Class of 2023 Celebration

Please join us in celebrating our 2023 graduates and the many accomplishments of members of the Psychology Department this year! 

A Message From Our Chair

Jennifer Read.

Now that spring has finally arrived in Western New York, and as we begin to close out another academic year, we have the opportunity to reflect on all that we together—students, faculty, and staff of the Psychology Department—have to celebrate. This has been a great year for Psychology and for UB. More and more, the campus is feeling “back” from the pandemic, and it’s exciting to once again experience the sense of vibrancy and community that being together in person brings to campus life. Even as we say goodbye to the ‘22-'23 academic year, it’s already exciting to think about what’s in store for the year to come. In the Fall semester several new faculty members will be joining our Department, and there are more hires on the way! These new faculty will help us to continue to build our research, and will enhance our strong commitment to undergraduate and graduate education.

To our graduates: We are so proud of you and what you have achieved, and what we know you are going to achieve in the future. We know that your first couple of years of college were challenging; as the country and world confronted the pandemic, through shutdowns, quarantining, Zoom classes, and eventually, the reopening, you did not give up. You completed your degree and program milestones under extraordinary circumstances. Well done!

On behalf of our entire department, I’d like to thank you for letting us teach you, work with you, and learn from you, and for allowing us to be a part of your UB experience. We congratulate you, our awardees and graduates, for all of your achievements, and we wish you the very best as you embark on this next phase of your career and life.

--Dr. Jennifer Read

On this page:

College of Arts and Sciences Commencement Ceremonies

Friday, May 19
1:00 p.m.

Sunday, May 21
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 #UBclassof2023

Student Awards

Graduate Awards

SUNY Graduate Research Empowering and Accelerating Talent (GREAT) Award

Gretchen Perhamus.

Honoree: Gretchen Perhamus

The SUNY GREAT award provides $5,000 in flexible funds to Gretchen for research expenses, professional development, and supplemental stipend support. Her research applies a developmental psychopathology framework to examine the interplay between affective, social-cognitive, and psychophysiological factors in the development of externalizing problems in youth. This research may directly inform future prevention and intervention efforts targeting youth externalizing problems. Gretchen's mentor is Dr. Jamie Ostrov.

Psychological Association of Western New York (PAWNY) Scholarship

Brittney Greene.

Honoree: Brittney Greene

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 have a particular interest in promoting the importance of racial and ethnic diversity and inclusivity within PAWNY and the broader field of psychology. Along with the honor, the award provides Brittney with $1000 and student membership in PAWNY. Her advisor is Dr. Rebecca Ashare.

The Department of Psychology Bugelski Dissertation Award

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

Rachael Shaw.

Honoree: Rachael Shaw

Rachael received this award for her dissertation research on the effect of alcohol use on expression of consent during sexual encounters in a sample of college women. In addition to the honor, Rachael will receive a monetary award of $2000.  She is mentored by Dr. Jennifer Read. 

Runners-up: Payton Charlton (mentored by Dr. Micheal Dent) and Gabriela Memba (mentored by Dr. Jamie Ostrov) each received a monetary award of $1000.

The Robert W. Rice Memorial Award

The Rice award honors early excellence in scientific research for an empirical paper completed by a graduate student. It is given based on evaluation of scientific work completed by the student during the first three years of graduate training.

Sarah Honeycutt.

Honoree: Sarah Honeycutt

Sarah received the award for an investigation of the role of nicotine in enhancing opioid consumption in the context of punishment. Sarah's 2022 paper, titled “Acute nicotine treatment enhances compulsive-like remifentanil self-administration that persists despite contextual punishment,” was published in Addiction Biology. In addition to the honor, Sarah will receive a cash award of $1,800, and will be recognized on our Robert W. Rice Memorial Award plaque. Her mentor is Dr. Greg Loney. 

Runner-up: Robert Cooper

Robert received the runner-up award for an investigation of the effect of caffeine on sustained attention in adolescents. His 2020 paper titled, “Caffeine enhances sustained attention among adolescents,” was published in Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology. Robert will receive a cash award of $600. He is mentored by Dr. Larry Hawk.

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.

Aria Wiseblatt.

