Announcing the winners of the 2010 APF/COGDOP graduate research scholarships in psychology

Thirteen awards given to student researchers whose work reflects excellence in psychological science

By Rachel Martin

The American Psychological Foundation (APF) and the Council of Graduate Departments of Psychology (COGDOP) have jointly offered graduate research scholarships to doctoral students since 1996. The fellowships, administered by the APA Science Directorate, are intended to assist graduate students whose research reflects excellence in scientific psychology with the costs of conducting this research. This year, in an effort to promote the diversity of the applicant pool, special consideration was given to master’s level candidates.

The program offers thirteen total awards, including the $5,000 Harry and Miriam Levinson Scholarship, the $3,000 Ruth G. and Joseph D. Matarazzo Scholarship, and the $2,000 Clarence J. Rosecrans Scholarship. In addition to these three awards, the foundation provides ten $1,000 scholarships per year. This year, over 125 applications were received, and each was reviewed by a committee of COGDOP members using such criteria as the theoretical and applied importance of the research and the clarity and design of the proposal itself. The following three graduate students received the major awards for 2010:

Nanxin Li (Yale University) received the $5,000 Harry and Miriam Levinson Scholarship for his proposal “Rapid Antidepressant Effects of Ketamine,” which describes research investigating synaptic protein synthesis induced by ketamine and the resulting impact on brain morphology and behavior in rats. Animals will be infused with different inhibitors followed by acute intraperitoneal injections of ketamine or saline and will be tested subsequently with behavioral and molecular assays at different time points.

Adam S. Smith (Florida State University) received the $3,000 Ruth G. and Joseph D. Matarazzo Scholarship. His proposal, “Oxytocin Regulation of the Anxiolytic Effects of Social Support to Psychosocial Stress” describes work that aims to identify neuroendocrine mechanisms of social support during a stressful experience, particularly the mediating effects of the neuropeptide oxytocin. He proposes three studies that will evaluate his working hypothesis that central oxytocin is important for the social buffering regulation of stress reactivity.

Michael K. Scullin (Washington University in St. Louis) received this year’s $2,000 Clarence J. Rosecrans Scholarship. His proposal, “Understanding Cognitive Declines in Older Adults: Do the Answers Lie in Sleep?” describes research investigating whether age-related changes in sleep explain cognitive declines in older adults. He will examine sleep-dependent consolidation in younger and older adults as well as the role of sleep stages in these populations, using the classic hippocampus-dependent A-B, A-C learning paradigm.

In addition, the following ten students received $1,000 APF/COGDOP Graduate Research Scholarships in Psychology for 2010: 

Konrad Bresin (North Dakota State University) - for his proposed examination of factors associated with the attenuation of nonsuicidal self-injury.

Aaron Fisher (Pennsylvania State University) - for his research that examines the relationship between clinical and nonclinical worry on autonomic nervous system flexibility.

Kelsie Forbush (University of Iowa) - “The Structure and Assessment of Eating Disorder Symptoms.”

Larisa Heiphetz (Harvard University) - “Is God More Like Green or More Like Germs: The Development of Reasoning about Beliefs.”

Cecilia Martinez-Torteya (Michigan State University) - “Prenatal Intimate Partner Violence and Depression during Childhood: the Role of Physiological Stress Response Dysregulation.”

Ian McDonough (University of Chicago) - “Autobiographical Reality Monitoring in Aging.”

Eric Pedersen (University of Washington) - for his research on the efficacy of predeparture feedback interventions to prevent increased and problematic alcohol use among study abroad students.

Eva Telzer (University of California, Los Angeles) - “An fMRI Study of the Protective Effects of Familism on Risk Taking and Drug Use among Latino Adolescents.”

Jill Waring (Boston College) - for her project on the effects of age and cognitive impairment on emotional memories in older adults using a memory trade-off paradigm.

Yung-Jui Yang (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) - “Reacting to Globalization: Critical Conditions for Evocation of Hot Reactions Toward Cultural Interaction.”


Rachel Martin is Conferences and Outreach Manager in the APA Science Directorate.