Dr. Eric Youngstrom Receives the 2015 Lawrence H. Cohen Outstanding Mentor Award

Dr. Eric Youngstrom, PhD, a professor in the Department of Psychology, has been selected for the 2015 Lawrence H. Cohen Outstanding Mentor Award.

This award is given to a member of the Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology that has substantial experience mentoring clinical psychology graduate students, interns, and postdoctoral fellows in clinical psychological science. Dr. Youngstrom is an outstanding mentor who has provided exceptional guidance through leadership, role modeling, advising, supervision, instruction, advocacy, and promoted scientific growth, professional development, and networking.

The award will be given to Dr. Youngstrom at the SSCP Annual Meeting of Members in May.

Dr. Peter Gordon Receives the 2015 Cattell Award

Dr. Peter Gordon, PhD, a Professor in the Department of Psychology, has won the 2015 Cattell Award.

The Cattell Award will fund Dr. Gordon’s development of novel computational models and data-analytic methods that aim to increase understanding of individual differences in reading and to deepen understand of the cognitive abilities that allow children to learn to read. The work will primarily be done in Dr. Shrikanth Narayanan’s Signal Analysis and Interpretation Lab in the Department of Electrical Engineering at the University of Southern California, though it will also involve collaboration with Dr. Keith Holyoak in the Psychology Department at UCLA

Dr. Carol Cheatham Recieves National TRIO Achiever’s Award

Carol L. Cheatham, Ph.D., an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology is one of 13 faculty members at the Nutrition Research Institute. Her research focuses on how nutrition can improve brain function. Specifically, her team studies the importance of nutrients for the development of memory and attention abilities. Dr. Cheatham got her start at the University of Wyoming where she was a McNair Scholar.

On September 9, at Council for Opportunity in Education’s 33rd Annual Conference Gala, Dr. Cheatham was bestowed the 2014 National TRIO Achiever’s Award. The National TRIO Achiever’s award was created as a tribute to the success and outstanding endeavors of TRIO students and the programs that supported them in their journey to accomplished careers. TRIO is a set of federally-funded college opportunity programs that motivate and support students from disadvantaged backgrounds in their pursuit of a college degree.

Read more here.

Dr. Viji Sathy Flips Her Large Lecture Course and More Students Learn Better

Dr. Viji Sathy was recently featured as a UNC Faculty Success Story.  UNC published the following article, which can be found here.

Dr. Viji Sathy, a faculty member in the Psychology Department, has been teaching Statistical Principles of Psychological Research each fall and spring semester for the past five years. She was concerned about the number of students in this class of 180 who struggled to keep up in lecture and quickly fell behind. So in 2013, working with the CFE, she redesigned the course to allow her to interact more with her students.

The biggest change was shifting most of the in-class lectures to a series of 5- to 8-minute recorded online segments for students to view before coming to class. This approach, popularly known as “flipping the classroom,” allowed Dr. Sathy to cut her in-class lecture time by about 75% and devote more class time to active learning methods.

In a typical in-class assignment, Dr. Sathy would assign students to work together on problems and post their answers through a class polling system (Poll Everywhere). She would then lead the class in discussion of the problem and the results. (See video here.) “I liked that the format I implemented gave me more opportunities to interact with students one-on-one,” said Sathy. “I could walk around the room when they were working on a problem; it felt like I was more accessible to them.”

The CFE worked closely with Dr. Sathy to evaluate the results of these changes, and they have been very encouraging. The percentage of students earning A’s and B’s on the final exam increased significantly in the redesigned course (39.0% vs. 25.7%). Meanwhile, students representing historically underperforming populations also saw higher scores on the final exam. Students reported that the video lecture format let them view materials at their own pace and to review challenging segments multiple times. Students were more likely to come to class prepared.

Despite the amount of work that went into planning and implementing the redesign, Dr. Sathy thinks it was worth the effort. “For me, it is tougher than lecturing,” she says, “but I’m excited by the potential this has to change what I can do in an introductory statistics class.” She plans to explore additional interventions for students who continue to struggle with the course content. For example, she is interested in the use of structured learning groups and new instruments that may help address stereotype threat and other metacognitive barriers to learning.

