Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Dr. Tasneem Khambaty
Examines interrelations among biopsychosocial factors and cardiometabolic health and disease. Specifically, research at the interface of cardiometabolic disease risk (e.g., diabetes, cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome), aging, cognition, psychosocial and biobehavioral factors, and health disparities. Examines: (1) psychosocial (e.g., depression and anxiety symptoms, subtypes and disorders, socioeconomic status) and cognitive risk factors for the development of diabetes- and dementia-related outcomes, (2) biobehavioral mechanisms that underlie these associations; and (3) psychosocial factors that contribute to racial/ethnic disparities in cardiometabolic disease, focusing on Hispanic/Latino and African American populations.

Study Activities: Active participation in data collection on campus and downtown (Baltimore VA); Data management and entry; literature reviews and presentation of the same; conference presentations and manuscript preparation; attending research team meetings.



Dr. Diane Alonso (Shady Grove Campus)

Merging Cognitive Psychology with Computer Science/Human Computer Interaction to implement best practices in technology, teamwork, and education. Two primary focus areas are (1) studying how to effectively integrate technology into the classroom and (2) exploring mechanisms to promote interdisciplinary, inter-institutional, and interprofessional experiences in education.

Student Activities: Specifically for students who are enrolled in the psychology program at the Universities at Shady Grove (USG) campus in Rockville, MD: Internships (PSYC 398), Independent Research in Psychology (PSYC 490) and Honors Thesis Research (PSYC 498 and 499H). For the research courses, qualified students, who have successfully completed PSYC 312 (Research Methods in Psychology II) will design, develop, deploy, and analyze data from an experiment. They will also present their findings at conferences and prepare a manuscript for publication.

Contact: dalonso@umbc.edu


Dr. Robert Anderson

Health Psychology, healthy personality, and healthy relationships. Clinical psychology and conceptualizations of deviance. Aggression and forensic psychology. Interdisciplinary studies, contextual bases of behavior, critical thinking and scientific literacy.

Student Activities:  Internships (service learning, field placement experiences, Psychology of the Workplace Certificate). Interdisciplinary Studies. Independent research,literature reviews, and library/internet research.

Contact: randerson@umbc.edu


Dr. Danielle L. Beatty Moody

Pathophysiological linkages of psycho social and environmental factors to cardiovascular and cerebrovascular endpoints across the life course, particularly in racial/ethnic minorities.To investigate these endpoints, our work uses Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) of the brain, ambulatory methodologies such as ambulatory blood pressure assessment, actigraphy (to assess sleep), and heart rate variability.

Student Activities:  Literature reviews, data collection, entry,and management. Conference presentations and manuscript preparation.

Contact: dlbeatty@umbc.edu


Dr. John Borrero

Behavioral applications to response allocation of college undergraduates, persons with intellectual disabilities, and typically developing young children.

Student Activities:  Assisting with laboratory sessions, observing, scoring, and graphing behavioral data, and intensive literature searches to facilitate manuscript preparation.

Undergraduates interested in joining Dr. Borrero’s team must have completed PSYC 210.

Contact: jborrero@umbc.edu


Dr. Anne Brodsky

Resilience and the role of communities, psychological sense of community (PSOC), and culture in creating and resisting societal risks, including community violence, poverty, racism, sexism, and other forms of oppression. The exploration of resilient processes in diverse populations.

Student Activities : Various experiences related to conducting, organizing, coding, and analyzing qualitative data with a focus on culture, gender and community.

Contact: brodsky@umbc.edu


Dr. Charissa Cheah

The impact of culture on socialization processes and the social- emotional, psychological, and physical health and development of children, adolescents, and emerging adults. Research focuses on immigrant, ethnic and/or religious minority groups in the U.S. (e.g., Asian immigrants, Muslim-American adolescents) and cross-cultural comparisons internationally (e.g., China, Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia, Turkey, Italy).

Student Activities : Research design, data collection (interviewing parents, children, adolescents), questionnaire assessments, observations of behaviors, experiments with children), data entry and management, library research, involvement in conference presentations and manuscript publications, and attending research team meetings.

