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April 2010 issue | Volume 3, Issue 6 Latest Information | Issue Archives | Unsubscribe
Letter From The Chair

First let me congratulate all of our majors who are graduating this year. This time of year is bittersweet for your professors -- we know we will miss you, but we also celebrate your accomplishments and look forward to hearing great things about you in the future. Be sure to stay in touch, let us know what you are doing, drop by when you are in the neighborhood, and join our Facebook page if you haven't already done so.

For those of you returning, next year will be an exciting time for psychology majors and faculty alike. As Rollins College celebrates its 125th anniversary, Psychology at Rollins is celebrating its 90th anniversary; in 1920, Psychology and Education became a program of study at the college (obviously, we subsequently split into separate majors). To celebrate, we are launching a new curriculum for the major featuring a greater choice of courses, a wider variety of laboratory classes that provide hands-on experiences, and lower enrollments in a number of courses to allow greater student-faculty interaction.

In addition to the new curriculum, we are currently joining forces with our Hamilton Holt Graduate Counseling Program and the Winter Park Institute to plan a symposium featuring an internationally renowned panel of speakers who will be visiting campus during spring of 2011. Although it is too early in the planning process to mention names, participants will be respected scholars and authors in various fields of psychology. Not only will our majors be reading books and attending talks by these scholars, there will be opportunities for interaction and discussion in smaller group settings.

I realize that, for most of you, next year is not really your focus right know. Best of luck with those final exams and have a great summer!