Graduate Honoree: Aria Wiseblatt

Aria received the honor and $500 monetary award for the work encapsulated in her manuscript, “Do risk factors for incapacitated and other sexual assault differ for Black and White college women?”, which is currently under review at Violence and Victims. Much of the research alcohol-involved sexual assault has been done with predominantly White college samples. Aria’s study examined sexual assault risk among Black and White women, with the goal of better understanding unique versus shared socio-contextual risk processes. This work laid the groundwork for ongoing research to further investigate Buffalo-based Black college women’s sexual assault risk. Specifically, Aria is conducting focus groups with Black college women from the greater Buffalo area to better understand their experiences with sexual risk, as well as the ways in which they protect themselves and each other. Overall, this program of research has the potential to inform critical intervention and prevention work to reduce sexual assault risk for an important segment of the Buffalo community. Aria is mentored by Dr. Jennifer Read.

Julian Livingston.

Undergraduate Honoree: Julian Livingston

Julian was honored with this award for his countless hours of service to the UB community. Julian is a Psychology major and a Health and Human Services minor, with an expected May 2025 graduation. He is a McNair Scholar, and has worked as an undergraduate research assistant in two laboratories, including the Stress, Coping, and Prosocial Engagement Lab directed by Dr. Michael Poulin. Julian serves as a UB First-Generation Peer Mentor and as a resident advisor for the gender-inclusive community. In addition, he is an active member of the UB Alliance Community Committee, which works to advocate for, and empower, the LGBTQ+ community at UB, and participated in several community engagement trips, including the UB-sponsored Poverty Alleviation Community Service trip. As a recipient of the Murray Levine Award, Julian will receive $500.

Graduate School Excellence in Teaching Awards for Graduate Teaching Assistants

Kimberly James.

Honoree: Kimberly James

Bestowed by UB's Graduate School and Graduate Student Association, the award recognizes graduate students who demonstrate exceptional performance in the execution of teaching responsibilities, teaching competence, effective mentorship of students, and maintenance of high academic standards and expectations of student performance. Kim has served as a teaching assistant for Introductory Psychology, Psychological Statistics, Abnormal Psychology, and Biopsychology. Her advisor is Dr. Ann-Marie Torregrossa. 

Undergraduate Awards

Marshall Scholarship

Marshall Scholarships provide funding for exceptional American students to study for a postgraduate degree in the United Kingdom. One of the most prestigious scholarships for citizens of the United States, in 2023 only 40 students were chosen nationwide to receive the award from more than 900 applicants.

A headshot of Alexis Harrell.

Honoree: Alexis Harrell

As a Marshall Scholar, Alexis plans to study at the University of Edinburgh to pursue an MSc degree in Narrative Futures: Art, Data, and Society before heading to Goldsmiths, University of London. In these programs, Alexis plans to work toward establishing narrative justice for Black populations via the interdisciplinary study of narratives, art, and data. She also hopes to create artwork that can captialize on psychological processes to reduce anti-Black bias. 

SUNY Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence

The SUNY Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence acknowledges students for outstanding achievements that have demonstrated the integration of SUNY excellence within many aspects of their lives in areas such as academics, leadership, campus involvement, community service, or the arts. It is the highest honor bestowed upon a student by the University.

Annabella Bogart.

Honoree: Annabella Bogart

Annabella Bogart of Amherst, New York, graduates summa cum laude with a 4.0 GPA, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in psychology and law and a minor in philosophy, politics, and economics. While maintaining multiple jobs, Annabella is a College of Arts and Sciences ambassador, alternative break team leader, Freedom of Assembly support team ambassador, Phi Alpha Delta professional chair, and researcher with the Prosecution Project, among many other activities on- and off-campus.

Nicole Guzman.

Honoree: Nicole Guzman

Nicole Guzman of Yonkers, New York, graduates summa cum laude with a 4.0 GPA, earning a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and criminology. Nicole was selected for the Grace W. Capen Academic Award, the Sociology & Criminology Student Spotlight, and is a current member of Psi Chi. She has been a resident advisor, psychology and first-generation peer mentor, and the secretary for the Undergraduate Psychology Association. Nicole also worked at the Alcohol Research Lab and has contributed to the extensive alcohol research field.

A headshot of Alexis Harrell.

Honoree: Alexis Harrell

Alexis Harrell of Albany, NY, graduates summa cum laude with a 4.0 UB GPA, earning a Bachelor of Arts in psychology and sociology. Alexis received the Marshall Scholarship for graduate study in the United Kingdom and was a Humanity in Action Fellow in Poland, where she researched human rights violations. A Presidential and McNair Scholar, she created curricula for first-year computing students to understand racial bias within policing algorithms. Alexis was also the President and research director of UB’s Society and Computing Club.

Jyla Serfino.

