Emil's Epilogue - May 2011
Gustie Psych News & Eventsgrad cap

Gustavus Psychology Research Symposium - Friday May 13

coverThe spring psychology research symposium will take place in the lower level hallway of SSC on Friday, May 13. Psychology department research symposiums are held near the conclusion of the fall and spring semesters and provide opportunities for Gustavus students to acquaint themselves with research conducted in the psychology department during the semester. Students will display poster presentations and explain their research from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. in the lower level hallway outside SSC 26, 27, and 28.

Beginning at 4:00 p.m. Psychology Honors students Tanner Winslow (4:00 p.m.), Paul Huff (4:15 p.m.), Alex Gjorvad (4:30 p.m.), and Kirsten Engel (4:45 p.m.) will present their research findings in SSC 28. The campus community is welcome. Click here for program.

Psychology Majors - Remember to rsvp to Lee (lsande@gustavus.edu) by Monday, May picnic9th if you plan to to attend the Psychology Majors Spring Gathering (lasagna picnic) at Dr. Martin's home beginning at 5:00 p.m. (right after the Symposium) on Friday, May 13th. Food-Fun-Fellowship (and prize drawings). It is always a great time... you won't want to miss it! Contact Lee with questions.

Reflections -- Seniors graduating with Psychology Honors

KirstenKirsten Engel: I am a senior Psychology Honors Major with a Gender, Women, Sexuality Studies minor from Fargo, North Dakota. In addition to working on my research this year I am currently involved on campus as co-president of Q&A. My research is a combination of the spacing effect and the testing effect with an added manipulation of effort in order to more clearly implicate effort as a potential cause of these effects on memory recall. I will attend the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program at UND in the fall.

Paul Huff: I'm a Psychology Honors Major with a Music minor from Apple Valley, Minnesota. During my fours year here, I've been involved in the music department, playing saxophone in band and small ensembles. I also write a column for the campus newspaper and regularly go to the swing dancing club.
Next fall, I will attend the University of St. Thomas for their masters program in Counseling PaulPsychology. I'm looking forward to gaining hands-on experience in the field of Psychology and pursuing a career I genuinely enjoy. Currently I'd like to work in a medical or mental health setting, doing rehabilitation services for individuals in need. One population that interests me is people with eating disorders, and I think it would be great to help create solutions in that area. In the mean time I'm looking for entry level psychiatric jobs in the Twin Cities region.
Throughout my time here, an excellent opportunity has been the Psychology Honors major. On top of the regular course load, the Honors piece includes participating in a research apprenticeship during Junior year and conducting independent research in the senior year. It seemed daunting at first especially after taking Stats II, but doing honors research has helped me build and improve many skills, such as writing research proposals, analyzing data and presenting results. If you're interested in pursuing something related to academia after graduating and have the opportunity, then I strongly suggest checking out the honors major.

Tanner Winslow: I am from Shoreview, MN. I strongly considered minoring in the economics/management department but decided to pick and choose the exact classes I was Tannerinterested in from the department instead. I have been involved with the Building Bridges social justice organization since my freshmen year at Gustavus, and will miss not being a part of it next year. I'm hoping to land a job in the Twin Cities after graduation and work on the more industrial side of psychology.
My honors project is entitled Measures of Well Being, and I am assessing different variables that people see as more or less important in living happy, desirable lives. I created autobiographies varying on three different variables to measure this. Working on my honors project has been eye opening for me, in terms of both how much work goes into the creation of a full fledged research project, and also how a simple research question can lead to so many different possible directions.

Alex Gjorvad: I'm from Marshall, Minnesota.  In addition to my psychology major, I am also an environmental studies major.  On campus, I am involved in Study Buddies, Psi Chi, Habitat for Humanity, and Gustavus Outdoor Enthusiasts.  After graduation, I am hopefully going into Alexthe Conservation Corps or the Peace Corps, but I would like to go on to graduate school after that for environmental psychology or some sort of environmental science field.  My honors project is testing the restorative effects of nature as they apply to attention.  The theory, known as the Attention Restoration Theory, posits that natural environments are able to restore attention after it has been fatigued.  In my project, I fatigued participants’ attention through an attention task, and then had them view pictures of nature, artwork, or geometric patterns.  Participants then completed the attention task a second time to see if any of the picture conditions improved attention.  

