Class of 2021 Celebration

Please join us in celebrating our 2021 graduates and the many accomplishments of members of the Psychology Department this year! 

Messages From Our Chairs

Dr. Peter Pfordresher, Psychology Department Chair (Outgoing). In June of 2021, Dr. Pfordresher will begin serving as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Arts and Sciences. 

Dr. Jennifer Read, Psychology Department Chair (Incoming). Dr. Read will begin her term as Chair starting in June of 2021. 

On this page:

College of Arts and Sciences Commencement Ceremonies

Saturday, May 15
6:00 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.

Not in our wildest dreams could we have imagined what was in front of us when we all went home for spring break in 2020. A year and a half later and the world is a new place. Your final semesters at UB may or may not have, in fact, even taken place at UB. Regardless, we have all figured out how to make this work. I’ve Zoomed with students all over the world this past year, forging connections and sharing experiences. I know this last year was very hard for all of you, perhaps both on the education front and the personal front. We faculty have worked so very hard to at least make the education side of things as positive of an experience as we possibly can. We know that learning during these times was not ideal, and we wouldn’t have chosen to do it this way either. But, if you are receiving your diploma during this pandemic, then you also figured out how to succeed in these difficult times – and hopefully you feel rewarded by all of your hard work. Congratulations to all of our Psychology Department 2021 graduates and best of luck in all your future endeavors!

--Dr. Micheal Dent

A Message from the Director of the Graduate Studies

Dr. Craig Colder.

Scholars and scientists at UB are making new discoveries each year to reduce inequality and improve the health and welfare of everyone for a more just and sustainable world. Students are very much a part of our academic community, and in my view, they are among our most valuable assets. They bring a crucial element of vitality and diversity to our university. They bring energy, enthusiasm, and new ideas and perspectives. Strong and productive relationships between faculty and students are the lifeblood of our university. This past year has brought many challenges for both faculty and students. I was at times overwhelmed with the incredible strength, resilience, and flexibility of our academic community. Faculty and students overcame incredible obstacles, including home schooling children, job loss and economic hardship, and illness. Through it all our faculty and students persevered, and incredibly, remarkably, our work of educating and research continued. I’m filled with pride and admiration for my colleagues and our students. 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. It is truly amazing that our students were able to accomplish their goals and continue to achieve excellence in the face of very challenging year. I wish them well in their future careers. Congratulations!

--Dr. Craig Colder

Student Awards

Graduate Awards

American Psychological Association Awards

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

Courtney Motschman.

APA Psychopharmacology and Substance Abuse (Division 28) Outstanding Dissertation Award

Honoree: Courtney Motschman

This award honors the best doctoral dissertation in psychopharmacology and substance abuse. It provides $250, an engraved plaque and travel support for the recipient to attend and present an address at the annual APA convention. Courtney's thesis, entitled, “Smoking and alcohol cue reactivity: Effects of separate and combined cues on craving, drug-seeking, and consumption,” examined the direct and interactive effects of smoking and alcohol cues on craving and substance reward value, the role of substance use levels as potential moderators of cue effects, and the prospective associations between cue-elicited craving and proximal drug behaviors. Her advisor is Dr. Stephen Tiffany.

Juhyun Park.

APA Dissertation Research Award

Honoree: Juhyun Park

APA's Science Directorate holds a yearly competition for dissertation research funding "to assist science-oriented doctoral students of psychology with research costs." This award provides $1000 toward student dissertation research. Juhyun’s dissertation is titled, Putting emotion regulation abilities into context: A person-centered approach to assessing links with emotion regulation strategies and internalizing symptoms”. Her advisor is Dr. Kristin Gainey.

Psychological Association of Western New York (PAWNY) Scholarship

Gabriela Memba.

Honoree: Gabriela Memba

PAWNY recognizes the importance of supporting and encouraging underrepresented racial and ethnic minorities to pursue and complete doctoral training in clinical and counseling psychology. To help promote and increase diversity among practicing psychologists, PAWNY's scholarship award is offered once annually to outstanding applicants who are currently accepted/enrolled in a local doctoral program in clinical or counseling psychology and who may have a particular interest in training and mentoring the next generation of psychologists of color. The award provides Gabriela with $1000. Her advisor is Dr. Jamie Ostrov.

Research Society on Alcoholism (RSA) Graduate Student Small Grant Award

The RSA small grants are awarded to PhD and MD trainees to support their research to “promote the acquisition and dissemination of scientific knowledge in the areas of basic science, risks and resiliency, treatment, outcome and recovery, and policy and economics, as it relates to alcohol research.”

Ashmita Mukherjee.