Honoree: Jyla Serfino

Jyla Serfino of Rochester, NY graduates summa cum laude with a 3.8 GPA, receiving a Bachelor of Science in psychology and a Bachelor of Arts in political science with a history minor. Jyla is an Honors Scholar and a Presidential Scholar. She is a statistics teaching assistant and has written an honors thesis about redlining in Buffalo. Jyla is the president of the Society and Computing Club, an organization in the School of Engineering. She works as an executive assistant in admissions and volunteers at a local nonprofit.

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.

Alexis Harrell.

Honoree: Alexis Harrell

Along with her stellar academic record and many other accomplishments (see above), Alexis completed summer research programs at Harvard and Tufts University. She spearheaded a narrative photography workshop for adults with Down syndrome to share their stories through images as founder of the Narrative Photography Program at GiGi’s Playhouse Buffalo. Alexis has been a member of Dr. Mark Seery's Social Psychophysiology Laboratory at UB for over two years, and she recently completed an independent Psychology Honors thesis under his advisement that focused on engagement with the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Psychology Honors Program

The Psychology Honors Program enables senior Psychology majors to complete an individual research project (i.e., Honors Thesis) under the supervision of a faculty advisor. Students work on completing their Honors Thesis throughout both the Fall and Spring semesters, then defend it in an oral examination at the end of Spring. This challenging yet highly rewarding experience involves all steps in the research process and prepares students for a wide variety of educational and career opportunities. The Honors Program Director is Dr. Wendy Quinton.

Honors Students 2022-2023 Group Shot.

Back row: Bradley Castiglia, Grayson Smith, Emily Sutton, John Meyer, David Lichte, Alexis Harrell

Front row: Mythili Thamilchelvam, Joame Lissade, Czarina Gutierrez, Omeed Tartak, Pooja Nattu, Taylor Lee

2022-2023 Psychology Honors Students

Student Advisor Thesis Title
Dr. Kenneth DeMarree The Effect of Partisan Bias Under High- and Low- Elaboration Conditions
Dr. Shira Gabriel The Power of Group Singing: Exploring the Relationship Between Collective Effervescence and Positive Outcomes
Dr. Mark Seery The Black Lives Matter Movement: Influence of Cognitive Load and Implicit Attitudes on Supporters’ Engagement
Taylor Lee Dr. Kenneth DeMarree The Effects of Interaction Goals on Disagreements
David Lichte
Dr. Gregory Loney Nicotine Administration Increases Appetitive and Consummatory Behaviors for Opioids in the Seeking-Taking Chain and Enhances Punishment Resistance
Joame Lissade Dr. Kathleen Parks Associations Between Risk Behaviors, Parental Attachment, and Female College Students Experiences with Sexual Assault
Dr. Julie Bowker Two’s Company, Three’s a Crowd: Examining the Associations Between Triadic Friendship Involvement and Psychological Outcomes During Early Adolescence
Dr. Paul Meyer The Effects of the Circadian Neurohormone Melatonin on the Response to Cocaine and Pavlovian Food Cues
Dr. Mark Seery Multiple Group Identities: The Effect of Winning Versus Losing and Undesirable Group Attributes on Attitudes Towards Groups
Dr. Kenneth DeMarree The Addition of Desired Attitudes as a Predictor Variable in the Theory of Planned Behavior: An Examination Using Help-seeking Intentions
Dr. Len Simms CAT-PD and MMPI-3 Validity Scales Detect Simulated Overreporting and Underreporting
Mythili Thamilchelvam Dr. Tim Pruitt Is There an Association Between Emotional Intelligence (EI), Auditory Emotion Recognition, and Pitch Imitation?

The Marvin Feldman and Walter Cohen Award

Alexis Harrell.

Honoree: Alexis Harrell

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 and faculty advisor.

Alexis's thesis, supervised by Dr. Mark Seery, investigated two seemingly extraneous factors--cognitive load and implicit attitudes about crowds--that may lead Black Lives Matter supporters to disengage from the movement. Results revealed that participants with negative implicit crowd attitudes were less likely to want to behaviorally engage with Black Lives Matter when under high cognitive load versus low cognitive load. This pattern was not found for approach motivation or information consumption. Overall, this study provides insights into factors influencing social movement participation. In addition to the honor, Alexis will receive a monetary award of $500.  

Runner-up: Mythili Thamilchelvam

Mythili's project, supervised by Dr. Tim Pruitt, examined the relationship between emotional intelligence, auditory emotion recognition, and pitch imitation. As the runner-up, she will receive a monetary award of $250.

