Class of 2020 Celebration

Please join us in celebrating our 2020 graduates and the many accomplishments of members of the Psychology Department this year! 

A Message from the Chair

Dr. Peter Pfordresher, Psychology Department Chair

Graduation is a significant milestone that should be celebrated with happiness and joy even during these unprecedented times. The Class of 2020 will go down in history as one that sacrificed and showned incredible resilience so that we all may be safer. We can all look back upon this time with pride, knowing that we played a vital role in responding to the situation and to our eventual recovery. Best wishes to all our students graduating from the University at Buffalo Department of Psychology. Congratulations to our Graduate and Undergraduate honorees on your academic accomplishments in achieving your goals and your commitment to excel in scholarly research with dedication and hard work with the help of your faculty mentors and dedicated staff who have nurtured and supported you along your journey. Now more than ever the world and communities around you need your contributions in addressing the ongoing challenges of today the research initiatives never end. We wish you success in your chosen paths and look forward to continuing our relationship and keeping you close in the years to come. --UB Psychology

On this page:

College of Arts and Sciences Commencement Ceremonies

Friday, May 14
1:00 p.m.

Sunday, May 16
Arts, Natural Sciences, Math and Interdisciplinary Programs: 9:30 a.m.
Humanities and Social Sciences: 3:00 p.m.

Ceremony Details

Share in the celebration!

Post on social media using #UBclassof2021

A Message from the Director of Undergraduate Studies

Dr. Micheal Dent.

I am sure that when you imagined your final semester at the University at Buffalo, you envisioned participating in Oozfest, cheering on the Bulls in the MAC (and possibly NCAA) tournaments, and of course walking across the stage to receive your diploma while your friends and family cheered you on. I doubt anyone dreamt of what this last semester would really look like. Alas, we all adapted to our changing situations and you carried on with finishing your degrees in these uncertain and difficult times. Your resilience speaks volumes about what you have learned in your time at UB. You overcame what is undoubtedly the most difficult situation that our students have faced in modern times and you persevered. Not being able to walk across the stage makes that piece of paper you are receiving no less valuable. You did it – and you did it with style through great adversity. We are sad to not hug you and wish you well in person, but we hope you still know how proud we are of every one of you. Congratulations to all of our 2020 graduates and their families from the faculty and staff in the Department of Psychology at UB!

--Dr. Micheal Dent

A Message from the Director of the Graduate Studies

Dr. Craig Colder.

Here at the University at Buffalo we are surrounded by innovative scholars and scientists who are leading their respective fields in making new discoveries to improve our well-being and enhance our lives.  Students are very much a part of this academic community, and in my view, they are among our most valuable assets. They bring a crucial element of vitality to our university.  They bring energy, enthusiasm, and new ideas and perspectives.  As the Director of Graduate Studies I have a unique opportunity to see the work and scholarly output of our graduate students across all four of our doctoral programs and our MA program.  Our graduate students in psychology are an impressive group that are pursuing groundbreaking research in their respective sub-disciplines. I congratulate our awardees and graduates for all of their achievements, and I wish them well in their future careers.

--Dr. Craig Colder

Congratulations from Your Professors!

Dr. Wendy Quinton and Dr. Mark Seery celebrate the Class of 2020

Student Awards

Graduate Awards

American Psychology Association Awards

This year, two students received awards for their dissertation research from the American Psychological Association (APA):

Routh Dissertation Grant from APA Division 53 (Division of Child and Clinical Psychology)

Kristin Perry.

Honoree: Kristin Perry

This award provides support for student research that shows promise to add significantly to the research literature in the area of clinical child and adolescent psychology. Kristin received this award to support her dissertation, titled “The Role of Autonomic System Coordination in Relations Between Peer Factors and Aggressive Behavior in Early Childhood”. Her advisor is Jamie Ostrov.

APA Dissertation Research Award

Tiffany Jenzer.

Honoree: Tiffany Jenzer

This award provides support for student dissertation research. Tiffany also received a Student Research Grant from APA Division 50 (Society of Addiction Psychology) and the Pierre Ritchie Psychological Science Research Grant from the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students (APAGS) to support her dissertation research. Her dissertation is titled “Adaptive Responding to Daily Stress: Emotion Regulation Flexibility and Alcohol Use”. Her advisor is Jennifer Read.

The Department of Psychology Bugelski Dissertation Award

Recognizes outstanding doctoral scholarship in psychology. The award is given based on excellence in scholarly productivity during doctoral studies, and significance and quality of the doctoral dissertation project.

