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Newsletter Fall 2016

O Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou ROMEO?

From left to right: Herbert Zimiles (Affiliated Emeritus Faculty), and University of Michigan Psychology Emeritus Faculty - Mel Manis, Gene Burnstein, George Rosenwald, and Elliot Valenstein


Did you take a class from any of these Psychology faculty members during your years at the University of Michigan? The East Hall Psychology ROMEO group (Retired Old Men Eating Out) had its start about 10 years ago. Learn more about how the group has evolved here.

In this issue, you will find…

  1. A Letter from our Department Chair, Patricia Reuter-Lorenz
  2. Donor Impact
    • Naomi E. Lohr Award
    • Paul M. Fitts Memorial Fund
    • Giving Blue Day - November 29, 2016
  3. Undergraduate Research Highlights
    • José Dávila, Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience Major
    • Nia Byrd, Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience Major
  4. Alumni Spotlight: Dr. Reda Jaber, Psychology BS, 2008
  5. Psychology Student-Athletes
  6. Exploring the Mind Community Talks by UM Psychology Faculty
  7. New Psychology Faculty
  8. Psychology Faculty in the News
  9. Psychology Faculty Honors & Awards
  10. 2016 Psychology Graduation
  11. Psychology Alumni
  12. Where in the World Have our Psych T-Shirts Been?
  13. In Memoriam

A Letter From Our Chair: Patricia Reuter-Lorenz

Dear Friends of Psychology,

Welcome to our Fall 2016 Psychology Department newsletter! I hope you’ll enjoy reading about all the exciting developments in our Department in the past year. I’m extremely proud of our faculty and students for their numerous accomplishments, many of which are honored by awards and other recognitions that you can read about in the newsletter.  This past year we also had great success in recruiting 6 new faculty members to Psychology!  Together, their cutting edge research programs span all areas of the Department. Our new colleagues will enrich our community and expand the learning opportunities for our students.  Last year, we also launched a new monthly lecture series by our faculty at the downtown branch of the Ann Arbor public library.  The series was a great success and will continue this year—please join us if you’re in town!  Wherever you are, we hope you’ll visit our wonderful new website often for news and event announcements throughout the year!

With my very best wishes,

Donor Impact

Naomi E. Lohr Award provides lasting impact

The Naomi E. Lohr Award for Excellence in Clinical Psychology is awarded to a Clinical Science doctoral student during the internship year. The award recognizes a student who demonstrates a clear commitment to developing clinical expertise and an appreciation for a diversity of theoretical and clinical perspectives and approaches. Learn more about the impact of the generous donations to this award by reading about the research of this year’s award recipient, Johnny Berona, here.

Paul M. Fitts Memorial Fund

The Fitts Memorial Fund helped support the Department of Psychology’s 5th annual “Fitts Faculty, Staff, and Graduate Student Awards Banquet and Lecture”, with approximately 200 in attendance. Click here to read about the award winners and click here to learn more about the late University of Michigan Psychology Professor, Paul M. Fitts.

From left to right: Colonel Eugene Salaniuk, Mrs. Paul Fitts, Susan Fitts-Salaniuk (Prof. Fitts’ daughter), Professor Susan Gelman (the 2016 Fitts Lecturer),Professor Patricia Reuter-Lorenz (Psychology Department Chair), and Professor Thad Polk (Psychology Department Associate Chair).

Giving Blue Day - November 29, 2016

Thank you to our donors for supporting the University of Michigan, Department of Psychology. Every gift matters. Our focus for Giving Blue Day is supporting undergraduate and graduate student research opportunities. For additional information on Giving Blue Day, please visit our Giving Blue Day page.

Undergraduate Research Highlights

José visiting the Simien Mountains National Park, Ethiopia

José Dávila, Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience Undergrad

José Dávila spent his summer in Ethiopia working on a Design Ethnography Project that is running usability testing on a Medical Device Prototype that aims to reduce the skill needed to insert Contraceptive Hormonal Rods that go in the upper arm of a patient. This technology would allow for rural areas in Ethiopia to have greater access to contraceptive care. José is interested in the psychological and public health influences that impact women’s health and family planning.

Nia Byrd, Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience Undergrad

Rising Senior BCN major, Nia Byrd, has been awarded a scholarship from the Undergraduate Scholarship Program (UGSP) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She is one of only 16 undergraduates nationally to receive the honor, which includes a scholarship of up to $20,000 for the 2016-2017 academic year. Next summer, she will become a paid research trainee at the NIH in Bethesda, Maryland for 10 weeks followed by one year of full time employment as a research trainee. She will also be applying for Medical School during this time. Nia is looking forward to picking her own research mentor. Currently, she is looking into the Radiology and Physical Rehabilitation departments, but will have a better idea once she visits in January to meet the research mentors and tour the departments. "I am extremely grateful to be selected for such an amazing program as this and I cannot wait to begin this next chapter of my life." Congratulations, Nia!  

