Department Awards

Graduate Student Awards


Department of Psychology Diversity Award

Jaki Yi

The Department of Psychology Diversity Award was established to recognize outstanding graduate students engaged in research that contributes to the better understanding of psychological topics related to diversity science and action, broadly defined. 

Ms. Yi’s program of research has blazed new trails in the psychological literature on Asian American populations; she examines (a) Asian American activism, (b) diversity within Asian American populations, and (c) the role of the Model Minority Myth (MMM) in the lived experience of Asian Americans. Ms. Yi’s efforts also aim to increase visibility of diversity science research. She has presented at national conferences and has served in a leadership position in the Asian American Psychological Association’s Division on Students Executive Board for the last two years. In this role she created and moderated webinars for undergraduate and graduate students such as “Being an Asian American Activist in Academia,” and has led efforts to create “Student Spotlights” social media posts. Ms. Yi has also conducted research and assessment of first-year student diversity workshops on campus, writing reports to shape this work. Ms. Yi’s effort to advance diversity science have been exemplary. 


Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching

Emily Blevins

The Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching by a Graduate Instructor Award was established by the department as a means to reward those graduate students in Psychology who have exhibited excellence as a teacher in the classroom. An application is also submitted to LAS for consideration in the campus-wide competition for this same award.

Ms. Blevins distinguished herself among a very strong group of graduate student instructors in the Department of Psychology as a truly outstanding instructor, having made strong contributions to undergraduate education in the classroom and beyond.  In addition to receiving stellar course evaluations from students in three different courses, Ms. Blevins has mentored a long list of undergraduate research assistants and successfully advocated to reduce bias in campus-wide teaching evaluations.  Through her instruction Ms. Blevins demonstrated exceptional dedication to student development, meeting students where they are, recognizing their strengths, and collaborating with them to build on their strengths to enhance their learning.  Ms. Blevins sets high expectations and provides the scaffolding and support students need to meet these expectations.  She invests enormous time and effort getting to know her students and to personalize her engagement with them based on their developmental and personal goals.  She devotes herself to creating an inclusive classroom environment where students of all backgrounds and social identities feel valued and can thrive, expertly using dialogue and project-based teamwork to create a strong sense of community in the classroom.  Ms. Blevins exceptional contributions to undergraduate education make her richly deserving of this award.


Sarah C. Mangelsdorf Award

This award is designed to honor each year an outstanding woman graduate student in Psychology.  The awardee should be someone who has exhibited excellence in both research/scholarship and teaching, and who has shown the potential to be an academic leader. This award was given to two exceptional students in 2021:

Kathryn Kemp

Ms. Kemp has amassed a truly exceptional scholarly record with eleven publications (and three more under review) in leading journals with a high rates of citations, unusual and quite impressive at such an early stage of career. Ms. Kemp’s program of research focuses on the conceptualization, assessment, and validation of a multidimensional model of schizotypy that includes positive, negative, and disorganized dimensions. In addition to her robust research record, Ms. Kemp is a strong clinician and teacher. She is devoted to her supervision of undergraduate research assistants providing mentorship and modeling for those who wish to pursue careers in psychology She is also an accomplished instructor with multiple recognitions on the list for Excellence in Teaching by a Teaching Assistant based on student ratings of her courses. Ms. Kemp is also an excellent citizen of her graduate program and department. She never hesitates to volunteer and has been instrumental in support admissions and recruitment for years. On all fronts, Ms. Kemp excels in all facets of her graduate study and is well on her way to becoming an academic leader.


Emily Blevins

Ms. Blevins has an excellent emerging program of research with multiple publications and many first-authored papers in in preparation. Her research examines understanding attitudes and emotions about race and how they relate to anti-racist or racist behaviors. Ms. Blevins is also an exceptional instructor. She has appeared repeatedly on the list for Excellence in Teaching by a Teaching Assistant, and has been awarded for her teaching at every level by prestigious teaching awards (Psychology Department Award for Excellence in Teaching, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for Excellence in Teaching, and Campus Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching). In addition, she has supervised multiple undergraduate research assistant fostering a collaborative culture and coaching in professional development. Ms. Blevins has also been devoted to applied work and creating change to advance diversity, equity and inclusion. Notably, when Ms. Blevins noticed a statement that discounted bias in teaching evaluations on a university website, she took action. Ultimately, working with department and campus leadership, the problematic language was removed from the site and the Provost pursued an independent review of campus practices in teaching evaluations. Ms. Blevin’s actions stimulated transformative change that will influence teaching evaluation practice for decades to come. Ms. Blevins has clearly demonstrated her potential as an academic leader.