Honoree: Ashmita Mukherjee

Ashmita won this award for her project “Effect of nicotine pre-treatment in an alcohol interoceptive conditioning paradigm.” She will receive monetary support for this project for one calendar year. Ashmita's mentor is Dr. Gregory Loney.



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.

Kristin Perry.

Honoree: Kristin Perry

Kristin is receiving this award for his dissertation titled, “The role of autonomic system coordination in relations between peer factors and aggressive behavior in early childhood”. In addition to the honor, Kristin will receive a monetary award of $1800. She is mentored by Dr. Jamie Ostrov. 

Runners-Up: Jennifer Betts (mentored by Dr. Stephen Tiffany), Kelcie Schatz (mentored by Dr. Matthew Paul), Sarah Tonkin (mentored by Dr. Larry Hawk), and Deborah Ward (mentored by Dr. Lora Park). Each will receive an award of $600.

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 graduate training.

Gretchen Perhamus.

Honoree: Gretchen Perhamus

Gretchen received this award for her work on the role of irritability and hostile attribution biases in childhood aggression. Gretchen’s 2021 paper titled, “Emotions and cognitions in early childhood aggression: the role of irritability and hostile attribution biases” was published in Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology (now titled Research on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology). In addition to the honor, Gretchen will receive a cash award in the amount of $1200 and her name will be inscribed on our Robert W. Rice Memorial Award Plaque. Her mentor is Dr. Jamie Ostrov. 

The Murray Levine Award for Community Engagement in Psychology

Dr. Murray Levine was a member of the UB Psychology Department from 1968 until 2000.  He was a member of the clinical area and a SUNY Distinguished Service Professor. Murray was among a core group of influential psychologists who helped launch the field of community psychology. This award recognizes original research that is poised to make a significant impact on the community surrounding UB and is sponsored by the generous support of Dr. Robert Fink, a UB alumnus and one of Murray’s former students.

Gabriela Memba.

Graduate Honoree: Gabriela Memba

Gabriela earned this award for her paper titled, “The role of peer victimization in predicting aggression and internalizing problems in early childhood: The moderating effect of emotion Regulation and gender.” This research is grounded a socio-ecological perspective that considers multiple contextual levels such as family (e.g., parenting practices, household chaos), peer relationships, school context, neighborhood/community influences, and larger societal forces (e.g., media). The paper involved school-based data collection in the surrounding Buffalo community, and integrates individual (e.g., emotion regulation, anxiety), family (e.g., socio-economic status), dyadic (e.g., peer victimization), and contextual factors (e.g., school/cohort effects) to understand the deleterious effects of peer victimization on children’s social adjustment. Importantly, Gabriela and her colleagues shared this and other work with local community stakeholders through their outreach efforts to address the problem of peer victimization and bullying and to promote healthy social development. The paper is currently under review at Early Education and Development and will be presented at the upcoming Meeting of the International Society for Research on Aggression. Gabriela, the first recipient of this award, will receive a monetary award of $200. Her mentor is Dr. Jamie Ostrov.

Undergraduate Honoree: Cassondra Lyman

Cass Lyman.

Cass was honored with this award for her countless hours of service to the Psychology Department. Cass served as the President of Psi Chi and was a junior officer before that. She was a member and Vice President of the Undergraduate Psychology Association. She was the President and founder of the Statistics Club. She also served as an Honors College Peer Mentor, a Student Ambassador for the University, and an Undergraduate Teaching Assistant for numerous semesters in the department. She also conducted research in numerous laboratories within the Psychology Department, including those of Drs. Sandra Murray, Leonard Simms, and John Roberts. She is our Department’s Outstanding Graduating Senior and was nominated for a SUNY Chancellor’s Award. Cass is the first undergraduate recipient of the Levine award and she will receive a monetary award of $200.

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: TBA

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.

Honorees: Verenice Ascencio, Destiny Brakey, Leah Emery, Sarah Honeycutt, Kimberly James, Kathleen Paige, Gretchen Perhamus, Elizabeth Rakowski, Allison Scagel, and Hope White

Undergraduate Awards

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.

Cass Lyman.

Honoree: Cassondra Lyman

Cassondra Lyman of Endicott, NY, graduates summa cum laude with a bachelor of science in psychology and a bachelor of arts in statistics. Cass is a Ronald E. McNair Scholar, a University Advanced Honors College Scholar, a member of the Psychology Honors Program and the Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society, and recipient of the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship. She works as an undergraduate researcher in Dr. John Roberts’s lab, serves as President of the UB Psi Chi chapter, and is also a student ambassador for the Department of Psychology. In the fall, Cass will begin her doctoral studies in clinical psychological science.

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. The Honors Program Director is Dr. Wendy Quinton.

