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April/May 2011 issue | Volume 4, Issue 4 Latest Information | Issue Archives | Unsubscribe
Congratulations Seniors!

The Department of Psychology extends a warm congratulations to all of our graduating seniors. This is an exciting but bittersweet time of year as our seniors leave us and move on to bigger and better things. Among our end of the year festivities was a research poster session on Friday, April 22, where we announced our departmental awards. Morgan Frost was honored with the Outstanding Academic Achievement Award in Psychology for maintainin uniformly strong academic performance while also playing varsity sports (softball, crew, and cross-country), engaging in research, and contributing to the Rollins community. Chelsea Brady, another varsity athlete (soccer) had the highest GPA among Psychology seniors and was the department's nominee for the Social Sciences' Outstanding Scholar Award. Shakirra Meghjee earned the Outstanding Service Award for her campus-wide service, founding the Campus Freethought Alliance and presiding over Voices For Women and Rollins Philosophy. Her work was also recognized by the Women's Studies program which awarded Shakirra the Susan B. Anthony Award for Campus Activism. Shakirra was also an outstanding student who participated in research with multiple Psychology professors. Kaitlin Reynolds was awarded the James D. Upson Award for her clinically-oriented research. Kaitlin analyzed the conflict narratives of Fern Creek Elementary School students to investigate strategies children use when in conflict with peers. Bennett Garfinkel for his research into peripheral mechanisms of salt taste, and Micah Purdy, for his work applying behavioral principles to the Implicit Association Test, shared the Outstanding Research Award In Psychology. Frost, Meghjee, Reynolds, Garfinkel, and Purdy all successfully defended honors theses this year, along with seniors Tawny Najjar, Katherine Piselli, Vanessa Volkema, and Michelle Wilson.
Dr. Davidson and Students Present Research At International Meeting
Dr. Alice Davidson, Kaitlin Reynolds (’11), Rebecca Robertson (’11), and Cait Campbell (Graduate Counseling Program, ’11) presented their research, I’ll kick you in your face talk to me that way!: Contextualizing Peer Conflict Experiences through Narrative and Self- and Peer-Reports, at the biennial Society for Research in Child Development conference in Montreal, Quebec on April 2, 2011. Their paper examined associations between aggression and conflict resolution portrayed in children’s conflict narratives and reports of school adjustment. For this particular sample of children living in a high-stress context, findings suggest that a physically aggressive and dominating approach may protect children from being victimized.
Dr. St. John and Students Present Chemical Senses Research
Dr. Steven St. John, Bennett Garfinkel ('11), and Shakirra Meghjee ('11) presented their research, Investigations Into The Mechanism Underlying The Super-Saltiness Of Sodium Carbonate To Rats at the 33rd annual meeting of the Association for Chemoreception Sciences in St. Pete Beach on April 14, 2011. The work was designed to understand why rats respond to sodium carbonate as if it were ten times as salty as table salt. Humans do not find sodium carbonate especially salty or especially appealing, but the researchers hope that the basic mechanisms uncovered could be useful in understanding how the nervous system recognizes and distinguishes among different tastes and how hedonic responses to different tastes control what we choose to eat and what we choose to avoid. Any mechanisms that enhance the saltiness of foods would be of interest to food scientists, as many companies are actively researching ways to enhance salt taste in order to provide healthier foods that still taste good.
Students, Faculty Present At SEPA
The 57th Annual Meeting of the Southeastern Psychological Association was held March 2-5 in Jacksonville, Florida, and the Rollins Psychology Department was well-represented. Rollins students Katherine Piselli, Tawny Najjar, Elyse Huss, Vanessa Volkema, Michelle Wilson, Caitlin Steele, Bennett Garfinkel, Jennifer Hirschmann, and (pictured) Valerie Cisneros and Liza Saffo attended to present their research. Topics included the effect of exercise on cognitive performance, creation of a measure of audio-visual comprehension, the use of child-written narratives to understand victimization and loneliness in children, the use of photography by aphasics as a form of communication, five-factor personality theory and competitiveness, the effects of caffeine on circadian rhythms of alertness, and electronic media like Facebook and self-discrepancy. Students attended the conference with Rollins faculty members Jennifer Queen, Alice Davidson, Suzanne Woodward, and (pictured) Paul Harris and John Houston. The topics presented represent the broad interests of the Rollins Psychology faculty and our students. If you think you may want to do research later in your college career and possibly attend SEPA or other conferences, it is a great idea to express your interest early and find out how you can get involved.
