Announcing the 2011 APA Dissertation Research Award recipients

More than 50 graduate students receive funding for their research.

The American Psychological Association congratulates the outstanding graduate students who have been awarded 2011 APA Dissertation Research Awards.  These awards are made annually by the APA Science Directorate to promising graduate students to assist with the costs of their dissertation research.  Students may apply for funding of up to $5,000.  (See the award website for additional information.)

Out of 207 applications this year, six students with the highest rated proposals received awards of up to $2,000, and 45 students received awards of up to $1,000.   Listed below are the names and dissertation projects of each of the winners.

Recipients of Awards up to $2,000


Bobby CheonBobby Cheon
Northwestern University

Gene-Environment Interactions on Intergroup Bias: The Role of Threat Sensitivity and Motivations for Social Affiliation

This research examines how genes that regulate emotional and social processes may influence prejudice and in-group favoritism. This project will determine whether those who possess genetic predispositions towards heightened emotional reactivity more readily adopt negative stereotypes and biases about out-groups from their social environment.

Bobby is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Social Psychology program at Northwestern University. Prior to graduate studies, he received his B.A. in Interdisciplinary Cognitive Science at the University of Virginia and worked on research investigating neurological and psychological outcomes of traumatic brain injury at the National Naval Medical Center.


Christopher ConwayChristopher Conway
University of California, Los Angeles

The Serotonin Transporter Gene, Daily Stress Reactivity, and Psychopathology: An Endophenotype Approach

Chris Conway’s dissertation uses a daily diary methodology to examine the influence of monoaminergic genetic variation on internalizing and externalizing responses to daily stressors, with an eye toward identifying mechanisms accounting for gene-environment interactions in psychopathology.

Under the mentorship of Dr. Constance Hammen at UCLA, Chris researches the genetic and environmental origins of psychopathology.  He is currently interested in modeling the latent structure of comorbidity between Axis I and II disorders to inform future classification systems that enhance the efficicacy of research on and treatment of mental disorders.


Daniella FurmanDaniella Furman
Stanford University

Neural Systems Underlying Catastrophic Response to Failure in Major Depressive Disorder

Daniella Furman is a fifth year graduate student in the Department of Psychology at Stanford University, where she works with Dr. Ian Gotlib to characterize anomalies in brain structure, function, and connectivity associated with Major Depression.

In her dissertation work, Daniella is using functional magnetic resonance imaging to explore the neural circuits involved in responding to negative feedback in depression, and to investigate how abnormal processing of negative feedback in the brain may contribute to certain of the other motivational and cognitive symptoms of the disorder.


William GiardinoWilliam Giardino
Oregon Health and Science University

Involvement of Urocortin-1 (Ucn1) Neurons within the Centrally-Projecting Edinger-Westphal Nucleus (EWcp) in Ethanol Intake, Preference, and Reward

William Giardino’s dissertation research is focused on the relationship between stress and alcohol consumption. Specifically, his work aims to combine aspects of behavioral neuroscience and molecular biology in order to investigate the brain regions and stress-related neuropeptide systems that are involved in excessive alcohol intake and alcohol-induced reward.

William earned his B.S. in Psychology from the University of Washington in 2008, and began his graduate studies in Behavioral Neuroscience at Oregon Health & Science University immediately afterward.


Sergio IñiguezSergio Iñiguez
Florida State University

Enduring Neurobiological Consequences of Antidepressant Exposure during Adolescence

Sergio Iñiguez’s research examines the enduring functional and molecular consequences of exposure to stress and antidepressant drugs, such as Prozac (Fluoxetine), during discrete stages of development (adolescence versus adulthood), using rodents as a model system.

Sergio Iñiguez is a doctoral candidate in the department of psychology at Florida State University. Sergio currently conducts his research in a neuropsychopharmachology laboratory under the supervision of Dr. Carlos Bolaños-Guzman.


Moriel ZelikowskyMoriel Zelikowsky
University of California, Los Angeles

A Dynamic Circuit: Interactions between the Amygdala, Hippocampus and Prefrontal Cortex Control Context-Sensitive Fear and Extinction

Moriel Zelikowsky is interested in the brain circuitry and molecular mechanisms underlying the formation and extinction of fear memories.  Combining molecular techniques and behavioral testing, her research aims to uncover the interplay between the amygdala, hippocampus and prefrontal cortex in the modulation of fear, as well as how this circuit undergoes dynamic changes to allow for behavioral compensation following brain damage.

Moriel received her undergraduate degree in Philosophy in 2005 (UCLA), and by chance took an experimental psychology course her last quarter.  She was immediately hooked and is now finishing her Ph.D. in Psychology in the lab of Dr. Michael Fanselow (UCLA).  She will be continuing her research as a post-doctoral fellow in the lab of Dr. David Anderson (Caltech). 