Nancy Hirschberg Award

Tianjun Sun

Nancy Hirschberg was a member of the Psychology Department here in Champaign from 1964 until 1976, when she joined the psychology faculty at the U of I Chicago campus. Shortly after her death in February 1979, her friends and colleagues at both campuses met to establish the Nancy Hirschberg Memorial Fund to create a living remembrance with the hope that her memory will serve to encourage others to attain their full potential. The award is presented annually to a psychology graduate student who has exhibited outstanding performance in the past year in research or scholarship in areas related to Professor Hirschberg (i.e. individual differences, personality, human judgment, and multivariate analysis).

Ms. Sun exemplifies the qualities of research prized by the Nancy Hirschberg Memorial award. Ms. Sun is an extremely talented young scholar. Across studies, Ms. Sun employs advanced multivariate statistical and analytical methods, and integrate different research areas to communicate ideas across disciplines. In the area of Industrial Organizational Psychology her research has informed complex measurement issues including, for example, rating scale errors (severity error, leniency error, central tendency error, halo, etc.). Ms. Sun brought a new perspective to the study of these issues and had the insight that the tendency to endorse the midpoint of a rating scale might reflect a stable individual difference trait rather than simply being error. For this work she received the 2019 Sage Publication/ AOM Research Methods Division Best Student Paper Award. An extended version of this paper is now being prepared for review at the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. In another recent paper, Ms. Sun addressed faking and investigated the utility of an item response tree process model to identify fakers (Sun, Zhang, Cao, & Drasgow, Organizational Research Methods, 2021). Her detection rates were higher than usually seen with “fake good” scales and other detection methods. In her dissertation research, Ms. Sun is aiming to connect the fields of machine learning and natural language processing in her Ph.D. research. Across studies, Ms. Sun is engaged in sophisticated conceptual and methodological innovation to advance her field.


Frederick & Ruby Kanfer Award

Nate Eckland

Professor Frederick H. Kanfer was a member of the Psychology Department from 1973 until 1995, and an emeritus professor still contributing to the department until his death in 2002. The Kanfer family has established the Frederick & Ruby Kanfer Award to honor his legacy as a pioneering scholar in clinical psychology. Professor Kanfer was committed to furthering the science of clinical-community psychology by emphasizing the close and reciprocal relationship between basic science and clinical practice. The Kanfer Award is presented each year to a graduate student whose work in the field of clinical-community psychology best exemplifies the ideals of Professor Kanfer: research, scholarship, and service aimed at improving the psychological lives of all individuals.

Nate’s integration of science and teaching, with the goal of improving people’s lives, exemplify the ideals of the Fred Kanfer award.  Nate’s letter writer, Dr. Howard Berenbaum stated, “…Nate’s research and clinical work not only inform one another, but they are intricately intertwined–he uses his science skills when he is engaged in clinical work and he uses his clinical skills and experiences as he plans, conducts, and writes up his research. Nate is doing exactly what the late Fred Kanfer tried to encourage. And he is doing so in spectacular fashion.”  

Nate’s accomplishments in research and practice are the reasons why Nate was chosen to receive this award.


Ed  Scheiderer Award

Jaki Yi

The Ed Scheiderer memorial fund was established in 1979 to recognize outstanding research or scholarship by a Clinical/ Community Psychology student. Ed was a clinical student in this program from 1969-1974. Upon his death, his family and friends set up the Ed Scheiderer Memorial Research Award.