Alumni Spotlight

Life after Graduation: Putting Psychology to Work with Reda Jaber

Dr. Reda Jaber, Partner, IncWell

University of Michigan, Psychology BS, 2008

Dr. Jaber is a partner at IncWell, an early-stage venture capital fund based in Birmingham, MI. IncWell provides seed funding, strategic partnerships and mentorship for U.S. and Canadian startup companies. Dr. Jaber has lead responsibility for all medical sector activities, and is currently focused on artificial intelligence in healthcare and consumer health products.

Each year Forbes Magazine lists their picks for the top 600 brightest young entrepreneurs, breakout talents and change agents in 20 different sectors. In 2016, Forbes recognized Dr. Jaber on their 30 under 30 list (healthcare sector). Read more about what inspires Dr. Jaber and his experience at the University of Michigan here.  

Psychology Student-Athletes Featured in M Magazine

Shannon Scavelli, Psychology BA, 2016
Matt Cloutier, Psychology BS, 2016

Undergraduate Psychology majors Matt Cloutier (Drum Major) and Shannon Scavelli (Field Hockey) were featured in the Spring 2016 issue of M Magazine. Learn more about their experience here.

Exploring the Minds Community Talks by UM Psychology Faculty

UM Psychology recently launched its monthly “Exploring the Mind” series of community talks, offering the public an inside look at emerging topics in the field of psychology. This series was a huge success in 2015-2016 with five different Psychology faculty presenting at the downtown branch of the Ann Arbor District Library. You can view past presentations, see a schedule of future talks, and subscribe to our community talk Email list here.

New Faculty

We are delighted to welcome six new faculty members to the Psychology Department this year.

Faculty in the News

Sari van Anders, Associate Professor of Psychology and Women’s Studies

While it has been long understood that hormones can have a powerful influence on our behavior, Dr. van Ander’s research suggests that our behavior can actually influence our hormones too. Read more about this fascinating research in LSA’s most recent magazine, here.

Shelly Schreier, Neil M. Kalter Collegiate Lecturer IV, Psychology

Michigan Daily posted an article on ‘The Best of Ann Arbor’, and our very own Shelly Schreier was listed as Best Professor. According to the article’s author, Megan Mitchell, “Professor Shelly Schreier is undoubtedly deserving of the “Best of Ann Arbor” award. Actually, I’m also absolutely certain that if there were an award for “Best Professor on God’s Green Earth,” she would win that one too.” Congrats Shelly!

Julie Boland, Professor of Psychology and Linguistics

Julie Boland’s recent study in PLOS One, showing that a reader's personality influences how they react to errors in Email messages, has been picked up by blogs and news alike.

Faculty Honors & Awards

We are thrilled to share news about the numerous prestigious honors and awards bestowed on our faculty this past year. Please visit our Awards page to learn more about all the important accomplishments and wonderful recognition the University of Michigan Psychology faculty have received.

Psychology Graduation 2016

Graduation Statistics

  • 504 undergrads and 11 AMDP students walked the aisle at the Crisler Center commencement, and 3,500 guests were in attendance.
  • 780 Psychology Department undergraduate degree recipients were honored in Summer '15, Fall '15 and Winter '16 semesters (345 BCN and 435 Psychology).
  • 53 students completed the honors program and 11 students completed the Accelerated Master’s Degree Program.
  • 27 PhD's were awarded in 2015-2016: 13 were area based and 14 were joint students with another department or school.

Please visit our Event Photos page for more photos of this joyous occasion.
You can also view the commencement video here.

Psychology Alumni

Did you land your dream job? Continue your education? Receive an award? Send us your news and let us know what you have been up to. 

If you would like to stay connected with our department, we invite you to register in our database of graduates.

Where in the World Have our Psych T-Shirts Been?

Marenda Escobar, Psychology Undergrad – Class of 2016. This photo was taken in Bolivia.
Alyson Rich, Psychology Undergrad – Class of 2018. This photo was taken on top of Waynapicchu Mountain overlooking theMachu Picchu ruins during a service learning opportunity over Spring Break
Xinhao Yu, Psychology Undergrad – Class of 2016. This photo was at Evangelical Homes in Chelsea, MI where Xinhao is entertaining the residents.
Lauren Ingram, Psychology Undergrad - Class of 2016. This photo was taken at Iguazu Falls, Parana, Brazil.

In Memoriam

Donald C. PelzProfessor Emeritus of Psychology, and Research Scientist Emeritus of the Survey Research Center