Neuroscience Capstone Class '11


(Class members - not as pictured but in alphabetical order) Kyle Boe, Cassandra Breitenfeldt, Jeff Carlson, Amanda Halfen, Stephanie Hardel, Kevin Hein, Jodie McGinlay, Michael Reitz, Cydni Smith, Carl Stenoien, Justin VerMeer, Hannah Wangberg, Kathryn Webster, Chistopher Whitney, Sara Yungner.

Psi Chi Update

Psi Chiby Laura Harelstad, co-president

On Tuesday, April 26th - Psi Chi sponsored "Psychology in Context:  A Professional Panel." Three panelists were invited to come and speak to Gustavus students about a variety of possible careers open to psychology majors. Jennifer Cords is a Certified Financial Planner for Thrivent Financial (and a 1997 Gustie grad!). Lisa Broughten is an Occupational Therapist for Therapy Connection for Kids (and a 1998 Gustie grad!). Thomas Bennett is a psychologist for Park Nicollet who specializes in child development. Twenty-four students attended the panel presentation and asked questions about the panelists' careers and about how to begin the search for career options after Gustavus. The students who I spoke with after the panel said they really enjoyed the event and even picked up a few tips for applying to graduate schools or jobs! We are appreciative of the panelists as well as everyone who attended. Thanks for making this event a success!

The annual spring Psi Chi Induction of new members will take place on Tuesday, May 10 at 7:00 p.m.. Contact Laura Harelstad or Kierst Finsand for more information.

Students presenting at the Minnesota Undergraduate Psychology Conference (MUPC) on April 16 at Carleton College

Link to MUPC photo album (Dr. Chambers)

Laura Kientzle - Environnmental Context Effects on Lexical Processing

Alison Hoffman, Lydia Voss - Bodily State and Language Comprehension

Caroline Hendrickson - Assessment of College Adjustment and Autonomy in Relation to Parenting Styles

Psychology Department Kudos
  • Majors Alissa Fahrenz, Elise Frischmann, and Laura Harelstad have been named Gerhard T. Alexis Scholars for the year 2010-2011. The award is presented annually to the junior students (based upon credit year) who have achieved the highest academic record through their first two years at Gustavus.
  • Josh Plattner (senior psych major) winner of the Ovanlig Award, awarded to a Junior or Senior demonstrating leadership in raising campus awareness of gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender rights and concerns
  • Kierst Finsand was named to the 2011-2012 Guild of St. Lucia.
  • Dr. Marie Walker was announced the winner of the Mark Anderson Diversity Award for ongoing efforts and accomplishments that embody and exemplify the values of diversity at Gustavus.

Alumni Update - Emma Espel '09

For all of you Psychology majors (and others!) reading the fabulous Emil’s Epilogue right now; I am going to tell you the story of how Intro to Psych led me to my current status in a Ph.D. program for Developmental Psychology with a Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience tool (a.k.a. minor) at the University of Denver. I will tell you this story in the hopes that some of you might glean helpful information from it (or at least enjoy the read).

After Intro Psych sparked my interest and more department classes ensued, one of my most influential decisions was to conduct a cross-cultural research project as part of the Honors program. With the help of Marie Walker, I studied abroad in Chile and collected data with the Emmagoal of studying how different cultures experience happiness. That research experience gave me critical tools that helped me in the application process, because at that point I decided I wanted to go to grad school. I applied to several programs and found a research match with my advisor, as well as what I was looking for in the program (things such as collaboration, option to study multiple disciplines, happy students, good quality of life were important to me).

I am currently a second year graduate student. Some major stepping-stones:  I plan to defend my Master’s thesis in mid-June and will take a comprehensive exam in the fall to advance my candidacy for a Ph.D. The program is fairly research focused with additional teaching opportunities. The research work I have done includes submitting a paper for publication, presenting at Society for Research on Adolescents and presenting a poster at Society for Research on Child Development (and Kyle Chambers stopped by my poster!). I have three lines of ongoing research. (1) Cross-cultural differences in emotional experiences, based on self-construal, particularly Chile vs. the U.S. I also am still collecting data down there. (2) Our lab studies adolescent delinquency, particularly in the context of female offenders ages 12-18 and how they might differ from male offenders on crime type, interpersonal expression, and internalizing problems. I am interested in intervention programs. (3) I study the association between parent-adolescent relationships and sibling relationship quality to better understand family dynamics.  I also am an RA, TA, and committee member.  When I finish the program, ideally I will be able to teach at a small school like Gustavus and continue some research.