Jaki was nominated for the Herman Eisen award for her first-authored paper, entitled “Internalized model minority myth among Asian Americans: Links to Anti-Black Attitudes and Opposition to Affirmative Action.”  Dr. Nathan Todd, Jaki’s recommender stated “…in this research Jaki also draws out implications not only for future research, but for psychologists and diversity educators seeking to decrease anti-Black attitudes and to increase sociopolitical awareness.  In particular, Jaki notes the need for Asian American college students to have opportunities to learn about structural racism and to challenge the MMM.  These implications chart a path forward to build on the strengths of the Asian American community, and to push back against a system of whiteness that pits racial minority groups against each other.” Jaki is highly deserving of this award.   


Herman Eisen Award

Hena Thakur

This award is in honor of Herman Eisen who served as an adjunct professor in the Clinical/Community Program and who worked actively to develop the resources needed to meet the mental health needs of this community. The award was made possible by the trustees of the Herman Eisen Memorial Fund. It is given to a graduate student in Clinical/Community Psychology who exemplifies the spirit and values of Herman Eisen through commitment and contribution to the practice of psychology. Clinical skills, sensitivity, perception and optimism for change in individual and social lives are the criteria used to select the recipient of the award.

Dr. Amy Cohen and Dr. Joseph Cohen nominated Hena because she is committed to improving the welfare of children and adolescents living in the Urbana-Champaign community and her belief that a deficits focused model may not be the best prism for understanding the needs and strengths of trauma-exposed youth. Hena’s clinical skills, her devotion to the community, and service to her colleagues and the institution embody the essence of the Eisen Award.   


Graduate Award for Excellence in Psychological Science

Jae Wan Choi

The Graduate Award for Excellence in Psychological Science is awarded to a graduating MSPS student who exhibits outstanding achievement in academics, research collaboration and scholarship, and notable achievement in his/her professional development through his/her ethics, scholarly writing, public speaking, and department citizenship.

Mr. Choi is an exemplary student in the MSPS program. He is graduating with emerging expertise in developmental psychology and translational science. Mr. Choi challenged himself with some of the most difficult graduate courses offered. As a member of his research team, he engaged in the laborious and meticulous cleaning of heart rate variability, impedance, and galvanic skin conductance data. His advisor, Dr. Joseph Cohen noted that “without Jae Wan’s commitment to the project and learning this methodology, we would not have access to over 100 undergraduate students who participated in a stress and reward task.” In addition, Mr. Choi played a central role in moving data collection online and worked very hard to successfully retain 80% of the 584 adolescents recruited for the research. This was a testimony to his outstanding work ethic and his ability to connect with families. In every area of the MSPS program, Mr. Choi has been exemplary.


Sandra Goss-Lucas Award

Ed Clint

This award was created to honor an instructor who demonstrates excellence in teaching Introductory Psychology. The criteria for this award include:  creating positive learning outcomes for undergraduate students, creativity in developing learning materials, mentoring of new graduate student instructors, and significant contributions to the course. The recipient is chosen annually by the course director.

It is always difficult to choose which of the many talented, dedicated and hard-working Psych 100 instructors to recognize with the Goss-Lucas award. But Ed Clint stands out for his exceptional contributions to the course during the two semesters he taught. Coincidentally, these semesters were Spring ’20 and Fall ’21, two of the most challenging semesters for teaching in recent memory. Ed’s easygoing, humorous teaching style, combined with an enthusiastic and rigorous approach to the content, made him a student favorite. Ed made learning about psychology intellectually stimulating and fun for the 200 students in his classes. In addition, Ed’s creative streak and his talent for thinking about what students enjoy, lead him to invest his time in the development of new interactive review games shared across the entire course. Students for many semesters to come will enjoy the fruits of his labor. Ed also contributed enormously to the transition of Psych 100 to online mode for Fall ’20. He volunteered to help prepare for the transition to online instruction during the summer. During Fall ’20, Ed came to the rescue many times by sharing his Moodle expertise. He also consulted on and improved the course-wide materials we used for Zoom sessions. Ed is highly deserving of recognition for his exceptional, one could even say essential, contributions to Psychology 100 during this difficult time.



Undergraduate Student Awards


Janet Tritsch Award

Laura Hernández 

The Janet Tritsch Memorial Award is a symbol of excellence for undergraduate psychology research at the University. The award was established in 1975 by the family and friends of Janet Tritsch who as an undergraduate was active in psychology research. The award is given to the undergraduate student majoring in psychology who submits the most outstanding research paper.

