honors thesis, in which she studied Somali refugees' interpretations of trauma-related mental illnesses.

Her work with refugees, other volunteer work and her thesis earned her the Center for Honors, Scholarship and Leadership's Civic Engagement Award and second place in UNC's annual Research Excellence Award competition.

Miller plans to take a break from school by returning to India to continue her work with women's empowerment and rural development organizations before pursuing an advanced degree in psychological anthropology.

Professor Doug Woody, School of Psychological Sciences, was named the 2012-2013 Outstanding Teacher in the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences

Two psychology majors from the School of Psychological Sciences were recognized for their research presentations during UNC’s Research Day:

Undergraduate Research Excellence Oral Presentations

  • Second Place:
    Caitlin Miller
    Somali Refugee Interpretations of trauma-related Mental Illness: Similarities and Differences between the Somali concepts of ‘Murugo Joogto’ and ‘Qulub’ and PTSD
    Faculty Sponsor: Theodore Bashore
  • Finalist:
    Austin Seeley
    Experiences of Fire Survivors and Disaster Mental Health
    Faculty Sponsor: Nancy Karlin

The School of Psychological Sciences Faculty selected 8 students to be recognized as School Scholars for the 2012-2013 year. These students were chosen based on their scholarship, classwork, leadership, and potential for success in the field:


  • Kathryn Bruder
  • Lauren Juhl
  • Caitlin Miller
  • Austin Seeley
  • Lindsey Smith
  • Brittany Wagner

Graduate Students

  • Abel Diaz, PhD Program in Educational Psychology
  • Kristy Dykema, PhD Program in Educational Psychology

The Board of Directors for Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology, designated UNC’s chapter to be a 2012 “Psi Chi Model Chapter.” This designation reflects the activities of UNC’s chapter as well as its financial responsibility and its regular recruitment and induction of new members.

Josh Stewart, doctoral candidate in Educational Psychology, earned the Graduate Dean's Citation for Excellence, Fall Semester 2012, recognizing superior academic achievement of students who are candidates for a graduate degree at the University of Northern Colorado. In addition, Josh received the Graduate Dean’s Citation for Outstanding Dissertation: “Teaching of Evolution in Public Schools: A Cross-Cultural Examination.” Josh was mentored by Dr. Doug Woody and Dr. Steven Pulos.

Dr. Nancy Karlin, Professor of Psychological Sciences, was voted by the students as Best Professor in the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences.
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In collaboration with geosciences researchers at UNC and Texas A&M University, Kevin Pugh and Michael Phillips received a $431,555 grant from the National Science Foundation to study the recruitment and retention of women in the geosciences. The three-year project will investigate why some universities are more effective at recruiting women into geosciences degree programs and moving them on to careers in the geosciences. The investigation will focus on the roles of motivation and identity in interaction with classroom instruction and department climate.

Students from Drs. Kristina and Michael Phillips' Motivation and Addiction Research Group recently presented at the American Psychological Association conference in Orlando, FL. Students presented two posters titled: 1) Marijuana Craving and Academic Motivation with College Students: Ecological Momentary Assessment and 2) Ecological Momentary Assessment with College-Age Marijuana Users: Feasibility of SMS Texting. Pictured here from left to right are: Noah Simon (undergrad), Moshe Machlev (grad), Josh Nowak (undergrad), Erin Morgan (undergrad), Kristy Dykema (grad), and Kayla Tormohlen (undergrad).

Elia Martin was awarded second prize in the McNair student competition this year. She is a psychology undergraduate, and her investigation is entitled, “Using self-determination theory to examine the difference in motivation of African American college students and students with other ethnic backgrounds.” She was mentored on this project by Dr. Teresa McDevitt.

Dr. Michael Phillips received a UNC Provost Award for Travel to attend a five-day workshop in summer2012  presented by the Quantitative Training Program of the Center for Research Methods and Analysis at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. The workshop focused on the fundamentals of multilevel modeling (MLM) covering the theory and practice of methods for analyzing hierarchically organized data. The emphasis of the workshop was on how to design multilevel studies, estimate and interpret random effects, model longitudinal data, center predictors, conduct multiparameter tests, and analyze cross-classified and multiple-membership data.

Dr. Gilliam attended the Short Course on Medical and Experimental Mammalian Genetics at The Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine (July 15-27, 2012; ( The course emphasized current knowledge on genetics in experimental animals and humans. New techniques were learned in studying disease heritability and how molecular genetics is used in the diagnosis and treatment of inherited disorders. Dr. Gilliam incorporates information about genetic underpinnings of neurobehavioral disorders, disease heritability methodology, and treatment options into the courses he teaches (PSY482 - Behavioral Genetics and PSY380 & PSY481 – Introduction to Physiological Psychology & Advanced Physiological Psychology). In addition, the course significantly informed his research on implementing the latest genetic research strategies to uncover Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) liability.