Things I get to do for fun in Denver include skiing, hiking, enjoying the 300+ days of sun, playing in the park, and coffee-shop studying in sweet pocket neighborhoods throughout the city.

Words of wisdom and things to realize: The importance of doing research with the incredibly talented faculty. Presenting at poster sessions. Getting as much out of classes as you can. Psi Chi. Statistics. The Neuroscience minor (Awesome!). Applying to schools where your research interests fit in. The option to take a year off before starting grad school (I went right away, which works out as well). Study abroad is unforgettable, and you don’t have to do research if you go. Plan ahead for grad school applications.

* If you have any questions about grad school, I’m happy to email with you! Emma.espel@gmail.com.

Click here for Previous Alumni Updates


Faculty Research and Faculty/Student Research and Publications

Inside Gustavus - April 14, 2011 - Jennifer Ackil (psychology) co-authored an empirical article with Maria Zaragoza (Kent State University), titled "Forced fabrication versus interviewer suggestions: Differences in false memory depend on how memory is assessed." The article will be published in the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology.

Inside Gustavus - April 21, 2011 - Janine Wotton (psychology, neuroscience) has recently authored two articles in peer-refereed journals. The first, titled “A model of anuran auditory periphery reveals frequency-dependent adaptation to be a contributing mechanism for two-tone suppression and amplitude modulation coding” is in Hearing Research, and Mike Ferragamo (biology, neuroscience) is her co-author. This paper describes a computational model of the vertebrate auditory system that creates an explanatory bridge between physiology and behavior to account for how animals solve complex auditory tasks. The second article, titled “Sentence Context Influences Vowel Choice in Noise and Reverberation,” is in Language and Speech and includes former Gustavus neuroscience/psychology students Rachel Elvebak, Lor Moua, Nathan Heggem, Cathryn Nelson, and Kristen Welsh as co-authors. The paper describes the results of a behavioral study examining the effects of background noise and room echoes on speech recognition in human subjects.

Inside Gustavus - April 27, 2011 - Kyle Chambers (psychology) co-authored two empirical articles with Kristine Onishi (McGill University) and Cynthia Fisher (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign). "A vowel is a vowel: Generalizing newly-learned phonotactic constraints to new contexts" was published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition and "Representations for phonotactic learning in infancy" will be published in Language Learning and Development. Chambers also co-authored a service-learning project summary with Peter Olson (Children's Museum of Southern Minnesota) and April Rao (Creative Play Place), "Learning developmental psychology through museum exhibit design." The summary was presented to the Developmental Science Teaching Institute at the Biennial Meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Interested in I/O (Industrial/Organizational) Psychology?

You will want to check out the society for I/O website - http://www.siop.org/studentdefault.aspx

Research and Career Opportunities

Wesleyan University
Boston College

University of Rochester

University of Massachusetts Amherst 

Congratulations to all of the graduating psychology majors!

clipartBest wishes to our graduates! As you graduate this spring and scatter to the winds come fall - keep us in mind as we also begin a new chapter when classes commence in the new academic building. Much thought and deliberation has gone into the building's planning and design in an effort to provide the type of environment in which students can take full advantage of learning opportunities. Be sure to make plans to come back and visit us!

And a most genuine and heartfelt thank you to the student assistants who have helped with this newsletter and have provided administrative support in the department this year. Returning to assist as we transition to the new academic building next year will be Laura Kientzle, Jean-Paul Noel, and Gwynn Thompson. We will welcome Hannah Durbin, Erica Hett and Mandy Feeks as first-year departmental assistants. Graduating seniors Paul Huff and Alyssa Gilgenbach have been amazing to work with and both will be dearly missed. We send our very best wishes with Alyssa and Paul as they begin their post-Gustavus lives. Please keep in touch!