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Undergraduate Research Opportunities

The role of culture and identity in explaining and preventing health disparities (e.g., HIV and cardiovascular disease) among persons of African ancestry. Research and intervention programming are conducted both domestically and internationally (Haiti, Dominican Republic, Brazil, and South Africa) with a special focus on women’s health.

Student Activities : Building community partnerships,organizing and executing health-related community events, preparation of research reports and presentations, participant recruitment, data collection and analysis, data entry, and data management.


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



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.



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.



Dr. Shawn Bediako

Stigma and chronic illness; psychosocial aspects of sickle cell disease; social and cultural determinants of health promoting behavior.

Student activities:  Conducting and analyzing data from experiments, administering surveys, data entry and management, internet and library research, preparing conference presentations

Interested students should contact Dr. Bediako via e-mail.



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.



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.



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.



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.



Dr. Nicole Else-Quest

Gender development, emotions, math and science attitudes and achievement, disease-related stigma, ethnicity, and intersectionality. Recent projects include a longitudinal study of adolescents and their parents, focused on ethnic socialization and identity as well as academic attitudes and achievement.

Student activities:  Data collection, entry, coding, and analyzing; literature searches; assisting graduate students; participation in journal article discussions.



Dr. Bronwyn Hunter

Substance abuse recovery and prisoner reentry. Specific topic areas promote individual and community health and well-being by focusing on stigma and how individuals cope with stigma, women-focused intervention and treatment, and policy change.

Student Activities : Literature reviews, data entry/management/ analysis, community outreach and networking, writing for professional presentations and publications.



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.



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.



Dr. Kenneth Maton

Minority student achievement (ongoing evaluation and implementation assessment of the Meyerhoff Scholars Program); Applied psychology and social policy (national interview student of psychologists seeking to influence social policy).

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


Dr. Christopher Murphy

Abuse and violence in intimate adult relationships. Example topics include the efficacy of cognitive-behavioral and motivational treatments for intimate partner abuse, the role of alcohol and drugs in partner abuse, and posttraumatic stress symptoms as both a consequence of abuse victimization and contributing factor in abuse perpetration.

Student activities:  Literature searches, data management, phone outreach to survivors of intimate partner violence, analysis of archival data from clinical studies.



Dr. Julie Murphy

Sexual orientation/gender identity, assessment, clinical and abnormal psychology, and research methods. Clinical work focuses on feminist relational-cultural therapy, privilege and oppression, and empowerment. Previous research in sexual orientation, insult use, and therapist training.

Student Activities : No current research projects, but available to serve as a reader on honors thesis projects.



Dr. Nkiru Nnawulezi

Research interests in intimate partner violence, survivor help-seeking, empowerment, intersectionality, CBPR, and domestic violence shelter practice. Teaching interests in community psychology, diversity and inclusion, mixed methods.

Student activities: Lit reviewing, feminist interviewing, community-based survey development, data management and analysis, manuscript preparation, academic and community data dissemination



Dr. Eileen O’Brien

Research, training and consultation to early childhood initiatives; grant and policy writing and children’s health care 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).



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.



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.



Dr. Bernie Rabin

Effects of exposure to a ground-based model of space radiation (cosmic rays) on behavior and brain function.

Student activities:  Behavioral testing (novel object recognition, plus-maze performance, spatial learning and memory, operant responding) of rats that have been exposed to the types of radiation encountered in space.



Dr. Laura Rose

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

Student Activities:  PSYC 398 Internships through the Writing Fellows Program.



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



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.



Dr. David Schultz

Social development in early childhood, including infancy through preschool, and early family and school-based interventions that promote social competence and prevent conduct problems. Supporting families in poverty to meet children’s developmental needs.

Student Activities : Interview children, caregivers, and teachers; observe children in preschool centers; data entry. Interested students should contact Dr. Schultz during the pre-registration period. 



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.



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.



Dr. Jolene Sy

Behavior analysis in school settings and examinations of choice when one alternative involves delayed consequences. Evaluations of the effects of imperfect contingencies (e.g., delayed consequences and choice, reduced treatment integrity) on skill acquisition among individuals diagnosed with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities.

Student Activities : Collection and management of data, as well as conduct of experimental sessions on projects evaluating token systems with children diagnosed with autism at the Shafer Center, classroom teaching procedures, and human operant projects on chosen and delayed consequences with undergraduate students.



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:  Data coding, data entry, library work, data collection, assisting graduate students.



Dr. Karen Watkins Lewis

Research and teaching in child development, socio-cultural psychology, quantitative methodology, and psychology related concepts in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

Student Activities : Information acquisition; Data collection, database development, and analysis of statistical information; Writing and publishing in the discipline.