Trevor Williams.

Honoree: Trevor Williams

Trevor is receiving this award for his dissertation titled “Understanding borderline personality disorder through trait models and social cognitive processes”. Trevor is mentored by Len Simms. In addition to the honor, Trevor will receive a monetary award of $1500. 

Runners-Up: Tiffany Jenzer mentored by Jen Read, Juhyun Park mentored by Kristin Gainey, and Lauren Rodriguez mentored by Jen Read. Each of whom will receive a monetary award of $500

The Robert W. Rice Memorial Award

Honors early excellence in scientific research for an empirical paper completed by a graduate student. This award is given based on evaluation of scientific work completed by the student during the first three years of his/her graduate training.

Payton Charlton.

Honoree: Payton Charlton

Payton received this award for her work on vasopressin deficiency and sex differences in auditory brainstem response. Her mentor is Micheal Dent. Payton’s 2019 paper titled “Sex differences in auditory brainstem response audiograms from vasopressin-deficient Brattleboro and wild-type Long-Evans rats” was published in PLoS One. In addition to the honor, Payton will receive a cash award in the amount of $1,200 and her name will be inscribed on our Robert W. Rice Memorial Award Plaque.

Graduate School Excellence in Teaching Awards for Graduate Teaching Assistants

Bestowed by the Graduate School and the Graduate Student Association. The awards publicly recognize those graduate students who have demonstrated exceptional performance in the execution of their teaching responsibilities, teaching competence, effective mentorship of students, and the maintenance of high academic standards and expectations of student performance.

Honorees (from left): Gregory Egerton and Deborah Ward

Greg Egerton.
Deborah Ward.

PGSA Outstanding Research Awards

Peer-bestowed awards that highlight impressive achievement in scientific research, given to graduate students each fall and spring semester. The Psychology Graduate Student Association (PGSA)-selected winners receive recognition from their fellow graduate students for exemplary achievement in research and a monetary award to fund conference travel.

Craig Brinkman.
Yahui Chang.
Ashley Dowd.
Esha Naidu.
Eve Rosenfeld.

Fall 2019 Honorees: (from top left) Craig Brinkman, Yahui Chang, and Ashley Dowd; (from bottom left) Esha Naidu, Zaviera Reyes, and Eve Rosenfeld

Jennifer Betts.
Destiny Brakey.
Sarah Tonkin.
Deborah Ward.

Spring 2020 Honorees: (from left) Jennifer Betts, Destiny Brakey, Sarah Tonkin, and Deborah Ward

Undergraduate Awards

Goldwater Award

Cassondra Lyman.

This scholarship is awarded to sophomores and juniors who have outstanding potential and intend to pursue advanced degrees in mathematics, the natural sciences and engineering.

Honoree: Cassondra Lyman

A junior psychology major who hopes to research social and cognitive aspects of depression – including reducing prejudice of those struggling with the disorder – is UB’s latest Goldwater scholar, an honor UB administrators call the country’s premier scholarship for undergraduate students pursuing research careers.

Read more here:

The SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence

Recognizes students who have best demonstrated, and have been recognized for, the integration of academic excellence with accomplishments in the areas of leadership, athletics, community service, creative and performing arts, campus involvement, or career achievement. It is the highest honor bestowed upon a student by the State University of New York (SUNY) system.

Arsh Issany.

Honoree: Arsh Issany

Arsh Issany of Great Neck, NY, graduates with a bachelor of science in biomedical sciences and a bachelor of arts in psychology. Issany has worked as a research assistant in the Department of Nuclear Medicine, as well as in the Maternal and Child Health Lab, where he contributed to publications and grants. He founded the Buffalo chapter of Volunteers Around the World; was vice president of Sub-Board Inc., a multimillion-dollar nonprofit; and has served as the director of student affairs for the undergraduate Student Association.

Kathleen Ohman.

Honoree: Kathleen Ohman

Kathleen Ohman of Spencerport, NY, graduates with a bachelor of science in biological sciences and a bachelor of arts in psychology, along with a minor in public health. Ohman, a University Honors College Scholar, has received a Presidential Scholarship and Grace W. Capen Award. She has worked as a research assistant in exercise science, psychology, and bioacoustics labs, and received the Robert W. Young Award for Undergraduate Research in Acoustics from the Acoustical Society of America. Ohman has also served as music director of the Enchords, a UB a cappella group.