2020-2021 Psychology Honors Students

Student Advisor Thesis Title
Sarah Ardalan Dr. Kathy Parks A Correlational Analysis of College Men’s Characteristics and Their Impressions of a Written Social Scenario
Paige Au Dr. Joyce Lacy The Influence of Negative Emotional Arousal on Spatial Pattern Separation
Ariana DeJesus-Rodriguez Dr. Jamie Ostrov The Moderating Role of Anxiety and Emotion Regulation on Associations Between Hyperactivity/impulsivity, Inattention, and the Forms of Aggression in Early Childhood
Mia Forney Dr. Joyce Lacy The Effect of Offender Race/Ethnic Status on Public Determination of 'Appropriate' Sentencing
Jennifer Hogan Dr. Julie Bowker Do Other-Gender Friendships Matter? Examining Other-Gender Friendships as a Moderator of the Associations Between Anxious-Withdrawal and Psychological Outcomes
Christopher Khudari Dr. Katharina Azim Influence of COVID-19 on Middle Eastern and North African International Students: Ethnic Identity and Acculturation
Julia Kiefer Dr. Jamie Ostrov Examining the Moderating Role of Gender and Mediating Role of Anxiety on the Association Between Social Competence and Forms of Aggression in Early Childhood
Bethany Laufer Dr. Jennifer Read Investigating the Association Between College Generational Status and Substance Use
Cassondra Lyman Dr. John Roberts Individual Differences in Engagement in Attributional Thinking and Cognitive Vulnerability to Depression
Ryan O'Donnell Dr. David Shucard The Effects of Working Memory and Perceptual Speed Training on the Reaction Times of Multiple Sclerosis Patients
Dylan Schaefer Dr. Paul Meyer The Therapeutic Efficacy of Ayahuasca, Ketamine, and MDMA: A Meta-Analysis
Mariam Shafik Dr. Marieke van Heugten The Effects of Speaker-Induced Inferences on Novel Word Learning in Adults
Hector Sosa Dr. Lora Park Optimizing the Effectiveness of Role Models by Matching First-Generation Student Status and Revealing Successes and Failures
Stephanie Stewart-Hill Dr. Mark Seery Effects of Awe on Social Power: Dynamics of Power Perception, Responsibility, and Prosocial Behavior
David Vollweiler Dr. Peter Pfordresher The Effects of Music Training on Singing Accuracy, Working Memory, Auditory Imagery, and Pitch Perception
Kyle Zumpano Dr. Ann-Marie Torregrossa Intensity of Bitter Diets and its Effects on the Expression of Salivary Protein

The Marvin Feldman and Walter Cohen Award

Honoree: Stephanie Stewart-Hill

Stephanie Stewart-Hill.

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 $500 monetary 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.

Stephanie's thesis investigated the effects of awe on social power and responsibility for others in two experimental studies. Her work aimed to understand how the powerful could be humbled by exposure to something greater than themselves, whereas the powerless could be empowered by it.  

Psi Chi Year in Review

Psi Chi Graduating Officers

Psi Chi logo.
  • Cassondra Lyman - President
  • Bradley Bedell - Vice President
  • Stephanie Stewart-Hill - Secretary
  • Lauren Chu - Social Media Voice/Graphic Designer


Psi Chi Graduating Seniors

  • Sarah Nicole Ardalan
  • Bradley G Bedell
  • Chloe Marie Bratko
  • Nicholas Paul Calabrese
  • Anthony J Califano
  • Teck Hwee Chew
  • Lauren Chu
  • Shelby Clapp
  • Elizabeth A Collins
  • Shauna Kathleen D'Arcy
  • Ariana Eila DeJesus-Rodriguez
  • Erin Elizabeth Dougherty
  • Maria E Fee
  • Kristin N Fitzpatrick
  • Mia A Forney
  • Lidiya Geurkova
  • Megan Christine Gigliello
  • Amy Gonzalez
  • Lauren Rose Heinzinger
  • Jennifer Rebecca Hogan
  • Mikaela Catherine Holt
  • Jun Wei Hoong
  • Xiaoqi Huang
  • Robyn Denise Hunter
  • Arianna Irizarry
  • Dong Joon Jhang
  • Harie Hadi Khairuddin Bin Joe Harie
  • Cary Judson
  • Christopher Khudari
  • Julia Kiefer
  • Bethany Ann Laufer
  • Toniqua Lawrence
  • Yew Chong Lee
  • Alexandra Nicole Leonard
  • Jason A Lewandowski
  • Shalena Louis
  • Cassondra Mari Lyman
  • May Myo Han
  • May Myo Hein
  • Katelin Emily Mrekva
  • Nichole Perry
  • Jessica Elizabeth Phillips
  • Emily Ryan Porcello
  • Sara Maria Rinehart
  • Kaitlyn Rose Rushton
  • Jumaylha Begum Shamsuthem
  • Brian T Skelton
  • Eun-Ji Esther Song
  • Stephanie Ann Stewart-Hill
  • Andrea Sullivan
  • Serene Serh Ling Tan
  • Tharoob Nikhath
  • Cory James Vicino
  • David J Vollweiler
  • Trung T Vu
  • Yingqi Wang
  • Samantha E Whitman
  • Christina A Whittel
  • Wan Ting Wong
  • Tong Yang
  • Elizabeth Marie Zdyb
  • Zheng Zhang
  • Kangning Zheng