Laura's nominator stated that it was an honor and a pleasure to nominate Laura Hernández for the Janet Tritsch Memorial Award. Laura is an outstanding scholar who has been engaged in research all four years they have been enrolled at UIUC. Their project was the most sophisticated and well executed undergraduate thesis the nominator had ever mentored. Laura has become a leader in the lab and is already working at the level of a graduate researcher. They truly embody the best qualities of UIUC undergraduate student researchers!


Julie Sutton-Osgood Award

Carmensa Remolina

The Julie Sutton-Osgood Award in Psychology was established in 2008 by family and friends in memory of Sutton-Osgood whose career goal was to become a practicing physician. Sutton-Osgood trained as an emergency medical technician (EMT) and worked summers for an ambulance company while enrolled as a psychology student at Illinois. After graduation she completed a paramedic course and worked for Superior Ambulance Company and became their EMS coordinator through Christ Hospital and Hope Children’s Hospital. She attended physician assistant school while she continued to work full-time. Sutton-Osgood fulfilled her goal to become a licensed Physician’s Assistant. This award is intended to help students realize their dream of becoming either a physician or another type of medical practitioner.

Although a bit apprehensive at the start of her academic career, Carmensa demonstrated that she truly belongs at the University of Illinois. Carmensa thrived at her smaller and socio-economically challenged high school and had concerns about competing at this world-renowned institution. But her work ethic, her devotion to serving others, and her academic curiosity allowed Carmensa to excel in her pre-medicine curriculum and her double major in Molecular/Cellular Biology and Psychology.

But academics has not defined Carmensa. She continues to be a model student by giving of her time as a tutor, mentor, and facilitator. How she was able to find time to for these extracurricular activities while maintaining her strong academics is known only to her. Whatever that secret to success is, we are confident that Carmensa Remolina will continue to prosper in the future and proudly represent the ideals of the Julie Sutton-Osgood Award.



Program Awards for Outstanding Undergraduate Students


 Attention and Perception

Zuhan Lin, Charles Eriksen Award

Zuhan Lin did research in the Vision Lab, working with Simona Buetti and Alejandro Lleras. Zuhan was a very active member of the lab for several years. For her project, Zuhan investigated whether the information that guides our attention during parallel examination of scenes resides in working memory or in other memory stores like activated long term memory. She will be presenting the results from her work at this year's international conference in Vision Science. Zuhan plans to continue doing research while earning her Masters in the world renowned Computer Science Department, here at the University of Illinois.


Zhengyu Li, Christopher Wickens Award

Zhengyu Li is a double major in Psychology and Computer Science.  He has been working in Prof. Diane Beck's lab for the past year bringing together his two interests in human behavior and computer vision. He has been comparing the performance of humans and state-of-the art deep neural nets to highlight both the differences and commonalities between humans and machines, in the hope of using those differences to improve computer vision.  In his senior thesis, he found that both humans and three different deep convolutional neural nets show similar advantages for highly representative exemplars of scene categories compared to less representative exemplars.  These data suggest a common underlying sensitivity to statistical regularity in both humans and deep nets. In the Fall, he will join the Master's program in Computer Science here at the University of Illinois. 



Behavioral Neuroscience

Brynn NoonanKarl Lashley Award

Brynn Noonan is this year’s recipient of the Behavioral Neuroscience Division’s Karl S. Lashley Award. Brynn has been involved in a collaborative study from the Gulley and Liang Labs that is focused on the effects of adolescent polysubstance use in a rodent model of alcohol and cannabis exposure. Her work thus far has focused mostly on a behavioral test that assesses the animals' working memory following repeated drug exposure. She plans to continue these studies over the next several months, as well as expand her role as a research technician in the Gulley Lab. Brynn’s long-term plans are to continue developing research skills so that she is prepared for entering a Behavioral Neuroscience doctoral program in Fall 2022.