Read more here:

The Dean’s Departmental Award for Outstanding Senior

Honors the most outstanding graduating senior from each department in UB’s College of Arts and Sciences. The award recognizes the undergraduate who has best demonstrated the highest level of academic achievement and involvement in the Department of Psychology and the field of psychological science.

Alexa Jimenez.

Honoree: Alexa Jimenez

Alexa Jimenez of Newburgh, NY, graduates summa cum laude with a bachelor of arts in psychology and minors in sociology and counseling. Jimenez is a Daniel Acker Scholar, a Ronald E. McNair Scholar and a member of the Psychology Honors Program. She worked as an undergraduate researcher in both Dr. Kristin Naragon-Gainey's and Dr. Leonard Simms's labs and completed a fully funded Summer Research Opportunities Program at the University of Notre Dame. In the fall, Jimenez will begin a doctoral program in clinical psychology at Southern Methodist University, where she has been awarded the Mustang Fellowship. She plans to pursue a career in academic research on psychological assessment, psychometrics, and the classification of psychopathology.

Psychology Honors Program

Students in the Psychology Honors Program complete an individual research project (Honors Thesis) under the supervision of a faculty advisor. This is a year-long commitment that involves all steps in the research process.

2019-2020 Psychology Honors Students:

Student Advisor Thesis Title
Melanie Abbondola

Dr. Jamie Ostrov

The Role of Deception and Collaborative Play in the Development of Relational Aggression and Victimization 
Taylor Buonocore Dr. Michael Poulin Mindfulness, Threat, and Prosocial Behavior
Carly Connor Dr. Panayotis Thanos Effects of Chronic Methylphenidate and Fluoxetine Exposure During Adolescence on Future Cocaine Abuse 
Gillian Falletta Dr. Alexis Thompson The Effects of Neuropeptide Y on Motivation to Seek Food in Rats
Virginia Freeman Dr. Marieke van Heugten The Effect of Speaker Identity on Spoken Language Processing
Sae Fukuda

Dr. Gregory Fabiano

Effectiveness of the Daily Behavior Report Cards Among Children with Disruptive Behaviors
Abbie Hessler Dr. Lora Park Effects of Feedback on Academic Locus of Control and Contingencies of Self-worth
Alexa Jimenez Dr. Kristin Gainey Dysphoria and Well-Being in Daily Life: Development and Validation of Ecological Momentary Assessment Short Forms of Inventory of Depression and Anxiety Symptoms-II Scales
Tamijah Lawton-Stone Dr. Matthew Paul The Role of Prepubertal Estradiol on Juvenile Exploration
Keliang Li Dr. Michael Poulin The Effects of Implementation Intentions on Prosociality and Invisibility
Courtney Mahan

Dr. Marieke van Heugten

Learning Language Through Song: The Effect of Language Background on Novel Word Representations
Sara Mainville Dr. Paul Meyer The Effect of a Meal-Predictive Context on Glucose Response and Subsequent Feeding Behavior in Male and Female Sprague-Dawley Rats
Jennifer Mosley Dr. Christopher McNorgan Calling Upon the Unknown: Investigating the Neural Substrates of Object Representations
Mackenzie Rittenhouse Dr. Alex Cogswell Home-Based Mental Health Treatment: Assessing the Efficacy of a Mobile Outreach Program Targeting At-Risk Youth and Adolescents
Paige Szarafin Dr. Jennifer Read The Influence of Sexual Victimization History on the Sexual Consent Process
Alexa Jimenez.

The Marvin Feldman and Walter Cohen Award

Honoree: Alexa Jimenez

The Feldman-Cohen Award recognizes the most exceptional undergraduate Psychology Honors Thesis. Named in honor of two of the Department’s most distinguished former faculty, the award goes to the undergraduate whose Honors Thesis receives the highest ranking by the student’s examination committee, faculty advisor, and the Director of the Honors Program.

Psi Chi Year In Review

From Psi Chi’s 2019-2020 President, Cassondra Lyman, and Vice President, Bradley Bedell.