Psi Chi, The International Honor Society in Psychology

Psi Chi was founded in 1929 to encourage, stimulate and maintain excellence in scholarship and advance the science of psychology. Membership in Psi Chi is an earned lifetime honor. UB's Psi Chi chapter is student run and advised by Dr. Joyce Lacy. 

Psi Chi logo.

Psi Chi Graduating Officers

  • President: Faith Gallivan
  • Vice President: David Lichte
  • Secretary: Pooja Nattu
  • Social Media Voice / Graphic Designer: Hayley Feibel


Psi Chi Graduating Seniors

  • Layla Aharoni
  • Sari Hope Arrow
  • Maya Mazal Berman
  • Gabriela Vittoria Bonura
  • Justeen Browne
  • Irena Jingyi Cao
  • Nathan I. Carr
  • Annalise C Casciano
  • Bradley Castiglia
  • Anthony Qi Chen
  • Emma Margaret Covillon
  • Sara A. Cruz
  • Nicole Culmone
  • Alexandria Rose DeClemente
  • Samantha G. Deppe
  • Katherine Chiara Drake
  • Tibyan S. Elzain
  • Zuriel Enoe
  • . Evelyn
  • Hayley Sandra Feibel
  • Brittany Fenton
  • Faith Sheehan Gallivan
  • Emma Catherine Gandolfi
  • Ting Wei Goh
  • Kshirja Govind
  • Nicole Margarita Guzman
  • Maisarah Isabella Binte Hamizan
  • Alexis K. Harrell
  • Lance Cartier Hill
  • Diyana Binti Hirman
  • Kayleigh Maria Howard
  • Sincere Irving Murphy
  • Kristin M. Jason
  • Lauren E. Karas
  • Rachel Jieun Kil
  • Kaylie Ann Kress
  • Dominick Wei Xiong Kua
  • Lydia D. Lanski
  • Taylor J. Lee
  • Emily N. Letourneau
  • David D. Lichte
  • Yueqian Lin
  • Zhi Xu Ling
  • Maria G. Lobalsamo
  • Aniksha Malik
  • Ryan C. Meller Jr
  • Gabrielle J Merlo
  • Pooja Nattu
  • Ava O'Hara
  • Angelina M. Pacholczak
  • Aditi Patel
  • Madison Pelonero
  • Sunshine Ella Peña
  • Jessica Marie Rogers
  • Brooke M. Romania
  • Michaela C. Rumley
  • Averi Alexis Saulter
  • Alex Jeremy Seligson
  • Grayson W. Smith
  • Abigail Cristen Swiger-Burghardt
  • Li Jie Tan
  • Omeed A. Tartak
  • Darrell Dickson Teck Seng Tay
  • Trinity R. Taylor-Hilton
  • Agnes Tong
  • Grace VanHouten
  • Sarah Ann Vicari
  • Krista Dana Willard
  • Xinyi Zheng

Faculty Awards and Promotions

Guggenheim Fellowship and Harvard Radcliffe Institute Fellowship

Eduardo Mercado.

Dr. Eduardo Mercado

Guggenheim Fellowships are award to mid-career individuals who have demonstrated exceptional creativity or productive scholarship. Since its establishment in 1925 by Simon and Olga Guggenheim, the foundation has annually awarded grants to over 18,000 individuals totaling nearly $400 million. Dr. Mercado is one of only 171 American and Canadian scientists, scholars, writers, and artists selected for 2023 Guggenheim fellowships from among roughly 2,500 applicants. His project will analyze how humpback whales adjust their songs in response to their surroundings, work that radically contradicts the prevailing hypothesis suggesting why whales sing. The findings will be published in a forthcoming book describing how singers’ capacity to flexibly produce sounds and adapt to new experiences (through brain plasticity) enable whales to create such impressive songs.

In addition to the Guggenheim Fellowship, Dr. Mercado has also been selected as a Harvard Radcliffe Institute Fellow for the upcoming year. The Radcliffe Fellowship Program awards only 50 fellowships each academic year. Radcliffe fellows are selected among exceptional scientists, writers, scholars, public intellectuals, practitioners, and artists whose work is making a difference in their professional fields and in the larger world.  


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.

Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities

Jennifer Read.