Clinical/Community Psychology

Semira AberaCommunity Action Award

In Dr. Todd’s nomination he stated, “Semira has engaged critically with research related to social justice and has demonstrated an aptitude for diversity science, a critical reflection with social justice topics, and a hope to identify actionable steps to lead to a more just society. Her passion, engagement, and leadership have elevated our lab’s work and have allowed us to think more deeply about how to promote community wellbeing.” The awards committee agreed that Semira Abera's involvement with underserved populations and genuine passion for community psychology research and action exemplify the principles of the Community Action Award. 


Laura HernándezOutstanding Clinical-Community Science Undergraduate

Dr. Tom Kwapil nominated Laura for the award and stated, They are "an outstanding student" and appears well on their way to "developing into a talented and productive scholar". Simply put, Laura Hernández is one of the top undergraduate researchers they have had the pleasure to mentor and were happy to give them the highest recommendation for this award.  The awards committee agreed that Laura’s contributions to research and their outstanding record exemplify the principles of scholarship in Clinical-Community Psychology.  



Cognitive Neuroscience

The Coles Award was instituted by the Cognitive Neuroscience Program Area to honor the many contribution of Prof. Michael G. H. Coles to our Department.  Prof. Coles has been a faculty in our Department for more than 30 years.  He is most famous for his pioneering work in the area of Cognitive Psychophysiology, even before the term Cognitive Neuroscience became popular.  Prof. Coles’s most important contributions are in the development of brain measures  and theories to understand how psychological processes, both cognitive and emotional, are implemented in the brain.   He was also for many years in charge of the Psychology Honors Program, thus contributing to the initiation to research of a large number of undergraduates during his tenure here at Illinois.  It is therefore very fitting to honor his career work by rewarding young investigators who are just starting their contribution to research in cognitive neuroscience.  The recipient of this award has been chosen by the Cognitive Neuroscience program area for showing strong intellectual abilities, dedication, and enthusiasm for research in cognitive neuroscience while an undergraduate here at the University of Illinois.  It is a great pleasure to announce the name of this years’ winner of this award:

Julia Radu, Michael Coles Award

Julia reached out to the Dolcos Lab in the summer of 2020, and ever since she has demonstrated her unusual reliability, intelligence, and work ethic. Julia is arguably one the most enthusiastic and motivated junior research assistants of the Dolcos Lab, at UIUC! She has been primarily involved in a project investigating how individuals react to others’ behavior in different moral dilemma scenarios, spearheaded by Beckman Graduate Fellow Paul Bogdan. Julia has been a great, tireless help for this and other projects in the Dolcos lab, while also finding great success in classwork and internships over the school year. She will continue working at the Beckman Institute, as an Erik Haferkamp Memorial Award Fellow, and is committed to follow an academic career path after graduation.


Gillian Ho, Michael Coles Award

Gillian joined the Dolcos Lab as an undergraduate research assistant in August 2020, and soon gained experience in various aspects of research, from data collection to analysis and report. She has mainly worked on a project examining the impact of a novel emotion regulation training program on well-being and brain activity, which was also the basis for her bachelor’s thesis. Gillian’s thesis is among the strongest of all UG theses in the Dolcos Lab in the last 10 years, and as a result she has graduated with Distinction in Psychology. These accomplishments would not have been possible without her incredibly strong motivation, dedication, and work ethic! Gillian plans to gain additional research experience in cognitive neuroscience in preparation for her application for graduate school.



Cognitive Psychology

Sarah MatatovCharles Osgood Award

Charles Osgood, for whom this award was named, was a Psychology Professor at the University of Illinois known for his fascination with words and their meanings. It is thus very fitting that this year’s award goes to Sarah Matatov, who, for the last year and half, has also been studying words and their meanings in the Cognition and Brain lab, working with Kara Federmeier and Emily Mech. Sarah combines intelligence and indefatigable curiosity with an impressive aptitude for finding the best solutions for a problem. In her role as a research assistant, Sarah has engaged with the theory and methodology involved in human electrophysiology experiments, learned to program in multiple coding languages, and helped with experimental design, stimulus creation, and data analysis. In each of these domains, Sarah has proven to be a terrific asset to the lab. For example, testing participants in electrophysiological paradigms is a complicated process that requires close attention to detail, and Sarah excelled at it. She not only quickly mastered the protocol but demonstrated her commitment to thoroughly understanding the work that she was engaged with, learning the reasoning behind the protocol, as well as how to interpret the data, and how to think about the data within the broader literature. Additionally, in her remote work, Sarah has displayed a remarkable work ethic and has contributed in coding scripts and analyses – often learning and improving the process at the same time. Sarah combines a love of learning with a willingness to put in the time and effort to obtain the skills necessary to follow the questions that motivate her wherever they may lead. It is a delight to be able to recognize her with this award.