Contact: ccheah@umbc.edu


Dr. Lynnda Dahlquist

Developing effective psychological treatments for the pain and fear children experience during medical treatment; child and family adjustment to chronic illness.

Student Activities:  Testing distraction-based management protocols with children and adults using laboratory pain protocols, recruiting families to participate in questionnaire based studies; administering questionnaires, interfacing with medical staff, transcribing/coding parent-child interaction videotapes, scoring questionnaires, data entry, and library research.

Interested students should e-mail Dr. Dahlquist to arrange for an interview.  Please include your GPA, a resume and a statement of interest.

Contact: dahlquis@umbc.edu


Dr. Erika Fountain

Research Interests: the intersection of developmental and community psychology, law, and public policy; how adolescents and their families navigate the legal system, juvenile plea bargaining, legal decision making, and attorney-client-family relationships; how research informs policy and policy change.
Student Activities: Research assistants can begin developing their research skills by assisting with the development of research protocols, data collection, literature reviews, and manuscript preparation. Advanced research assistants may be able to develop independent research projects in the lab. Students who wish to gain research experience in preparation for graduate school are encouraged to apply.
Contact: efount@umbc.edu


Dr. Karrie Godwin

Dr. Godwin’s Child Development Lab is looking for self-motivated students interested in developmental psychology and its application to education and learning. Current topics include: the development of executive functioning and attention regulation and their impact on learning. Undergraduate students’ experience in the lab will enable them to gain important skills to contribute to science and be competitive in applying to graduate school or other future positions.
Student Activities: Students will gain experience in all aspects of the research process including: collecting data with children and adults, creating stimuli for studies, as well as data entry. With appropriate lab experience, students can also pursue advanced opportunities including participating in the lab’s dissemination efforts (e.g., conference presentations and publications) and taking leadership roles on research projects.
Contact: kgodwin@umbc.edu


Dr. Donald Knight (Shady Grove Campus)

Cultural psychological constructs, including but not limited to: research mentoring of minority doctoral students in professional psychology; minority men, masculinity and father absence issues; and cultural competency/humility in applied clinical work.

Contact: dknigh1@umbc.edu


Dr. Elliot Lasson (Shady Grove Campus)

Generational differences in the workforce, employment interviewing, career progression, performance management, social media and employment; digital technologies and boundaries, personality and integrity assessment.

Student Activities:  academic advisement, career coaching to facilitate internships and job opportunities in I/O and HR, resume advisory, mock interviews, sharing job leads, professional network integration.

Contact: elasson@umbc.edu


Dr. Kenneth Maton

Minority student achievement (ongoing evaluation and implementation assessment of programs (e.g, Meyerhoff Scholars Program; STEM BUILD; LSAMP).

Student Activities:  Coding interview transcripts, data entry, assisting with literature reviews, tracking research participants, preliminary data analysis.

Contact: maton@umbc.edu


Dr. Christopher Murphy

Prevention and treatment of abuse and violence in intimate adult relationships. Example topics include the efficacy of prevention programs for gender-based violence, treatments for individuals who engage in intimate partner abuse, and the role of trauma in abuse perpetration.

Student Activities:  Literature searches, data management, data coding, internship experiences at domestic violence agencies, analysis of archival data from clinical studies.

Contact: chmurphy@umbc.edu


Dr. Nkiru Nnawulezi

Research interests in intimate partner violence; community-based participatory research; survivor empowerment; housing instability; intersectionality; structural interventions. Teaching interests in community psychology; qualitative research methods;  community based participatory research; mixed methods.
Student Activities: Lit reviewing, feminist interviewing, community-based survey development, data management and analysis, manuscript preparation, academic and community data dissemination

Contact: nnawulez@umbc.edu


Dr. Eileen O’Brien

Training and consultation to early childhood initiatives; academic program development; course redesign; faculty learning communities; issues in higher education.

Student Activities:  Manages the Undergraduate Peer Mentor Program in Psychology and the Graduate Teaching Fellowships (PSYC 796).

