Department of Psychology
Department of Psychology

Spring 2019 Newsletter — Welcome from the Chair

Wed, June 5, 2019
Spring 2019 Newsletter — Welcome from the Chair
Psychology Chair Dr. Jacqueline Woolley

Welcome to the 13th Edition
of the Psychology Department Newsletter!

 

Dear Alumni and Friends,

This Spring semester has been both exciting and challenging here in the Seay Building. On the exciting front, our new faculty members, Frances Champagne and James Curley, have moved into their beautiful new lab space on the 5th floor. Feel free to stop by and see it some time! And thanks to the efforts of Dean Diehl, preliminary work has begun on the new Seay Annex. Among other things, the building of the Annex will allow us to bring the Institute for Mental Health Research (IMHR), which is presently housed in the Patton building across campus, back under our roof. This will facilitate collaborations between faculty and students and will improve connections and interactions with our Psychology Training Clinic.

As usual, we have sent a growing number of both graduate and undergraduate students to present their work at conferences this semester, both national and international. Traveling to conferences is a critical experience for our young researchers; it’s a chance for them to introduce other people to their groundbreaking work, and it’s also a way for them to meet senior people in their field. Yet it can be expensive to fly somewhere and pay for a place to stay during the conference. Your donations make many of these endeavors possible.

As you know, our students and faculty are world-renowned researchers and teachers and I want to share their recent accolades with you. One of our newest faculty members, Dr. Katharine Tillman, has been making a splash both on the teaching and research fronts. For her teaching, she has received a UT Experiential Learning Initiative Course Developer Award, and for her research she was just awarded the Prestigious Glushko Dissertation Prize. In addition, Dr. Kim Fromme received the APA 2019 Award for Distinguished Scientific Contributions, and Professor Michael Domjan received the 2019 Clifford T. Morgan Award for Distinguished Service to Division 6 of the APA. Undergraduate Megan Abrameit is on the 2019 Dean's Distinguished Graduate List and Madeleine Brunk received a Dean's List Honorable Mention. Landry Bulls, Trisha Gupte, Sandra Kumar and Mathilda Nicot-Cartsonis received UT Undergraduate Research Fellowships. Lucas Bowen, Sara Cline, Katherine Hsieh, Madeline Harrington, Nicole Lahav and Alexis McDonald were awarded UT's Unrestricted Endowed Presidential Scholarships. Graduate students Ariel Handy and Jolene Jacquart were awarded our department's Janet T. Spence Outstanding Teaching Assistant Awards, while graduate student Nick Medrano was selected for the 2019 Janet T. Spence Outstanding Assistant Instructor Award. PhD candidate Justin Dainer-Best was awarded the Psychology Department's Outstanding Dissertation Award. Undergraduate students Priyanka Deshmane and Yegene Lee received the UT David Howard Ivey Memorial Endowed Scholarship for 2018–2019.

On the challenging front, we have lost some of our dearest friends and colleagues this past year. This year we said goodbye to: Psychology pioneer and alumnus Dr. Edward Frank Zigler, who passed away on February 7, 2019, at the age of 88; Wayne H. Holtzman, Hogg Professor Emeritus of Psychology and Education, who passed away on January 23, 2019, at age 96; Dr. Juan Salinas, dedicated Psychology lecturer, who passed away on September 8, 2018, at age 51; and Distinguished Teaching Professor Timothy Schallert, who passed away on May 29, 2018, at age 68. We miss them all greatly and will never forget their dedication to our department and their colleagues, as well as their many contributions to the field of Psychology and their students.

This will be my last Chair’s Welcome, as I’ll be stepping down on July 31, to rejoin the ranks of the faculty. Prof. David Schnyer will be taking over, and has all kinds of great plans for the department! As Chair, one of the things I have enjoyed the most has been learning about the research done by my colleagues here in the department. As a faculty member, it’s easy to get wrapped up in my own research and I often didn’t make time to learn about and appreciate what others were doing. As a result of serving as Chair, I’ve developed a better sense of how amazing our department is, both in terms of the innovative research our faculty conducts and the stellar teachers who make up our ranks.

In this issue of our newsletter, you’ll read about an amazing undergraduate student, Qusay Hussein, initially mentored by Dr. Andrew Gaudet, who connected with him through UTeam. He is now is working in Dr. Carlson’s lab, studying and researching positive psychology. The obstacles he has overcome after being injured in an attack by a suicide bomber help put our troubles in perspective, and his recovery and subsequent achievements are inspiring and motivating.

A special segment of this issue introduces you to Professor Bob Joseph’s work on the role of testosterone in anxiety and other clinical conditions and behaviors. Most importantly, Dr. Joseph received a U.S. patent in April for his testosterone nasal spray—only the second patent issued to a professor in the College of Liberal Arts! You can read more about this new invention inside.

Finally, this issue features a report from our own Tamara Kowalski. In case you don’t know Tamara, she’s the one who keeps this wonderful newsletter alive and rolling. This spring, Tamara flew to Ukraine as an international election observer with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe for the first round of that country’s presidential elections.

I hope you enjoy this issue of our newsletter and that you have a wonderful summer! Hook ‘em!

Jacqueline Woolley
Professor and Department of Psychology Chair

 

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