Student Research Poster Session
On Friday, April 22, the Department of Psychology held its annual Research Poster Session and Senior Appreciation Day. In addition to handing out end-of-year awards (see lead story), the poster session was a chance to celebrate the many accomplishments of our students. More so than in previous years, our students displayed posters that they had previously presented at SEPA or other meetings. The poster session was a chance for some seniors to practice for their honors defense, or a chance to present their research again in a more casual, low-pressure setting. Several dozen students, faculty, and staff attended and heard from Katherine Piselli (pictured) and all of the other research students who completed thesis this year.
Dr. Carnahan Invited Scholar in Ecuador
In April, Rollins College Professor Dr. Sharon Carnahan was an Invited Scholar at Universidad Casa Grande in Guyaquil, Ecuador. Carnahan was invited to teach a weeklong class in developmental screening, where 25 students and professionals learned to identify children with mild and moderate developmental delays or autism, and practiced their skills in the community. The students also wrote mini-proposals for research to improve literacy in their cities. Carnahan gave an evening public lecture entitled Escuchar de los Ninos (Listen to Children), and flew to Quito at the invitation of the country’s Minister of Early Education to discuss early education quality reform efforts in the country. She also toured child care centers, made home visits to children with disabilities, and was interviewed by the newspaper and parenting magazines. "Education reform is underway in Ecuador; like all of us, the country is concerned with preparing students for work in the 21st century," noted Carnahan. "Now, Ecuador needs to make sure that reform reaches its youngest and most vulnerable pupils - infants, toddlers and preschoolers in childcare. Indigenous, rural children are reported to be small for their ages nearly 40% of the time, and show a rate of anemia over 50%; preparation for school will have to begin with prenatal care, nutrition for the young, and high quality care for children." Carnahan, a Fulbright Specialist, will return to the country next year.
Psi Chi Induction
The Psi Chi Induction ceremony for 2010-2011 took place on Friday, April 15, 2011. Twenty-six new members were inducted this year: Laura Berk, Angela Damon, Ayesha Fuhr, Bennett Garfinkel, Brandi Godbee, Christine Henderson, Deborah Hernandez, Katrina Huggins, Patricia Hughes, Denise Lee, Ronald Manchester, Elaine Mayone, Althea Miller, Charles Namey, Erin Nurse, Christopher O'Keefe, Morgan Perun, Rachel Richardson, Liza Saffo, Kaley Sinclair, Caitlin Steele, Rachel Thorne, Kristen Weick, and Cynthia Winternitz. Psi Chi is a national honor society for Psychology that recognizes students that achieve a high GPA in psychology courses. The local chapter contributes to psychology-related events at Rollins College. Eligible students are contacted in the middle of the Spring semester. About half of the inductees are pictured (left).
Dr. Carnahan and Diane Doyle Present at Conference
Dr. Sharon Carnahan and Rollins’ Early Childhood Educator Diane Terorde Doyle, M.A. presented a paper titled Good Neighbors: Our Campus Children’s Center Encourages Social Responsibility & Community Collaboration, about the importance of aligning the mission of the department's laboratory preschool - the Child Development and Student Research Center (CDC) - with the overall mission of the college. The talk was given at the International Association of Laboratory & University Affiliated Schools Conference, Pittsburgh, PA, April 13-15, 2011. Dr. Carnahan is the Director, and Diane Terorde Doyle the Early Childhood Specialist, at the CDC, where many Rollins Psychology majors have observed developmental milestones of preschoolers.

Outstanding Academic Achievement
In Psychology


James D. Upson Award
for Clinically-Relevant Research


Outstanding Research Award

Outstanding Service Award

Social Sciences Outstanding Scholar Psychology Nominee

Honors Program - Honors Recipients

Honors In Psychology

•4/28-29 & 5/2-3 A&S final exams
•5/7 Holt School Graduation
•5/8 A&S graduation
•5/8 Thanks Mom!
•5/9 Maymester begins
•5/16 Holt summer begins
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.