Dr. Sathy received a grant through the CFE’s 100+ program to help support her work on the project. She has been a very active member of one of the CFE’s first faculty learning communities on large course redesign. She is currently preparing an article on her findings that she plans to submit for publication.

Mitch Prinstein Quoted in Local News Article Regarding Depression and Suicide

UNC-CH clinical professor, Dr. Mitch Prinstein, was recently quoted in an article for Chapelboro.com regarding depression and suicide, particularly in terms of substance abuse.  The article, prompted by the recent suicide of actor Robin Williams, discusses warning signs and encourages the public to put aside perceived stigma about mental health.  Read the full text here.

Professor Tim Wilson Awarded Inaugural John Thibaut Award

University of Virginia Professor Tim Wilson was recently awarded the inaugural John Thibaut Award. The John Thibaut award is given by the social psychology graduate students for inspiring research in social psychology. The award is named after the influential social psychologist and former UNC Professor, John Thibaut.


Graduate student Elise Rice awards Professor Tim Wilson the inaugural John Thibaut Award.

Dr. Mitch Prinstein Named the “John Van Seters Distinguished Professor of Psychology” at UNC

Congratulations to Dr. Mitch Prinstein who has been named the “John Van Seters Distinguished Professor of Psychology” at UNC. A distinguished professorship (endowed chair) is a wonderful honor, and most people would agree that it is the highest recognition that a university bestows upon a faculty member to acknowledge that individual’s contributions to research. Mitch makes major contributions to our University and the field in the areas of research, teaching, and service, and he clearly merits this recognition. Mitch will continue in his role as Director of Clinical Psychology, now with an enhanced title.  UNC names many of its distinguished professorships after former faculty who have made noteworthy contributions to the university. Professor Van Seters is a former professor of religious studies at UNC.

UNC-CH Psychology Professors Awarded Grant from Lumosity

Drs. Joe Hopfinger and Katie Gates were recently awarded a $150,000 human cognition grant from Lumosity (Lumos Labs, Inc.).  The grant will support research that investigates changes in brain connectivity from cognitive training through group and individual fMRI analyses.

Dr. Hopfinger is a professor of cognitive psychology and Dr. Gates is a professor of quantitative psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences.  Lumosity is a cognitive training and neuroscience research company.

See press release here and a short article from the Herald Sun here.

Dr. Enrique Neblett Receives Inaugural IAAR Faculty Fellowship

The Institute of African American Research recently announced the two recipients of the first–ever IAAR Faculty Fellowship: Enrique Neblett and Alvaro Reyes. Both are UNC faculty members. They will be fellows with the IAAR for the academic year 2014-2015, during which time they will work on developing or completing their individual research projects.

Enrique Neblett, who holds a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, will be a tenured associate professor of psychology by Fall 2014. On faculty at UNC since 2008, his research includes attention to racism-related stress, well-being and health status among African American youth. While at the IAAR he will conduct a longitudinal pilot study investigating the psychological well-being during early adulthood in two cohorts of African American college freshmen. Neblett will also work on writing a research grant to support a study on racial identity and racial discrimination among emerging adults.

Both fellows will give a public talk about the projects that they are pursuing during their tenure at the IAAR. The dates for these talks will be announced in late summer 2014.

Enrique Neblett Selected as Diversity Education & Research Center Faculty Fellow

Enrique Neblett has been selected as a Diversity Education & Research Center (DERC) Faculty Fellow. DERC Faculty Fellows are tenured, tenure-track, fixed-term, or post-doctoral scholars who have demonstrated a commitment to teaching, research, and service and a commitment to diversity and inclusion at the University of North Carolina.  The purpose of the DERC Faculty Fellows program is to engage faculty who are interested in advancing diversity and creating an inclusive campus climate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill through 1) assisting with and advising Diversity and Multicultural Affairs (DMA) on existing and/or new programs and initiatives and 2) through the research or project of the faculty member. As a Fellow, Dr. Neblett will work with the other Faculty Fellows, DMA Staff, and the Center for Faculty Excellence to develop a Faculty Learning Community focused on Diversity in the Classroom that will be offered during the 2014-15 academic year. He will also assist the Director for Diversity Research, Assessment, and Analytics with the design of the 2014 UNC Campus Climate Survey.