Contact: eobrien@umbc.edu


Dr. Steven Pitts

Evaluation and application of emerging analytical techniques, particularly as pertaining to longitudinal data analysis; risk and protective factors of young adult substance abuse, developmentally limited alcoholism, and intergenerational transmission of substance abusedisorders.

Student Activities: Interviewing participants, data entry and analysis, literature review, aspects of research development and design.

Contact: spitts@umbc.edu


Dr. Raimi Quiton

Biopsychosocial factors that affect pain perception and lead to disparities in chronic pain based on gender, ethnicity, and age. The use of neuroimaging to study the underlying neural mechanisms by which these factors influence pain processing in the brain. Current projects focus on biological factors such as sex and age; psychological factors such as optimism and emotion regulation;and socio cultural factors such as social isolation, ethnic identity, and discrimination. Collaborative projects include studies of the neural mechanisms of chronic migraine and of ethnic disparities in comorbid pain and PTSD.

Student Activities: Research participant recruitment and scheduling, data collection (questionnaires, sensory testing, neuroimaging), data entry and statistical analysis, library research, literature review writing, and opportunity to be involved in independent research projects that may lead to conference presentations and manuscript publications.

Contact: rquiton1@umbc.edu


Dr. Laura Rose

Child and adolescent development, early intervention, adolescent parenting, career development and graduate planning, enhancing writing across the discipline.

Student Activities: Manages the Undergraduate Peer Mentor Program in Psychology and Co-Advises Psi Chi, The International Honors Society in Psychology

Contact: laurose1@umbc.edu


Dr. Rebecca Schacht

Intersection of trauma exposure and addictive and other forms of health behavior, particularly among members of disadvantaged groups; training in clinical psychology and allied disciplines. Director of the UMBC Psychology Training Clinic

Contact: rschacht@umbc.edu


Dr. Jason Schiffman

Early identification of psychosis. Premorbid and prodromal risk factors of psychosis. Psychosocial functioning and interventions for youth with, or at risk for, schizophrenia spectrum disorders, as well as their families. Reduction of stigma against people with psychosis and other mental health concerns.

Student Activities: Data entry, literature search, assisting graduate students, participation in journal article discussions, possibly more clinical related activities depending on qualifications and available opportunities.

Contact: schiffma@umbc.edu


Dr. David Schultz

Social development in infancy and early family interventions that promote social competence and healthy development. Supporting families in poverty to meet children’s developmental needs.

Student Activities : Interview caregivers and parent home visitors; data entry. Interested students should contact Dr. Schultz during the pre-registration period. 

Contact: dschultz@umbc.edu


Dr. Susan Sonnenschein

Factors that promote academic success for children from different racial/ethnic and SES backgrounds. Current research focuses primarily on young children’s math and literacy development and documents home and school experiences (including parent/teacher practices and beliefs) pertinent for educational success.

Student Activities: Assistance with coding and analyzing data, library research, interviewing parents/ children, assessing children’s competencies. Activities will take place virtually during COVID.

Contact: sonnensc@umbc.edu


Dr. Shuyan Sun

Modeling longitudinal data with complex structures, psychometrics, and meta-analysis. Children’s academic developmentin early school years, the role of school engagement in academic achievement, as well as formal and informal learning environments for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) from K-12 to higher education.

Student Activities:  Literature search, recruiting participants, data cleaning, data management, statistical analysis, and conducting independent research projects. Please e-mail Dr. Sun if you love statistics And are interested in analyzing a large data set on the effects of social contexts on child development.

Contact: suns@umbc.edu


Dr. Shari Waldstein

The relation of cardiovascular risk factors and diseases to cognitive function, brain structure, and brain function. Biopsychosocial factors in the development of cardiovascular disease. How psychological factors influence acute, stress-induced cardiovascular responses. Race- and socioeconomic status – related health disparities in the prior associations.

Student Activities: Literature search, data coding, data entry, assisting graduate students, development of independent projects (as available).

Contact: waldstei@umbc.edu