Dr. Jennifer Read

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. Read is a leading international expert on the etiology of and intervention for hazardous alcohol and other substance use among emerging adults. Her research has focused on and made sustained novel contributions in the area of individual and contextual determinants of substance use using a variety of methods (e.g., laboratory studies, correlational designs, and psychophysiology). Dr. Read’s work focuses on the intersection of trauma and posttraumatic stress symptoms with alcohol and other drugs. Her programmatic and highly impactful work has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) during her two decades at UB. This work includes over 10 NIH grants as a principal investigator and 10 others as a co-investigator, and represents more than $16 million in external grant support. In addition, Dr. Read has mentored numerous students who have secured prestigious NIH-supported pre-doctoral fellowships to conduct their independent research. She received prior recognition for her role as a stellar research mentor. To date, Dr. Read has published over 145 peer-reviewed manuscripts, has an h-index of 57, and her publications have consistently appeared in the most prestigious journals in clinical psychology, including Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, and Psychology of Addictive Behaviors. Dr. Read is a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, has been an editor or associate editor at numerous journals, served as the Chair of a NIH Study Section, served as Area Head/Director of Clinical Training, and is current Chair of the Department of Psychology.

Excellence in Faculty Service

Dr. Joyce Lacy.

Dr. Joyce Lacy

The Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service recognizes the consistently superior service contributions of full-time teaching faculty. This service must be sustained over multiple years. Dr. Lacy was honored for her impactful work as diversity officer and Chair/co-Chair of the Psychology Department’s Equity and Inclusion Committee, founder and director of the Western New York Psychology Undergraduate Conference, faculty advisor for Psi Chi—The International Honor Society in Psychology, coordinator of UB Psychology’s internships program, and as a key member of the team that promotes and supports UB’s undergraduate program in psychology. Dr. Lacy’s leadership of the Equity and Inclusion Committee has resulted in a new grant program to fund student activities, multi-year speaker series, active recruitment of psychology scholars for UB’s Visiting Future Faculty (VITAL) program, and a host of other activities geared toward promoting inclusivity. The undergraduate psychology conference she founded and directs welcomes students and faculty from western New York and the surrounding area for a day of presentations, poster sessions, and networking, all in the service of undergraduate development. Dr. Lacy’s work as the Psi Chi faculty advisor for the past 7+ years has resulted in a 35% increase in UB undergraduate members in the international honor society and multiple “Psi Chi Model Chapter” awards. Her work reviving the Psychology Department’s undergraduate internships program has resulted in explosive growth of student participation, helping prepare students for employment and education beyond UB. As a member of UB’s undergraduate psychology team, Dr. Lacy has been an indefatigable champion for students, participating in recruitment events (often at night and on weekends), serving on undergraduate committees and panels, leading workshops, and regularly attending commencement.

UB Exceptional Scholar - Sustained Achievement Award

The UB Exceptional Scholar Award for Sustained Achievement honors outstanding professional achievement that has been focused on a particular body of work over a number of years. It recognizes an unprecedented accomplishment in a senior scholar's career, distinguishing a body of work of enduring importance that has gone beyond the norm in a particular field of study.

Larry Hawk.

Dr. Larry Hawk

Dr. Hawk's research focuses on behavioral health and understanding and treating tobacco/nicotine use — namely cigarette smoking and vaping of e-cigarettes. His laboratory and clinical studies are integrated, with the former helping to characterize potential targets for intervention, and the latter both testing ways to improve treatment and seeking to identify the mechanisms by which those treatments work.


Shira Gabriel.

Dr. Shira Gabriel

Dr. Gabriel was promoted to Professor in 2022. A member of our Social-Personality area, her work examines the social nature of the self. In particular, Dr. Gabriel's work focuses on social surrogacy (i.e., the tendency for humans to form psychological relationships with non-human entities), the social functions of the self, the need to belong, and how our relationships shape our feelings about ourselves (and vice versa). 


Wendy Quinton.

Dr. Wendy Quinton

Dr. Quinton was promoted to Clinical Professor in 2022. She teaches core courses in the undergraduate curriculum (e.g., Introductory Psychology, Scientific Inquiry, Social Psychology, History of Psychology, and the Honors Seminar) and directs the Psychology Honors Program. Dr. Quinton's work centers on the self, prejudice and discrimination, social identity, and stress and coping, often within the higher education context.


Len Simms.

Dr. Len Simms

Dr. Simms, a member of our Clinical area, was promoted to Professor in 2022. His work broadly focuses on personality theory and the measurement of personality and psychopathology. Specifically, Dr. Simms investigates the phenotypic description and structure of personality and psychopathology, especially as related to personality pathology and the mood and anxiety disorders, and seeks to evaluate and improve psychological assessment tools.  

Department of Psychology 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.

Shira Gabriel.
Janine Boland.
Abigail Cheeseman.

Honorees (from left): Dr. Shira Gabriel (Faculty), Dr. Janine Boland (Adjunct Instructor), and Abigail Cheesman (Graduate Student Instructor)

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!