Mengqian WuOutstanding Undergraduate Student Award

Mengqian Wu has been working in the Learning and Language lab since the summer of 2020. She soon distinguished herself as one of the most competent and intellectually curious research assistants in the lab. One of Ms. Wu’s first duties was to transcribe and annotate audio recordings of caregivers and children interacting in naturalistic contexts. Ms. Wu excelled at this task and became genuinely interested in the research topic and the computational methods we use to analyze the final transcripts. This interest led to her completing an honors thesis. Her thesis was truly an independent research project. Ms. Wu wrote her own Python code to analyze the written transcripts, and contributed to all aspects of the project, from conceptualization to writing code, to analyzing data. Her name will appear on the subsequent publication. In addition to being a strong researcher, Ms. Wu is an excellent team player and a mentor to other undergraduate students. She has been a valuable resource for new RAs as they learn the audio transcribing and the annotating system and is happy to share her coding expertise with other RAs as they write their own R or Python code for data analysis.



Developmental Psychology

Janice Ng, McViker Hunt Award

Janice’s research focuses on understanding how Chinese and American culture shapes children via parents’ socialization practices. Janice’s interest in this topic began in high school when she saw an article about the book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. Although Janice has many strengths, four stand out as particularly defining. First, is her enthusiasm for psychology. Janice is often excited by theory and research she encounters, which sparks novel ideas she further develops through reading and conversations. Second, is Janice’s curiosity. She is never at a loss for questions about children’s psychological development, whether it be after reading a paper, listening to someone give a talk, or observing a pattern of behavior. Third, Janice is persistent. Despite the challenges research can present, she keeps working with much attention to feedback that helps her to improve. Fourth, Janice is a team player. She is a wonderful colleague, mentor, and friend who is always willing to go the extra mile for others. Given these strengths, it is not surprising that Janice has an impressive publication record representing an innovative program of research. We believe she is bound for great things! Congratulations, Janice!


Karis Crook, Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award

Karis first joined research in June of 2019.  She was initially trained as an experimenter, and she impressed her supervisors with her competence, intelligence, and initiative. Her strong work ethic and enthusiastic interest in research led Karris to be offered a role with increased responsibility, and during her third semester, she began training in the role of Action Lab experimenter - a position that requires the ability to juggle many responsibilities with minimal direct supervision.  It was during this semester that the pandemic struck and the lab stopped all in-person research sessions; during that time, Karis was one of the few students who enthusiastically stepped up to help us with remote work.  She has continued working in a remote capacity, with a variety coding projects, and proving to be an invaluable asset as we strive to make progress in the face of unprecedented obstacles. Karis is an A+++ undergraduate research assistant, and will continue working as a research staff member after her graduation in May. Congratulations! 


Rebecca DeAcetis, Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award

Rebecca was nominated for this award for her many contributions to the Infant Cognition Lab. When she joined the lab in August of 2019, Becky was trained as an experimenter in test sessions. Throughout her three semesters in the lab, she demonstrated an unbeatable "can-do" attitude, willing to take on whatever was needed to ensure her shifts ran smoothly.  She switched back and forth between the primary and secondary experimenter roles as the schedule demanded, requiring her to memorize twice as many scripted roles.  She was consistently professional, patient, and pleasant, whether training new undergraduate research assistants, interacting with our young participants and their parents, or alerting supervisors to procedural errors that she had caught during her meticulous session preparations.  She always went above and beyond her assigned duties, and enthusiastically volunteered to take on additional responsibility by assisting in recruitment efforts.  She is an A+++ undergraduate research assistant, and she will undoubtedly have a positive impact on the lives of her clients in her career as a speech therapist. Congratulations!