Recipients of Awards up to $1,000


Tessa Basford
George Washington University

Please Accept My Sincerest Apologies: Examining Follower Reactions to Leader Apology

Hallie Bregman
University of Miami

Parental Support of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Youth Following Disclosure: A Longitudinal, Cross-Sequential Study

Holly Brothers
Ohio State University

Time-Dependent Effects of Lipopolysaccharide-Induced Chronic Neuroinflammation upon Glutamate Transporter Expression as Well as Extracellular Glutamate Levels and Clearance Measured Second-By-Second in the Rat Hippocampus

Lucas Butler
Stanford University

For Me?  Children’s Use of Pedagogical and Communicative Cues to Acquire Generic Knowledge

Ann Caldwell Hooper
University of New Mexico

An Evolutionary Approach to Understanding Social Facilitation of Energy Exertion

Peter Caprariello
University of Rochester

This One's on Me!: The Effects of Spending Money on Others for Self-Centered and Other-Centered Reasons

Mark Celio
State University of New York at Binghamton

The Efficacy of a Personalized Normative Feedback Intervention to Reduce College Student Gambling

Joanna Chango
University of Virginia

The Neural Mechanisms Underlying Associations between a Lack of Adolescent Social Competencies and Psychological Adjustment in Early Adulthood

Adam Congleton
Stony Brook University

The Influence of Retrieval Organization on the Formation and Persistence of Collective Memory

Ewart de Visser
George Mason University

Calibrating Trust in Cognitive Agents

Joseph Dunsmoor
Duke University

Brain Mechanisms of Human Fear Generalization

Gilda Ennis
North Carolina State University

Glucose Attenuation of the Associative Memory Deficit in Older Adults

Irina Fonareva
Oregon Health and Science University

Physiologic and Expectancy Effects of Stress-Reducing Aroma in Older Adults

Jacyln Ford
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Autobiographical Memory Retrieval in Healthy Older Adults: The Role of Executive Control Processes

Anna Gekker
University of Rochester

Long-Term Cognitive Modulation of Event Related Potentials to Affective Stimuli as a Function of Trait Anxiety

Courtney Gosnell
University of California, Santa Barbara

The Ego-Depleting Nature of Social Support

Steve Guglielmo
Brown University

In Search of Immorality: The Information-Seeking Process of Moral Judgment

Yi Guo
Rice University

Two Novel Dual Mechanism Models of PI Resolution in Working Memory: An Individual Differences and Functional Neuroimaging Approach

Alissa Haedt-Matt
University of Iowa

Ecological Momentary Assessment of Purging Disorder

Lauren Hallion
University of Pennsylvania

Use of Executive Control Resources by Attempts to Control Worry in Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Bryan Heckman
University of South Florida

Influence of Self-Control Depletion and Nicotine Deprivation on Behavioral Economic Indices and Smoking Behavior

Megan Herting
Oregon Health and Science University

The Impact of Exercise on Brain Structure and Function in Adolescents

Matthew Hilimire
Georgia Institute of Technology

Competition and Selectivity in the Visual System: Evidence from Event-Related Brain Potentials

Gloria Luong
University of California, Irvine

Age Differences in the Use and Effectiveness of Emotion Regulation Strategies

Janet Lydecker
Virginia Commonwealth University

Visual Attentional Bias and Body Dissatisfaction in Eating Disorders

Steven Meredith
University of Florida

Group Contingency Management to Promote Smoking Cessation

Christine Moberg
University of Wisconsin – Madison

Stress, Anxiety, and Alcoholism: Affective Contributions to the Maintenance of Addiction

Alexandra Morrison
Temple University

Influences of Task-Demands and Strategy on the Focus of Attention

Megan Narad
University of Cincinnati

The Impact of Cell Phone Use on the Driving Performance of Adolescents with and without Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Michael North
Princeton University

From Jurassic to Classic: Changing Ageist Attitudes among the Young

Darby Proctor
Georgia State University

Gambling and Decision-Making among Primates: The Primate Gambling Task

Catherine Purdom
Arizona State University

Neuropsychological Functioning and Stress Reactivity in Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus

Rachael Robnett
University of California, Santa Cruz

Stemming the Leaks: The Role of Peer Support in Girls’ and Women’s Pursuit of Careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math

Enrica Ruggs
Rice University

The Influence of Employee Inkings on Consumer Behavior: Booed, Eschewed, and Tattooed

Philip Sayegh
University of Southern California

Cross-cultural Differences in the Diagnosis of Dementia in Hispanic and Non-Hispanic White Outpatients

Julie Schoenfield-McNeill
Seattle Pacific University

Autobiographical Memory: Relations to Theory of Mind and Social Competence in Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Hillary Schwarb
Georgia Institute of Technology

Optimized Cognitive Training: An Investigating the Limits of Brain Training on Generalized Cognitive Function

Joseph Simons
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Thinking in the Shadow of Ostracism: Controversial Issues Cause Social Threat

Christopher Sozda
University of Florida

Disruption of Attentional Processing in Traumatic Brain Injury: An Event-Related Potential Investigation

Rebecca Sripada
University of Michigan

The Neural Correlates of Allopregnanolone and DHEA in Emotion Regulation

Elizabeth Staniforth
Wake Forest School of Medicine

Breath Alcohol Estimation Training: Behavioral Effects and Predictors of Success

Erin Thomas
Yale University

Lost in the Categorical Shuffle: Evidence for, Consequences of, and the Amelioration of Black Female Invisibility

Jeffrey Wardell
State University of New York at Buffalo

Effects of Acute Alcohol Intoxication on Automatic Alcohol Expectancy Processes

Sarah Williams
University of Louisville

Modeling Risk for the Development of Child Anxiety: The Role of Parent Emotion Socialization Practices, Children's Emotional Competence, and Physiological Responsiveness

E. Samuel Winer
University of Illinois at Chicago

Encoding of Positive Information in Depressed and Anxious Persons