Welcome from Department Head
Welcome to another great year in the Department of Psychology. Our annual graduation and awards ceremonies last spring highlighted some of the great work our students are doing. Fall semester is already upon us and we look forward to a productive year with more great accomplishments by our faculty and students. We hope you enjoy this latest installment of our newsletter!
-Department Head Keith Campbell
This section represents news from fall through Dec. 2015.
Catherine Mewborn's research, which was conducted in her first two years, has been featured in several news outlets including UGA Today and Science Daily.
Julie Delose was awarded a grant from the UGA Office of Sustainability. She was awarded $4670 to conduct her research proposal. Her research grant is titled: “Why Can't We Be Sustainable Later? Examining the Role of Environmental Attitudes on Sustainable Behaviors in the Present and in the Future.”
Dr. Brett Clementz, along with the B-SNIP Lab and Dr. Jennifer McDowell, is lead author on a paper which had a press release in NIMH and was featured in Science Daily.
2011 graduate Elizabeth Simpson, of the BBS program, was named a "Rising Star" by the Association for Psychological Science, one of 121 young academic psychologists singled out for this honor.
Drs. Brian Hoffman and Chuck Lance received the Sage 2015 Scholarly Impact Award for their paper, "Generational differences in work values: Leisure and extrinsic values increasing, social and intrinsic values decreasing".
Staff Highlight: Caty Griffin
Caty Griffin is the wonderful face people first encounter in the front office of the psychology building. Caty received her undergraduate degree in marketing from UGA this past May and has been working for the university since her sophomore year. First, she was a desk assistant in O-House, and then was the admissions assistant for UGA’s public administration master’s and doctoral programs. She's been in the psych department as an administrative associate since August of this year. Asked about what she enjoys about her position, Caty says that she loves being the person to come to when anyone has a need. With many jobs, you only get to work with people on your level. Here, she has the opportunity to assist students and faculty alike. She has really enjoyed getting to know everyone in the department.
Caty's number one hobby at the moment is knitting followed closely by cross stitching and reading. She's currently reading Hector and the Search for Happiness saying, "I highly recommend it if you haven’t read it yet!” As for any juicy stories to share, Caty says there isn’t a single story, but through a series of events she's learned one great lesson from working here: copiers are the most temperamental, confusing, and expensive pieces of equipment in the world. Her advice: "Treat them like your babies."
Undergraduate Highlight: Tiaya Clark
I am a third-year student from Albany, Georgia majoring in psychology with a minor in communication studies. My initial interest in the field of psychology began in grade school. I have always been an observer or what some would call a "people watcher". I enjoy learning why individuals do what they do, think how they think, and feel how they feel, specifically in the area of mental illnesses. During the fall semester I conducted research with Dr. Tarek Grantham in the Educational Psychology Department at UGA. My research focused on equity of under-represented students in advanced programs, as well as university-school partnerships that promote talent development among youth. As I begin to think about graduate programs, I plan to continue this research.
I thoroughly enjoy singing and volunteering. When I am not studying, serving as the undergraduate president of Psi Chi, or acting as a resident assistant on campus, you can find me singing the latest tunes or volunteering with youth in the Athens-Clarke community. As a student at the University of Georgia I believe service has become very important, as it has taught me the art of compassion and understanding. Though I have not chosen a specific career path yet, I believe that if I continue to align my efforts and interests with something bigger than myself or my own achievements, I can infuse those efforts with passion and purpose. This alone will lead me to the perfect career with an educational background in psychology.
Undergraduate Highlight: Benjamin Listyg
I am a senior psychology major and statistics minor, interested in Industrial-Organizational Psychology. I initially heard of I/O in my AP Psychology class in high school which sparked my interest in majoring in psychology. I first got involved with research after taking Dr. Nathan Carter's research design course my freshman year and being brought on as an undergraduate research assistant with the Applied Psychometrics Lab. After that, I applied for and accepted positions with Dr. Brian Hoffman's LPD Lab and Dr. Malissa Clark's WAFER Lab. In addition to my research at UGA, I also conducted research at Georgia Tech under Dr. Ackerman in the Knowledge and Skill Lab the summer after my sophomore year.
Overall, I'm interested in quantitative social science, psychometrics, and organizational research methods, but all of that is subject to change as I learn more and experience more in graduate school. I enjoy going to movies and concerts with my friends, but sometimes my wallet can't keep up with all the events going on. Recently, I've also really enjoyed hiking and plan on hiking Brasstown Bald (the highest natural point in Georgia) before I leave for grad school.
Faculty Highlight: Kacy Welsh
1. What is the best part about being at UGA?
The best part about being at UGA is the people. I get the chance to work with such smart, talented, and dedicated coworkers in the Psychology Department who give me freedom to do the things I'm passionate about in the ways that make me feel fulfilled. Also, through the Center for Teaching and Learning, I've found others both inside and outside of my department who are just as invested in teaching as I am, and they have really helped me to continue to grow as an educator. In the classroom, I get to interact with such bright and enthusiastic students who make me feel like I'm really making a difference in their lives. It's the people that really make UGA great.
2. What do you aim to teach in your lectures?
I teach a wide variety of classes and students so it's hard for me to come up with a single theme that unites them all. However, one of the important things I'm always trying to get students to see is that diversity exists in most facets of life and that is a good thing. Learn to appreciate and value the things that make you and those around you unique because the world would be a boring, stagnant place if we were all exactly the same.