Psi Chi Graduating Officers

  • Mackenzie Rittenhouse
  • Keliang (Colin) Li

Psi Chi Graduating Seniors

  • Melanie Abbondola
  • Omar Abdel-Kerim
  • Amberlynn Azcona
  • Taylor Buonocore
  • Ava Calabrese
  • Cathleen Chau
  • Shelby Clapp
  • Elijah Cone
  • Carly Connor
  • Daniel Cook
  • Corrinne D'Andria
  • Gillian Falletta
  • Sae Fukuda
  • Mara Giambrone
  • Rachel Greenbaum
  • Michelle Isayeva
  • Alexa Jimenez
  • Danielle Johnson
  • Emma Jones
  • Kyra Katz
  • Ji Soo Kim
  • Eunice Koh
  • Cordelia Krishnan
  • Vivien Lai
  • Tamijah Lawton-Stone
  • Alexandra Leonard
  • Keliang Li
  • Benedict Wei Zhi Lim
  • Glenmarie Lim
  • Sara Lutz
  • Courtney Mahan
  • Erin Maloney
  • Grace Michienzi
  • Faith Miller
  • Kennedy Moore
  • Cherice Morgan
  • Andrew Mosher
  • Thomas Nordstrom
  • Rona Pascua
  • Mary Peters
  • Lindsay Pieri
  • Farah Raghunandan
  • Brittany Richardson
  • Mackenzie Rittenhouse
  • Hannah Roberts
  • Tanya Roy
  • Erin Schutte
  • Ayla Stafford
  • Alexandra Stasio
  • Quenton Sutton
  • Paige Szarafin
  • Edward Tan
  • Anna Tschopp
  • Julia Verdi
  • Nicole Walrath
  • Amber Wedderburn
  • Fang Ying Wong

Faculty Awards and Promotions

SUNY Distinguished Professor

The Distinguished Professorship is conferred upon faculty having achieved national or international prominence and a distinguished reputation within the individual’s chosen field through significant contributions to the research and scholarship, or through artistic performance or achievement in the fine and performing arts.

Stephen Tiffany.

Dr. Stephen Tiffany

The Empire Innovation Professor in the Department of Psychology, Tiffany is world-renowned expert on the study of addictions, developing theoretical models that have shaped the way experts in the field conceptualize the relationship between craving and addictive behavior. Actively involved in numerous clinical studies – many of which focus on nicotine – Tiffany conducts empirical research with people and animal models using a combination of controlled experimentation and more translational work. He provided a dominant theoretical perspective on craving and its relationship to drug use with his 1990 Psychological Review paper that outlined a cognitive model of craving now referred to as the “Tiffany model.” An extraordinarily productive and prolific researcher, Tiffany has more than 100 publications in highly prestigious journals and has received multiple grants from the National Science Foundation and the NIH. He has served as a standing member of three different NIH review panels and on the editorial boards of multiple journals. A UB faculty member since 2007, Tiffany served as chair of the Department of Psychology from 2011-18.

National Science Foundation Early Career Award

This prestigious award supports early-career faculty who have the potential to serve as academic role models in research and education and to lead advances in the mission of their department or organization. The award is meant to support activities to build a foundation for a lifetime of leadership in integrating education and research.

Ann-Marie Torregrossa.

Dr. Ann-Marie Torregrossa

Dr. Torregrossa is a leading expert in rodent models that inform questions about diet choice and food preference. These are very important questions as diet selection is a critical part of maintaining health, yet it is poorly understood.  Using innovative methods, her research unpacks environmental and physiological influences that influence food choice preference. Dr. Torregrossa has been a UB faculty member since 2015 and is the Associate Director of the Center for Ingestive Behavior Research. She received this award for her groundbreaking work on the role of salivary proteins in diet acceptance.

Promotion and Tenure

Matthew Paul.

Dr. Matthew Paul

Dr. Paul was recently promoted to Associate Professor (tenured). He is a member of our Behavioral Neuroscience area, and studies how behavior is shaped by the interplay of the brain, hormones, and the environment.

Excellence in Teaching Awards

The Excellence in Teaching Awards celebrate outstanding instruction in psychological science. We recognize those instructors whose teaching evaluations reflect the most exceptional in the Department of Psychology.

Wendy Quinton.
Cheryl Kondrak.
Craig Brinkman.

Honorees (from left): Dr. Wendy Quinton (Faculty), Dr. Cheryl Kondrak (Adjunct Faculty), and Craig Brinkman (Graduate Student Instructor)

College of Arts and Sciences Virtual Commencement Ceremony

Friday, May 15 1 p.m. 

This virtual ceremony is for graduate students from all departments within the College of Arts and Sciences.

Saturday, May 16 3 p.m.

This virtual ceremony is for undergraduate students from all departments within the College of Arts and Sciences.