Outstanding Seniors Honored
It is a great time of year for all of our seniors with graduation just around the corner. This week, the department made special recognition of the exemplary work of several seniors in naming its annual arward winners. The Outstanding Academic Achievement Award in Psychology went to Julia Humphrey in recognition of her high GPA and well-rounded commitment to Psychology. Julia was also awarded the James D. Upson Award which honors a senior whose clinically-related research or service promotes community health and well-being. Her research examined the relationship between symptoms of anxiety and depression and quantitative reasoning skills. The department recognized two seniors with the Outstanding Research Award in Psychology. Mai-Han Nguyen (pictured) is an honors student whose research is entitled The Relationship Between Impulsivity and Judgment in a Poker Game - if you were wandering the Johnson Center at night and saw a poker game being filmed that wasn't World Series of Poker on location - that was Mai-Han's research. Sharing this award was Libby Anderson, a 3/2 program student whose research involved competitiveness. In addition to departmental senior awards, the Rollins College Division of Social Sciences also names an Outstanding Senior Scholar, and this year a Psychology senior - Julia Humphrey - was the recipient. The department extends warm congratulations to our award winners and to all of our soon-to-be graduates. Great job!
Developmental Psychology Students Throw Research Party
One of the great and wonderful resources of Rollins College is the Child Development and Student Research Center. While some large universities have laboratory schools, few colleges the size of Rollins can boast a facility that allows students of Developmental Psychology the opportunity to observe and research aspects of child development. On the final day of lab in Developmental Psychology, the students hosted a pizza party for the kids, their parents, and the Child Development Center staff. Over the course of the semester, each Psychology student prepared a portfolio of his or her "target child" that collected observations of social development, language and literacy, and math and science skills. The students presented these portfolios to the parents of the target child.
Honors In The Major
One of the yearly traditions in the Department of Psychology is the end-of-year research poster session in which Psychology students present their research. This year's session was on Friday, April 23, in the Johnson Center Lobby. While the poster session is open to all students doing research, this year's presentations were all given by students graduating with honors in the major. Poster presentations were provided by Julia Humphrey, Mai-Han Nguyen, Libby Anderson, and Megan Joyner. Julia's poster described her finding that scores on the Beck Depression Inventory were negatively correlated with a measure of proficiency in basic mathematical operations. Mai-Han's research demonstrated that high levels of impulsivety, assessed by standard psychological measures, was associated with poker players overestimating the strength of a poker hand. In related work, Megan's poster described the development of a new screening tool to improve the diagnosis of pathological gambling - the Multiple-Scale Pathological Gambling Instrument. Libby's poster described her finding that general competitiveness was negatively correlated with collectivism, the latter of which was positively correlated with a measure of healthy competitiveness. The poster session is always a celebration of the hard, rewarding work of our student researchers, and hopefully serves as inspiration to future students to get involved in research. If you are interested in honors in the major, check out the guide linked below.
Psychology Summer Scholars
As the school year ends, many faculty members turn their attention to scientific research. One of the great opportunities at Rollins College is the Student-Faculty Collaborative Scholarship Program which is designed to provide funding and other resources to allow Rollins students to work collaboratively with a faculty mentor during the summer. The applications are competitive and come from all over the college. This year, three psychology faculty (Alice Davidson, Roger Ray, and Steven St. John) will serve as mentors to six scholarship recipients. Jeni Collins and Morgan Frost are funded to design experimental protocols for a study of the development of eating habits in school-aged children. Bennett Garfinkel and Shakirra Meghjee are conducting research on the taste system using animal models (apparatus pictured); Bennett is studying the effect of pH on salt sensitivity and Shakirra the taste modulating effect of the hormone oxytocin. Tiffany Frizzell is working on the topic of training sign language via an expert software system called Train-To-Code. Kaitlyn Reynolds will be studying the strategies children use to resolve conflicts through coding the written accounts of conflicts of Fern Creek Elementary students that she collected last year. Beyond the summer research scholarship, soon-to-be graduate Mai Han Nguyen will continue to analyze her thesis work with her mentor David Richard on the relationship between impulsivity and judgment using poker games as a model. It should be a busy and productive summer!
Students Inducted Into Psi Chi
Psi Chi is the internatinal honor society in Psychology, founded in 1929 for the purposes of encouraging, stimulating, and maintaining excellence in scholarship and advancing the science of Psychology. On Friday, April 23, the Rollins College Psi Chi Chapter inducted 16 new members into the society: Hannah Beryl, Jeni Collins, Tiffany Frizzell, Laurie Hendrickson, Kristina Howanski, Elyse Huss, Jack Jordan, Leah Lipman, Monica Meadows, Heather Miksa, Kristina Moncrieffe, Jennifer Palmer, Russell Sanford, Lynn Slivinski, Tara Spalding, and Deb Tatum. The ceremony was hosted by Psi Chi officers Kaitlin Reynolds and Ali Kren and member Morgan Frost and was attended by several faculty members. Psi Chi sponsors events throughout the year and invites any interested student, member or not. Congratulations to the new inductees.
Fern Creek Students Visit Rollins
On March 24, a group of fifth grade students from Fern Creek Elementary School joined Dr. Ruiz's Learning class for a morning of learning and sharing. Dr. Ruiz's students presented a Learning workshop including games and prizes for the Fern Creek students who learned about "Reinforcement In Our Lives". The event took place in the Operant Lab where the Learning students demonstrated principles of reinforcement with lab animals and our Fern Creek guests participated as helpers. The students appreciated the opportunity to get to know our young friends and they were excited to vist a scientific lab and, as one student put it, spend time "doing psychology". The Pathways To College Day is a campus tradition designed to show children that college is attainable and to encourage them to envision themselves as a future collegian.
Summit On Transforming Learning Psychology Presentation
On March 19, the 5th Annual Summit On Transforming Learning took place on the Rollins campus. The summit is designed to "bring together faculty, staff, students, and community partners to engage in an afternoon of conversation around global citizenship and responsible leadership." The Summit serves as an opportunity for campus citizens to exchange ideas about best practices in education both inside and outside the classroom. This year's event featured a panel discussion hosted by Dr. Alice Davidson (pictured) along with five of her students - Rebecca Robertson, Cait Campbell (both pictured), Julia Humphrey, Kaitlyn Reynolds, and Elyse Huss. The panel discussed the joys and challenges of doing school-based research with elementary-aged children.
The American Psychological Association is the oldest and largest professional association devoted to Psychology. The APA was founded in 1892 in the United States. Its first president was G. Stanley Hall, and its initial membership was 31 scientists. By 1940, the APA had grown to only 664 members and 2079 Associate members and consisted largely of academic, laboratory psychologists. However, after World War II there was considerable interest in the practice of psychology, in part to provide services to returning war veterans. Currently, the APA has nearly 150,000 members organized into 54 different "Divisions" representing areas of study within the field. In addition to organizing a yearly national conference and several regional conferences, the APA publishes many of the leading journals in psychology, such as American Psychologist and Psychological Review. And yes, the APA is the organization responsible for that dreaded Publication Manual which serves as the style guide for articles in APA journals and many of the lab reports and papers you'll write in Rollins College Psychology courses.
Dr. Paul Harris and Dr. Steven St. John are avid fans of science fiction. Of course, Dr. Harris's robot film library is legendary, thanks to his popular intersession course, and Dr. St. John's failed Star Trek analogies are equally notorious. Both Harris and St. John have been long time fans of the science fiction Grand Master Isaac Asimov, an author credited by a great many scientists as having sparked their interest in science. Interestingly, many of Asimov's novels hinged on psychological issues, such as the extreme claustrophilia / agoraphobia of a crowded earth in The Caves Of Steel or the prevalent social phobia of the Spacers in The Naked Sun.
•4/29 - 5/4 A&S Final Exams
•5/8 Holt Graduation
•5/9 A&S Graduation
•5/10 - 5/29 A&S Maymester
•5/17 Holt Summer Term Begins
•Summer Glorious, glorious summer
Shrink Rap is an email publication of the Rollins College Department of Psychology. This issue can also be found online. The newsletter is sent monthly during the academic year to Psychology majors and minors in A&S and Holt, students in A&S psychology classes, psychology faculty and staff, and friends of the department. We thank Marga Morrisey for contributions to this issue.