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 second-year students. This event features individual presentations by second-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:

  • Jim Pfaus, Concordia University (2017)

  • Sonya Lyubomirsky, University of California, Riverside (2016)

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

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 Andrew Grotzinger for his paper, "Genetic and Environmental Influences on Pubertal Hormones in Human Hair Across Development,” which was published in 2018 in the journal, Psychoneuroendocrinology, 90, pp. 76-84.

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 2017
First-year students 2017 (l to r): James Madole, Ciara McAfee, Bridget Freihart, Valeria Treytak, Alban Foulser, Emma Siegel, Talya Feldman, Nell Thompson, Aditi Sabhlok, and Brennan Hickson


Keynote Speaker

Michael Otto, Ph.D., Professor, Boston University

Keynote Address

Remembering Therapy: Translational Perspectives on the Enhancement of Therapeutic Learning

Student Speakers

Emily Carl
Brief Mindfulness and Acceptance for Exercise in Anxiety

Julia Chafkin
Pubertal Development Moderates the Association Between Hormones and Anxiety in Ninth Graders

Derek Pisner
A Microstructural Functional Neurobiology of Depressive Rumination

Aliza Stein
Get it Done: Therapist-Guided Activity Practice for Depressive Symptoms

Eric Zaizar
Singular and Combined Effects of Transcranial Infrared Laser Stimulation and Exposure Therapy: A Randomized Clinical Trial

Download PsychFest 2018 Poster (PDF) 

Past Winners of the Lee Willerman Award

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