In May 2012, Dr. Nancy Karlin led 10 students enrolled in PSY 495, Community Psychology, on a three-week trip to Thailand. The class enjoyed multiple, varied learning experiences including at Burapha University in Chonburi City and in Baya-Sai village and Chiang Mai. There were also excursions to Burma and South Korea.

University of Northern Colorado faculty Teresa McDevitt and Nancy Sileo will lead a presentation at a public forum on children, poverty and education at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 23, at the Evans Community Center, 1100 37th St.

Topics to be discussed include local initiatives addressing childhood poverty; national, state and Greeley-Evans School District 6 data on children living in poverty; risks and effects of growing up in poverty; the resilience of children; interventions for children in poverty and perspectives from high-poverty/high performance schools.

The program is based on research of existing literature conducted by McDevitt, professor of Psychological Services and acting assistant vice president for Research, and Sileo, professor of Special Education and assistant dean of the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences.

The forum is offered in conjunction with the Evans Area Chamber of Commerce and Greeley-Evans School District 6. Ranelle Lang, District 6 superintendent, will attend and be available to answer audience questions after the presentation.

  • Alumna Wins Award:
    • Dr. Nancy Zook, Associate Professor of Psychology at Purchase College, State University of New York received the 2012 State University of New York's Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching.
  • 2012 Summer Research Stipends were awarded to two Psychology Majors:
    • Erin Morgan
      Title: Marijuana and its effects on college students Psychology
      Faculty sponsor: Michael Phillips
    • Jacob Rutledge
      Title: Effects of One-day Binge Ethanol Exposure on Mice Psychology
      Faculty Sponsor: David Gilliam
  • Congratulations to the following Psychology Major McNair Scholars who were accepted to graduate school:
    • Kara Yamasaki
      • University of Colorado, Denver- Master’s in Clinical Counseling
      • University of Denver- Master’s in Counseling Psychology
    • Christina Rascon
      • University of Denver – Psy.D. in Clinical Psych with emphasis in Forensics
    • Janet Sanchez
      • University of Northern Colorado – Master’s in Clinical Counseling
    • Brianne Posey
      • Arizona State University- MS program in Criminology and Criminal Justice
    • Stautcia Singletary
      • University of Georgia – Master's in Social Work
      • Georgia State University – Master's in Mental Health Counseling
  • Dean’s Citation for Excellence Awards Fall 2011
    • Lori Reinsvold, Doctor of Philosophy
      Educational Psychology
      Advisor: Dr. Kathy Cochran
    • Sarah Wilson, Doctor of Philosophy
      Educational Psychology
      Advisor: Dr. Marilyn Welsh
  • In May 2011, twelve students enrolled in a community psychology class travelled abroad with Professor Nancy Karlin. Following a week of intensive class meetings at UNC, the students enjoyed multiple educational and cultural opportunities in Italy where Dr. Karlin also pursued her research studying resiliency among earthquake survivors in L’Aquila. Dr. Karlin is presently planning to take a class to Thailand in summer 2012. It is anticipated that the students will engage in a service learning project, attend lectures, visit the homes of local residents, and much, much more. If you are interested, please contact Dr. Karlin:
  • The Office of Undergraduate Research Awards provided summer 2011 awards to support the research of two psychology majors:
    • Nicholas Broeker: "The Effect of Non-Linguistic Vocalizations on Emotion Perception."
    • Sara Pena: "Picture Me as Writer: Using Photoelicitation to Explore Writing Self-Efficacy of Struggling Writers."
  • Dr. Thom Dunn, Associate Professor of Psychological Sciences, received the 2010-2011 Outstanding Teacher Award from the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences.

    Dr. Kristina Phillips, Assistant Professor, School of Psychological Sciences received the 2011 Sponsored Programs New Faculty Recognition Award

    Former UNC psychology major Sara Baum has been accepted to the Human Services Psychology Ph.D. program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County where she will pursue her interest in resiliency research. Sara Baum's degree will be in Clinical Psychology and Community and Social Psychology (double emphasis)

    For the second year in a row, The School of Psychological Sciences provided meals at the Guadalupe Community Assistance Center in Greeley. Thanks to Cheryl Tsikewa and Nancy Karlin for organizing the collection of donations and purchasing of food. Thanks also to Psi Chi and the students, staff, and faculty who helped to serve dinner. We are pleased to support, in this small way, the good work of the Guadalupe Center.

    Congratulations to Drs. Granrud, Karlin, and Pascoe and to Teaching Assistant Josh Stewart for being recognized as "2011 First Year Scholars Outstanding Faculty."

