Personalities

Rosemary Blieszner, PhD, is the new president of the Gerontological Society of America. Blieszner is professor of adult development and aging and associate director of the Center for Gerontology at Virginia Tech. Her research focuses on older adults' well-being and relationships with family and friends. She served on APA's Committee on Aging from 2005 through 2007 and as its chair in 2007. Blieszner served as editor of the Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences, from 2008 to 2011. She is a fellow of Div. 20 (Adult Development and Aging).

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has appointed Dorothy Espelage, PhD, as its Edward William and Jane Marr Gutsgell endowed professor in the School of Education. Espelage teaches child development in the educational psychology department and is a fellow of APA Div. 17 (Society of Counseling Psychology). Her research investigates bullying, homophobic teasing, dating violence and sexual harassment.

The Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation awarded Fred Frese, PhD, one of its fourth annual Morgan Impact Awards for his work as an advocate and public voice for people with schizophrenia and other mental illnesses. Frese is a psychologist and clinical assistant professor at Case Western Reserve University, where he specializes in schizophrenia treatment. He was also diagnosed with schizophrenia himself at age 25 and has for decades spoken publicly about his experiences. The Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation was established in 2001 in Hudson, Ohio, as a private grant-making foundation.

The Agnes Irwin School, a girls' college preparatory academy in Rosemont, Pa., has named Wendy Hill, PhD, as head of the school. Hill, who will assume the position on July 1, is currently provost and dean of the faculty at Lafayette College in Easton, Pa., where she studies the physiological mechanisms that mediate animal behavior, such as the actions of neurotransmitters.

Marietta College gave Christopher Klein, PhD, its 2014 McCoy Professorship Award, a four-year designation recognizing teaching excellence. The cognitive psychologist and assistant professor of psychology studies the automatic and neurological processes of learning and attention, particularly how they function in people with an autism spectrum disorder, and teaches courses in statistics, research methods and cognitive psychology.

The American Association for the Advancement of Science has named its 2013 fellows. Seven psychologists were among those honored: Toni Claudette Antonucci, PhD, of the University of Michigan; Eugene Borgida, PhD, of the University of Minnesota Twin Cities; John P. Capitanio, PhD, of the University of California, Davis/California National Primate Research Center; Leonard H. Epstein, PhD, of the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences; Mark Stuart Goldman, PhD, of the University of South Florida; Eileen Kowler, PhD, of Rutgers University; and Helen S. Mayberg, PhD, of the Emory University School of Medicine.

The University of Indianapolis presented Jacqueline Remondet Wall, PhD, with a Faculty Achievement Award that recognizes exceptional performance in scholarship, service, administration and teaching. Wall's achievements include her service as president of APA's Div. 18 (Psychologists in Public Service) in 2012 and her work designing a new undergraduate curriculum. Wall is director of undergraduate programs in psychology and an associate professor in the School of Psychological Sciences.

Damasio wins $100,000 Grawemeyer prize

Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio, MD, PhD, is the 2014 winner of the University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award for Psychology. The $100,000 prize honors Damasio's somatic marker hypothesis, which proposed that emotions influence people's decision-making ability.

Damasio posited the theory in 1996 after years of gathering evidence that people with certain brain injuries had trouble making personal and social decisions even when their overall intelligence remained intact. His research in the area has influenced how scientists study drug addiction, social communication and neuroeconomics.

Damasio is the Devid Dornsife Professor of Neuroscience at the University of Southern California and director of the university's Brain and Creativity Institute. He is also an adjunct professor at the Salk Institute and author of "Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain," which was adapted into a musical composition performed by Yo-Yo Ma at the American Museum of Natural History in 2009. Watch Dr. Damasio's TEDTalk on the quest to understand consciousness.

Three psychologists recognized by adult development center

The Center for Optimal Adult Development named psychologists James E. Birren, PhD, Laura Carstensen, PhD, and John R. Nesselroade, PhD, Honorary Lifetime Associates in November. Based in Austin, Texas, the center focuses on providing a knowledge repository for information about adult development.

Birren, who served as chief of the section on aging of the National Institute of Mental Health, was founding dean of the University of Southern California Leonard Davis School of Gerontology and founding director of the Ethel Percy Andrus Gerontology Center.

Carstensen, a psychology professor at Stanford, is founding director of the university's Center on Longevity.

Nesselroade, an emeritus professor of psychology at the University of Virginia, is founder and director of the university's Center for Developmental and Health Research Methodology.