3. Describe one of your favorite experiences since moving to Athens.
It's so hard for me to pick just one, given how much I love living here, but I guess I would say the Wild Rumpus parade that happens downtown every year for Halloween. Halloween has always been one of my favorite holidays and people in Athens get SO into it! The parade really highlights the creativity that exists in this town and the unique character of the city. And of course any event that allows me to dress up in costume is going to be a hit in my book! My family has been in every Wild Rumpus parade since they started it.
4. What is something we may not know about you?
Many people do not know that I've been practicing martial arts for 15 years now and have a third degree black belt in a Korean art called Kyukido. In my day to day life, especially at work, I'm not a very confrontational or aggressive person, so I think people are a little taken aback by how much I enjoy kicking and punching and wrestling in my "off hours". It's great stress relief though, and the only exercise I've ever enjoyed enough to stick with over the long term.
5. If you weren't a psychologist, what would you be? Alternatively, if you weren't a lecturer, what would you be?
If I had unlimited resources so the pay was not an issue, I would work in the infant room of a daycare center. There is nothing I love more than babies, especially those under one year old. I've also been called the "baby whisperer" because I have a knack for calming infants down and getting them to go to sleep, so I think I'd be pretty good at that job.
Graduate Student Highlight: Molly Davis
Molly Davis is a fourth-year PhD student in the Clinical Psychology Program here at UGA. She enjoys the fact that there are such varied research and clinical opportunities within Clinical Psychology. For instance, she has been able to conduct both basic and applied research with a number of populations, including preschool age children and their mothers, anxious youth during middle childhood, and college students with a chronic illness. She enjoys being able to then apply what she has learned through research to intervention and prevention work in a variety of settings ranging from the UGA Psychology Clinic to schools and hospitals. Her research falls under the umbrella of developmental psychopathology. Molly is particularly interested in children's development of positive emotions. This includes predictors of child positive affect and the role of positive affect in children's psychosocial adjustment, particularly under conditions of risk.
She is currently conducting a study on predictors and sequelae of positive emotions expressed in the school setting among low-income preschoolers. This is a longitudinal study that began this fall, with help from the RED Seed Grant program. When asked why she chose UGA Molly said, "I primarily chose UGA because of my mentor (Cynthia Suveg). I also loved that when I visited UGA, the students here seemed to genuinely enjoy being part of the Clinical Psychology program and living in Athens. Of course, UGA's strong reputation as a Clinical Science program didn't hurt!" She hopes to have a very research-oriented career, likely in academia. Outside of research, Molly enjoys running, spending time with friends, trying new restaurants in Athens and Atlanta, and watching Netflix (the new Chelsea Handler show has a clinical psychologist on it, so this probably counts as studying).
Graduate Student Highlight: Anna Hulett
Anna Hulett is a fifth-year within the Industrial-Organizational Psychology PhD program. Anna recently received UGA's Innovative and Interdisciplinary Research Grant for her dissertation work, focused on individuals with disabilities and the workplace. Her applied experiences have also been a major focus in Anna's professional development. In the past year she has worked with multiple Fortune 50 organizations including full time internships at UPS and Johnson & Johnson, along with a short term project with Proctor & Gamble. Within these organizations she has created an impact in areas like employee engagement, leadership development, talent assessment, and selection. These experiences are invaluable and have given Anna the opportunity to understand what I/O research truly looks like in action.
Overall, Anna enjoys being able to use the science she loves to make an impact on a large scale in organizations. When asked why she chose UGA, Anna responded with, "UGA had the greatest number of faculty with research interests that aligned with my own, and their program is one of the top in my field! All of that combined with being a lifelong Bulldawg fan made the choice pretty easy for me!" Anna plans to work in the applied sector, but outside of research enjoys reading, running, going to concerts, tailgating and going to games in the fall, and spending time with her dear friends, usually over queso.
Research Highlight: Dr. Karl Kuhnert
1. What is the focus of the LEAD Lab? What is it like for undergrads and grad students to work with you?
The focus is to give access to undergraduates who think I-O psychology is their career choice. For my graduate students it's a chance to teach and get experience explaining how we do work in organizations. My hope is they become inspired by their work knowing they are making a difference in the lives of others.
2. Who or what does your research benefit?
We do work that directly benefits our clients, such as UPS. I do service learning projects in my lab. We are currently doing a strategic planning survey for a local school, but whether it is a small school or large organization like UPS, the principles of good surveys apply. The students benefit because they get real world research experience and get their hand on data that impact people's lives.
3. What can you tell me about your latest book?
The book, The MAP: Your path to effectiveness in leadership, life and legacy, is about how to grow yourself and lead others effectively. We write about how leaders grow and mature in their leadership. We can identify who will be better leaders by assessing a leader’s maturity level. The book details how to grow your leadership level (maturity) and grow your influence with others.
The book is transformational in how it helps leaders grow but it is also transformation in how the research is done. Most all leadership research is taxonomic and cross sectional. We understand leadership by looking backwards by finding out which traits or behaviors correspond to good leadership. This book puts the emphasis on ontogeny--which is the development of the organism, in this case leaders. Our focus is on predicting based on a leaders’ growth how well they will likely lead. Everyone is a leader somewhere, whether it is in an organization such as a sorority, volunteer efforts, or in being a parent. The book is available in bookstores now!
4. Could you describe any on-going studies?
Besides the book I am working with colleagues in South Africa on artificial intelligence projects. Using AI we can now model how experts make decisions. What we are doing is akin to cloning the best decision makers and making their wisdom more available to the organization. I like to say we are digitizing wisdom. We have successfully modeled airline pilots who use jet fuel more efficiently and saved the airline millions of dollars. There are many directions this research may take in the years to come. I see uses in medicine, manufacturing, and even psychology!