    Psychology major Nicholas Broeker will present his research at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research in Ithaca, New York: "The Effect of Dissonant Tones on Emotion Perception: Surprise vs. Fear." Dr. Eric Peterson was the faculty mentor for the project.

    Lynn Dean, doctoral student in educational psychology, was recently given the Outstanding Service Award by Catholic Charities in recognition of 25 years of volunteer service.

    Associate Professor of Psychological Sciences Doug Woody was recently elected to serve as president-elect of the Rocky Mountain Psychological Association. The position is one of six on the executive board of the organization, which advances psychology in science, as a profession and to promote human welfare in an eight-state region.

    The second cohort in our online MA in Educational Psychology: Teaching Applications will begin coursework in June, 2011. For more information, please contact Dr. Marilyn Welsh (

    The School of Psychological Sciences has been selected to receive the 2010 University of Northern Colorado Academic Excellence Award for School/Program Excellence in Scholarship.

    The National Institute on Drug Abuse, a division of the National Institutes of Health, awarded a two-year, $377,000 grant to Dr. Kristina Phillips, Assistant Professor of Psychological Sciences, for a study that will develop a drug abuse intervention to reduce viral and bacterial infections associated with injection drug use.

    Dr. Jeanne Ormrod, Professor Emeritus of Educational Psychology, will deliver the commencement address at the Graduate Ceremony on December 10, 2010.

    Congratulations to the winners of the 2010 Research Excellence Awards held in conjunction with Research Day on April 8, 2010!


    Sara Baum

    An Analysis of Immigration-Related Depression: Correlations to Acculturation, Stressors, and Utilization Resources

    • Discipline: Psychology and Sociology
    • Faculty Mentor: Kevin Pugh

    Educational Psychology Doctoral student Crystal Baker won first place for her lecture entitled: "Does a Correlation Exist Between IQ and Mindreading Ability?: A Meta-Analysis of the Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test” presented at the Intermountain Research Symposium at Utah State University.   

    Senior Psychology Major Sara Baum has been selected to provide the Student Welcome at the Spring 2010 Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony.

    The School of Psychological Sciences will honor 8 students at the 2010 College Honors Convocation in April. These students were selected by the School faculty for their academic accomplishments, leadership, and potential for success in the psychological sciences:

    Graduate Students:

    • Crystal Baker
    • Karen Schmidt


    • Sara Baum
    • Zach Doyle
    • Peter Graham
    • Allison Raguse
    • Ariana Winn
    • Skye Woestehoff

    See Previous School Scholars

    Psychology major Zach Doyle is an honors student working with Dr. Thom Dunn, Associate Professor of Psychological Sciences. His  research titled Delis-Kaplin Executive Functions System Tower Test: Ability to Detect Malingering was chosen from 2600 submissions for oral presentation at the National Conferences on Undergraduate Research, April 15-17, 2010, at the University of Montana.

    The National Conferences on Undergraduate Research (NCUR), established in 1987, is dedicated to promoting undergraduate research, scholarship, and creative activity in all fields of study by sponsoring an annual conference for students. Unlike meetings of academic professional organizations, this gathering of young scholars welcomes presenters from all institutions of higher learning and from all corners of the academic curriculum. Through this annual conference, NCUR creates a unique environment for the celebration and promotion of undergraduate student achievement, provides models of exemplary research and scholarship, and helps to improve the state of undergraduate education.

    Dr. Nancy Karlin received the 2008 Distinguished Service Award from the Rocky Mountain Psychological Association

    Dr. Carl Granrud will provide the Keynote Address for a Workshop at the University of Pennsylvania’s Institute for Research in Cognitive Science. The Workshop, February 20-22, is on Cognitive and Developmental Factors in Perceptual Constancy and Dr. Granrud’s presentation is titled: Judging the size of a distant object: Strategy use by children and adults

    Dr. Teresa McDevitt will be a featured speaker at the SRCD Developmental Science Teaching Institute in Denver, April 1, 2009. The title of her talk will be Five perspectives on teaching child development to future teachers: A participatory analysis. For more information, visit the Society for Research in Child Development Web site.

    Dr. Kevin Pugh was approved for a REDI grant of $20,000 to support a project titled: A Design-Based Approach to Fostering Transformative Learning in Middle School Science.

    At their annual conference, the Rocky Mountain Psychological Association named Dr. Nancy Karlin as recipient of the 2008 Distinguished Service Award.

    At the Spring Academic Excellence Banquet The School of Psychological Sciences Received the University’s 2008 Award for School/Program Excellence in Service.

    Congratulations to Theodore Bashore who won funding of more than $150,000 from the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Science. More information about Bashore's research project.