Department of Psychology
Department of Psychology

Awards 2013

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Wendy Domjan Receives 2013 President's Teaching Award

Wendy I. Domjan, Distinguished Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychology, has been awarded the 2013 President's Teaching Award. The $5,000 award recognizes excellence in undergraduate education in the core curriculum. Winners must also have been involved in curriculum reform and educational innovation. 

Dr. Domjan received her Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1977. She joined the faculty of the Psychology Department of The University of Texas at Austin as an assistant professor. She is now a Senior Lecturer in psychology and the Assistant Director of the Plan II Honors Program. She has taught for the Psychology Department, Plan II Honors, Liberal Arts Honors, the Gateway Program and University Extension, both in evening and online classes.

She is the recipient of the Chad Oliver Teaching Award from Plan II; The Harry Ransom Teaching Award and the Raymond Dickson Teaching Fellowship from the College of Liberal Arts; and is the first recipient of the Psychology Department’s Distinguished Teaching Award. Her most recent teaching interests have focused on the psychology of religion, the psychology of fundamentalism and the psychology of hope and virtue.

Rebecca Bigler Wins Ann L . Brown Award for Excellence in Developmental Research

Professor Rebecca Bigler has won the 2013 Ann L. Brown Award for Excellence in Developmental Research from the Psychology Department at University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. This award is given annually by the Developmental Division of the Psychology Department at the University of Illinois to a researcher whose work has contributed ground-breaking insights to the study of child development.

Professor Bigler's research examines the causes and consequences of social stereotyping and prejudice among children. She has also worked to develop and test the efficacy of interventions aimed at reducing children's gender and racial biases. Past winners of the award include Frank Keil, Carol Dweck, Seth Pollak and Janet Werker, among others.

David Yeager Receives Outstanding Dissertation Award from SRCD

David Yeager, assistant professor in developmental psychology, is the recipient of the Society for Research in Child Development's "Outstanding Dissertation Award". The award will be presented at the SRCD's biennial meeting in April 2013. The papers included in the dissertation are published or are forthcoming at Developmental Psychology, Child Development, and Review of Educational Research.  The dissertation has also won awards from the American Psychological Association (Science Directorate and Division 7—Developmental Psychology), the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues, The American Educational Research Association (Division E—Human Development), the Spencer Foundation, and the International Society for Research on Aggression.

Titles of papers:

Yeager, D.S. & Walton, G. (2011). Social-psychological interventions in education: They're not magic. Review of Educational Research81, 267-301.

Yeager, D.S., Trzesniewski, K., Tirri, K., Nokelainen, P., & Dweck, C.S. (2011). Adolescents' implicit theories predict desire for vengeance: Correlational and experimental evidence. Developmental Psychology47, 1090-1107.

Yeager, D.S., Trzesniewski, K., & Dweck, C.S. (in press).  An implicit theories of personality intervention reduces adolescent aggression in response to victimization and exclusion. Child Development

Yeager, D.S., Miu, A.*, Powers, J.*, & Dweck, C.S. (in press). Implicit theories of personality and attributions of hostile intent: A meta-analysis, an experiment, and a longitudinal intervention. Child Development.

Dr. Yeager received his Ph.D. in developmental and psychological science from Stanford University.  He is a fellow of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and studies adolescent development, with a focus on aggression, stress, and academic achievement.

Dr. Sam Gosling Named Provost's Senior Teaching Fellow

Dr. Sam Gosling was chosen as one of nine Senior Fellows in the Provost's Teaching Fellows program. The program is designed to strengthen faculty participation and governance in the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), enhance faculty collaboration across disciplinary and institutional boundaries, and support specific faculty-led projects to improve teaching and learning.

Provost's Teaching Fellows work closely with the Provost, deans, chairs, other faculty leaders and CTL staff to strengthen the University's support structures for excellent teaching. The program is planned to expand and develop through annual nominations.

The nine Senior Fellows will take on a variety of leadership roles for two years, such as leading faculty learning communities, reviewing grants to support curricular and pedagogical innovation, and participating in operational governance for CTL. More information>



Graduate Student Jennifer Clegg Receives NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Psychology graduate student Jennifer Clegg was selected as a 2013 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) recipient. Jennifer works in Cristine Legare's Cognition, Culture, and Development Lab.

The title of her project is "Contextualizing Conventional and Instrumental Learning Across Cultures." Her research will examine the development of imitation as a tool for social learning in early childhood across a variety of cultural settings, including Vanuatu, an island nation in the South Pacific. In addition to examining the impact of contextual and social cues on children's imitation experimentally, the research will use systematic observation in  early childrearing settings such as homes and preschools to provide insight to young children's naturally-occurring social learning behaviors.