Faculty Awards and Promotions


The SUNY Chancellor's Awards for Excellence are system-level honors conferred to acknowledge and provide system-wide recognition for consistently superior professional achievement and to encourage the ongoing pursuit of excellence.

Sandra Murray.

Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities

Dr. Sandra Murray

The Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities recognizes the work of those who engage actively in scholarly and creative pursuits beyond their teaching responsibilities. Dr. Murray is considered a world-renowed authority on the psychology of intimate or romantic relationships. One colleague notes that in his view, “we can divide relationship science into two eras: before and after Murray’s arrival.” She has developed theoretical models of relationship dynamics credited with forming a cornerstone in social psychology, and psychology more broadly. One of her most important areas of investigation — described by her peers as a “truly seminal line of research” — examines how people use “motivated cognition” to create, bolster and maintain idealized views of their romantic partners and relationships. Dr. Murray’s work has received nearly continuous support during her nearly 25 years at UB, including four grants from the NIH and two from the NSF totaling nearly $3 million. She has published 50 peer-reviewed articles and 16 book chapters, in addition to authoring two books. With an h-index of 40 per Google Scholar, her publications have appeared in the most prestigious journals of both psychology and the sub-field of social psychology, including Psychological Review, Psychological Bulletin, Psychological Science, and the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. She is a fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Society of Experimental Social Psychology, the Society of Personality and Social Psychology, and the Association for Psychological Science.

Wendy Quinton.

Excellence in Teaching

Dr. Wendy Quinton

The Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching honors those who consistently demonstrate superb teaching at the undergraduate, graduate or professional level. Dr. Quinton has taught a remarkable 54 courses over the past nine years, ranging from large introductory courses with hundreds of students to honors-level seminars with only a dozen. Yet, colleagues say, the large and varied course load has never affected her ability to mentor and help students engage with the material while maintaining high standards. Moreover, her mentorship extends beyond students, with many of her peers seeking her help and guidance on teaching methods, student policies and departmental procedures. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Dr. Quinton has remained active in her scholarly pursuits. Her research concerning the experience of international students on campus and in their host countries has appeared in the Journal of Diversity in Higher Education and the International Journal of Intercultural Relations. She has also presented her research at national conferences held by the Midwestern Psychological Association and the National Institute on the Teaching of Psychology. Dr. Quinton’s in-depth knowledge of educational methods has shaped her pedagogy and attributed greatly to her students’ success, her peers note. She has served as director of the Psychology Honors Program since 2008, shepherding students through both the research and graduate application process. Dr. Quinton was awarded the Department of Psychology’s Excellence in Teaching Award for 10 consecutive years — an award based on student votes.

Ajinomoto Award for Young Investigators in Gustation or Oral Chemosensation

Bestowed by the Association for Chemoreception Sciences, the Ajinomoto Award honors an "outstanding junior scientist whose research record provides evidence of excellence and contributions that have had or are likely to have a major impact on research in the field of gustation."

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. 


Joyce Lacy.

Dr. Joyce Lacy

Dr. Lacy was recently promoted to Clinical Associate Professor. She regularly teaches undergraduate courses in Scientific Inquiry, Advanced Research Methods, Neuropsychology, Sport and Exercise Psychology, and Psychology and Law. Her research interests include episodic memory, particularly the processes of pattern separation and completion, that affect how memories for one-time events are encoded and how the brain deals with interference between similar events. 


Mark Seery.

Dr. Mark Seery

Dr. Seery was recently promoted to Professor. He is a member of our Social-Personality area, serving as Area Head. He studies stress and coping, particularly the factors contribute to resilience versus vulnerability to potential stressors. Dr. Seery's research incorporates a range of methodological approaches, including theoretically based psychophysiological measures. 


Other Faculty Awards and Honors

We are also incredibly proud of our faculty who have received recognition in the form of elected office, journal editorship, fellowship in professional societies, and other honors!

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.

Ken DeMarree.
Ericka Nus.
Avery Malone.

Honorees (from left): Dr. Kenneth DeMarree (Faculty), Dr. Ericka Nus (Clinical Faculty), and Avery Malone (Graduate Student Instructor)