For more information, click here.

2014 University Teaching Awards

The University announced the recipients of the 2014 University Teaching Awards, the highest campus-wide recognition for teaching excellence.  A special insert on the winners will appear in the April 16 issue of the University Gazette.  Award winners from the Psychology department were:

  •  Anna Bardone-Cone, William C. Friday Award for Excellence in Teaching
  • Enrique Neblett, Chapman Family Teaching Award
  • Viji Sathy, Tanner Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching
  • Daniel Harper, Tanner Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching by Graduate Teaching Assistants


UNC-CH Psychology Featured in Carolina Arts & Sciences Magazine

The Department of Psychology at UNC-CH was recently featured in the Spring 2014 edition of Carolina Arts & Sciences Magazine. Click below to read an article on the Karen M. Gil Internship Program in Psychology and a story about the science of addiction, featuring Drs. Don Lysle, Gina Carelli, Todd Thiele, Stacey Daughters, Patrick Curran, Dan Bauer and Andrea Hussong.  Additionally, Dr. David Penn’s schizophrenia research is highlighted.  Lastly, there is a quote from Dr. Kelly Giovanello about a proposed minor in neuroscience.


UNC Hosts 19th Annual Black Graduate Conference in Psychology

IMG_9767 Drs. Enrique Neblett and Eleanor Seaton served as Chair and Co-Chair on the planning committee this year for the 19th Annual Black Graduate Conference in Psychology hosted by UNC-Chapel Hill. Over seventy graduate students and faculty scholars from all over the country attended the four-day conference. This event offers the opportunity for graduate students in all fields of psychology to come together to present their ongoing research, gain professional development experiences, and network with other graduate students and faculty in a welcoming environment. 

Grants Awarded

The following individuals in the department have recently been awarded new grants for their research:

  • Sierra Bainter, Quantitative Student (sponsored by Dr. Patrick Curran), predoctoral fellowship from NIDA, Novel Application of Bayesian Methods for Modeling Substance Use Trajectories
  • Dr. Kathleen Gates, Quantitative, R21 by NIBIB, Data-driven Approach for Identifying Subgroups Using fMRI Connectivity Maps
  • Dr. Kathleen Reissner, Behavioral Neuroscience, R00 by NIDA, Contribution of Glial Glutamate Transport and Transmission to Drug Abuse
  • Dr. Kurt Gray, Social, grant from University of California (sponsored by John Templeton Foundation), The Immortality of Morality
  • Dr. Charlotte Boettiger, Behavioral Neuroscience, grant from The Foundation for Alcohol Research, Neural Circuit Bases of Impulsive Choice in Emerging Adults and Heavy Drinking Adults
  • Drs. Beth Kurtz-Costes, Developmental, and Keith Payne, Social, R03 by NICHD, Children’s Implicit and Explicit Stereotypes About Academic Abilities

Carelli Appointed as Member of the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse

carelliDr. Regina Carelli recently accepted an invitation to serve a three-year term as a member of the National Advisory Council on Drug Abuse which provides advice to the Director of NIH. Dr. Carelli will be responsible for reviewing and making recommendations regarding grant applications to support biomedical research and research training activities. 

Senior Lecturer of Psychology to Speak at Senior Ceremony

Dr. Jeannie Loeb has been selected this year by seniors of all disciplines at Carolina to speak at the Last Lecture Ceremony as part of the 2013 Senior Week.  Dr. Loeb was widely praised for her ability to connect with students and her expertise in the field of psychology.  The event will take place April 16th at 7 PM in Polk Place. To read more about the event, please click here.