Liberal Arts Junior Wins Prestigious Summer Research Fellowship from the American Bar Foundation

Ayesha Akbar, a junior majoring in government, psychology and Arabic language and culture, has received a 2013 Montgomery Summer Research Fellowship in Law and Social Science from the American Bar Foundation.

She is among four outstanding undergraduate scholars to receive the highly competitive national fellowship, which is designed to introduce promising, diverse students to the rewards and demands of a career in law and social science.

Akbar focuses primarily on South Asia and the Middle East and is interested in researching international law, Islam in politics, poverty, war and corruption. Additionally, she is interested in disability, mental health policy and community activism in those regions. More information>

Psychology Grad Student Wins American Psychological Foundation's Kenneth B. and Mamie P. Clark Grant

Graduate student Yamanda Wright has been awarded the American Psychological Foundation's Kenneth B. and Mamie P. Clark Grant. The $10,000 grant is awarded to a single graduate student (or—in alternating years—a faculty member) whose work promotes understanding of the relation between self-identity and academic achievement, with an emphasis on children in grade levels K-8.  The funds were awarded for Yamanda's dissertation research.

Psychology Undergrad Eric Zaizar Awarded Rapoport-King Thesis Scholarship

Psychology undergraduate student Eric Zaizar was awarded a Rapoport-King Thesis Scholarship in October 2013. He will be receiving $2,500 for his senior year, while his faculty mentor, Professor Michael Telch, will receive a $1,000 research stipend to work closely with him. Zaizar's thesis is titled, “Enhancing Exposure Therapy for Anxiety Disorders with Photobiomodulation.”

The Rapoport-King Thesis Scholarships honor Audre and Bernard Rapoport and Robert D. King, former Dean of the College of Liberal Arts. The scholarships provide scholarship and research support for those students who are writing a thesis in one of the Departmental Honors Programs the year they apply. 

More information about this scholarship.

Psychology Students Receive Fall 2013 Undergraduate Research Fellowships

Seven Psychology students received an Undergraduate Research Fellowship award for Fall 2013. The Fellowships provide support (up to $1,000) for specific scholarly investigative projects conducted by University of Texas at Austin undergraduates. They are intended to cover costs associated with academic research projects proposed and written by student applicants and undertaken with the supervision of a University faculty member, lecturer, senior lecturer or full-time Research Scientist or Engineer.

The recipients are:

Nicholas Govea
Rebecca S. Bigler, Supervisor
“A Psychophysiological Investigation of Biracial Perception and Race based Social Stress”

Cintia Hinojosa
Cristine H. Legare, Supervisor
“Ostracism as a Motivator for Peer Imitation in Children”

Julia R. Martz
Juan M. Dominguez, Supervisor
“Medial Preoptic Modulation of Cocaine-Induced Locomotion”

Joshua A. Ruiz
W. Todd Maddox, Supervisor
“Reward Sensitivity Effects on Exploratory Decision-Making in Depression”

Vaibhav R. Sapuram
W. Todd Maddox, Supervisor
“The Effect of Emotional Arousal on Within-Object and Between-Object Category Learning”

Rachel S. Tessmer
Bharath Chandrasekaran, Communication Sciences & Disorders, Supervisor
“Optimizing Auditory Training for Second Language Learning”

Sarah J. Witkowski
David M. Schnyer, Supervisor
“The Effects of Social Media Use on Sleep in Young Adults”

Psychology Majors Elected to Phi Beta Kappa

17 Psychology majors were recently elected to Phi Beta Kappa at its fall meeting. Upon joining, the students will be inducted into the national honor society at the UT chapter's fall reception on Sunday, December 8th, in the Texas Union Ballroom. Professor Thomas Staley will be the keynote speaker. 

Founded in 1776 at the College of William and Mary, Phi Beta Kappa is the oldest honor society in the United States; its three Greek letters translate to "love of learning is the guide of life."  The newly elected Psychology majors are:

Shanna McConnell
Angelica Garza
Rhoda Jiao
Tristyn Burcham
Brenda Carrillo
David Cregg
Riley Little
Jennifer Burson
Reena Patwari
Sarah Mohkamkar
Juliana Alba-Suarez
Alma Molina
Kelley Nguyen
Mishon Lecheler
Nataline Tran
Adiel Aizenberg
Kay Torriente

Psychology Undergraduate Students Receive David Ivey Scholarship

Psychology Department undergraduate students Caroline Little and Amanda Proctor received the David Ivey Scholarship for the 2013-2014 academic year.

The Ivey Scholarship is a memorial endowed scholarship designed to reward Psychology undergraduate students who spend time doing community service while enrolled at UT. Every fall, two Psychology undergraduate students are selected from an applicant pool to receive an award (the amount of the award varies depending on income generated by the endowment). This year's reward is $600.


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