Department of Psychology
Department of Psychology

Recent Events

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Each spring, the clinical area holds PsychFest, a daylong event and banquet in honor of third-year students. This event features individual presentations by third-year students of their current research (typically, the second-year project) and course of future studies. The department invites a distinguished speaker to attend the event, meet with students, and give a lecture; organizers solicit student input when choosing each year’s speaker.

Past speakers have included:

  • Michael Bailey, Northwestern University (2000)
  • John Weisz, UCLA (2001)
  • Jack Rachman, the University of British Columbia (fall, 2002)
  • Edna Foa, the University of Pennsylvania (spring, 2004)
  • Margaret Kemeny, UCSF (2005)
  • Bill Miller, the University of New Mexico (2006)
  • Andrew Shatte' , Managing Director at Adaptiv Learning Systems (2007)
  • James Coyne, the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (2008)
  • Julia Heiman, director of The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction (2009)
  • Elizabeth Loftus, University of California, Irvine (2010)
  • Charles Carver, Distinguished Professor at the University of Miami (2011)
  • Richard McNally, Harvard University (2012)
  • Matt McGue, University of Minnesota (2013) 
  • Ian Gotlib, Stanford University (2014)
  • Matthew Nock, Harvard University (2015)

To the right of this page is a list of student presentations from this year's event.

The Polka Docs, a band comprised of several clinical faculty members (and quite possibly the only band featuring an accordion AND a didgeridoo), has provided entertainment at a number of the evening banquets.

Lee Willerman Award for Excellence in Research

A highlight of PsychFest is the presentation of the Lee Willerman Award for Excellence in Research, which is given for the outstanding student paper publication. Dr. Willerman, a distinguished researcher in the clinical area from 1971 until his untimely death in 1997, was well-loved by his students and colleagues. The area established the award in 2000 as a tribute to Dr. Willerman and his contributions to the department and the field. The winner receives a plaque and a cash award, and his or her name is added to the permanent plaque displayed in the Seay library.

This year's Lee Willerman Award was given to Sonya Kaur for her paper, "Central Adiposity and Cortical Thickness in Midlife." It was published in 2015 in the journal, Psychosomatic Medicine, 77, pp. 671-678.  

Please click here to see the names of past winners.


Clinical Party

The area hosts a Fall dinner and party for clinical faculty, students, and their partners or spouses. A party highlight is the videotape made by second-year students to welcome the first-year students. In past years, this "welcome video" has included Dr. Telch’s moving efforts to excite a depressed clown, and a current doctoral student "dumpster diving" to find a golden ticket admitting him to the clinical program.

First-Year Clinical Students 2016
First-year students (l to r): Derek Pisner, Erik Zaizar, Aliza Stein, Emily Carl, and Julia Chafkin


Keynote Speaker:

Dr. Sonja Lyubomirsky, University of California—Riverside

KEYNOTE TALK: The how of happiness: Experimentally boosting well-being via kindness, gratitude and optimism"

Student Speakers:

Jolene Jacquart
Combining Exposure Therapy and Exercise: A Randomized Controlled Pilot Study

Stephanie Oleson
Nutrient Intake and Cerebral Metabolism in Healthy Middle-Aged Adults: Implications for Cognitive Aging

Michael D. Lee
Memory Reconsolidation Updating: An Enhancement Strategy for Cognitive Bias Modification

Michael Mullarkey
Does Improving Distress Tolerance Decrease Psychopathology and Increase Well-Being?

Scarlett Baird
Approach Bias Modification among Treatment-Seeking Smokers

Megan W. Patterson
Genetic and Environmental Influences on Anxiety and Depression: Developmental Changes by Age and Puberty?

Download PsychFest 2016 Poster (PDF)

Past Winners of the Lee Willerman Award

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