Michelle Nutlis, Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award

We are delighted to present Michelle Nutlis with the Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award. Quite simply, Michelle is exceptionally capable across the board. She is remarkable intellectually and interpersonally. She works well independently, but is a wonderful team player as well. She is admirably hard working. Michelle was a Research Assistant at the Center for Parent-Child Studies for her entire four years at the University of Illinois. She was involved in practically every aspect of research at the Center. What stands out most is how adept she was at dealing with difficult situations that 
arose with not only the families who took part in research, but also her peers whom she often supervised. In addition, Michelle impressively mastered complex theory and research as well as analytic techniques for her thesis. We know Michelle has the skills and drive to do anything she 
puts her mind to! We are looking forward to seeing what she does next. Congratulations, Michelle!



Quantitative Psychology

Rebecca ChenOutstanding Undergraduate Student Award

This award recognizes Rebecca Chen's outstanding performance in the Honors Individual Study research project with Prof. Susu Zhang. Rebecca is a double major in Psychology and Statistics. Beginning in January 2021, she worked with Dr. Zhang on the application of latent variable models to assessment data in personnel selection contexts. In Spring 2021, Rebecca applied regression and latent variable models to large-scale corporate personnel selection assessment data, to examine their predictability of job performance and fairness implications for different demographic groups. Her presentation on this project received the Outstanding Presentation Award at the 2021 UIUC Undergraduate Research Symposium. Rebecca has continually demonstrated exceptional motivation and self-directed learning skills, as well as solid knowledge in organizational psychology, statistics, and programming.


Shreelakshmi R. Iyer, Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award

The Professor, and the Lecture and Lab TAs recognize undergraduate student Shreelakshmi R. Iyer for her exceptional dedication and diligence in Psychology 235, Introduction to Statistics. Shreelakshmi worked hard, and attended labs, lectures, and office hours even when attendance was optional. She regularly and positively interacted with instructors, always showing an eagerness to learn and open mind. She is a role model for displaying the engagement and work ethics that enable students to succeed in classes at all levels of difficulty.



Social, Personality and Organizational Psychology

Ashley Serna, Ed Diener Award

Ashley has performed exceptionally well as a researcher during her time at Illinois. Her research interests center on alleviating child psychopathology by leveraging the family unit. For her thesis, Ashley analyzed five waves of longitudinal data on child psychopathology and family functioning (i.e., cohesion, conflict, and emotional expressiveness). Using sophisticated statistical models, she was able to document the emergence of a within-person link between the family unit and adolescent mental health. Ashley is excellent representative of the values found in Ed Diener’s work – a passion for improving the well-being of individuals in society which is accomplished empirically by blending the strengths of multiple psychological disciplines.  


Rewo Oshe, Harry Triandis Award

Rewo is an exceptional student.  She has been involved in research and has excelled in her classes, including a graduate seminar in cultural psychology, reflecting an interest in a field pioneered by Harry Triandis (Rewo was the only undergraduate in the course).  She has also been involved in outreach activities related to the research as well as been active in humanitarian causes.  After graduation, Rewo will pursue her PhD in the Clinical-Community Psychology program at Georgia State University. There she plans to investigate some of the relationships between mental and physical health, specifically in individuals who have Sickle Cell Disease. 



Summer Research Award

Sarah CraigPritz Award

The “Michael B. and Edmay Gregorcy Pritz Summer Research Scholarship” is awarded to honors students participating in on-campus research during the summer before their senior year. Preference is given to students with interest in neuroscience.  The inaugural recipient and this year’s winner is Ms. Sarah Craig.  Ms. Craig has worked in the laboratory of Professor Justin Rhodes for over a year.  Receipt of the summer fellowship will allow her to continue her honors research studying clown fish (anemonefish) cell proliferation within the preoptic area of the hypothalamus, an area of the brain that controls reproductive behavior. Clown fish are known to change from male to female depending on their environment. The goal of the research is to explore whether there is a critical period of cell growth in this area during the process of brain feminization. Sarah has made substantial contributions to the Rhodes lab performing histological analysis of the brain and gonads of the fish during sex change from male to female, and in response to endocrine disrupting compounds.  As a result of her intellectual and technical contributions, Sarah is co-author on a paper in the late stages of review in Hormones and Behavior, which is expected to be in press soon.