Message from the Director

Each student in the Master of Science in Psychological Science program engages the enterprise of discovery through science. Over the course of two years, our students develop their research interests in collaboration with our renowned faculty; deepen their knowledge of specialized topics in psychology; and enhance their analytical skills through advanced quantitative coursework.

The graduating class of 2020 accomplished an impressive array of personal and educational goals. Notably, they communicated original findings through published work and professional presentations and they meaningfully contributed to their research teams and labs. These major achievements reflect their ability to ask innovative questions, design appropriate studies, manage specialized equipment, perform data analysis, critically interpret results, and present findings to broad audiences. Perhaps most importantly, their success reflects their talent for collaboration and problem solving.

It has been my distinct pleasure to meet with our students each week for two years to guide and witness their professional development. They began their master’s education with a sincere interest in a topic of psychology and a desire to acquire the tools of science.

At a time when clear communication, critical thinking, and the ethical pursuit of knowledge is vital to the world’s health, I am proud that our graduates will be among those who possess the tools to contribute solutions through science.

We wish to express our sincere thanks to our graduates and their supportive friends and family.


The Class of 2020:

Ling Lee Chong studied with Professor Diane Beck to examine the similarities and differences between human vision and deep neural networks in solving object recognition problems. Ling Lee will continue working with Dr. Beck in our doctoral program.

Christopher Crawford studied with Professors Benjamin Hankin and Howard Berenbaum to examine how aspects of an individual’s emotional experience—such as emotion regulation, beliefs about emotions, and emotional awareness—both develop and influence psychosocial adjustment across the lifespan. Chris will continue his study of emotion in the doctoral program at the University of California, Berkeley.

Yadong Dai studied with Professor Jake Hinman to examine the neural electrophysiology of freely behaving animals, and studied with Professors Monica Fabiani and Gabriele Gratton to examine the cerebrovascular and cognitive status of aging adults. Yadong will continue working with Professor Hinman in our doctoral program.

Gabrielle R Drong studied with Professor Chris Fraley to examine the relationship between attachment insecurity and the stress people experience following loss.  She also studied with Professor Wendy Heller to examine the impact of virtual reality technology on mental health. Gabby will join the Counseling doctoral program at the University of Illinois in the College of Education.

Siqi Feng studied with Professor Chadly Stern to examine the association of social support, mental health discrimination, and self-harm among transgender individuals, with Professor Dov Cohen to examine culture differences in the effect of essentialist beliefs on attitudes towards sexual minorities, and with Professor Jon Willits to examine gender stereotypes in language use on media. Siqi will continue her studies at Nanyang Technological University (Singapore), Interdisciplinary Graduate Programme.

Grace Goodwin studied with Professors Wendy Heller, Karen Rudolph, and Aron Barbey and examined individual differences in emotional, cognitive, and neural processing in neurotypical adolescents and adults as well as adults with mild traumatic brain injury. Grace will join the clinical doctoral program at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (Neuropsychology track).

Lydia Yuna Jiang studied with Professors Kara Federmeier and Lili Sahakyan and examined the interactions among emotion and memory and their neural underpinnings. Lydia will continue her study of cognitive neuroscience in the doctoral program at the University of Toronto.

Rhyann Leslie Robinson studied with Professor Carla Hunter to examine the protective and risk factors associated with psychological well-being and help-seeking behaviors among ethnic and racial minorities. Rhyann will join the clinical psychology program at the University of Massachusetts—Boston.

Wing Yan Sze studied with Professor Karen Rudolph and examined social sensitivity in youth and gender intensification in friendship values. Wing also studied with Professor Chris Fraley to examine dyadic effects of attachment and relationship functioning. With her advanced training in data analytics, Wing will seek a job in industry.

Daniel Vushaj studied with Professor Joseph Cohen and examined the differential effects of neglect on internalizing and externalizing distress. Daniel will continue his studies at the University of Loyola—Chicago School of Social Work.

John Yi studied with Professor Brent Roberts and conducted research that addressed the question, “What about a person, in college, predicted whether they found a job that fit their values in middle age?” He also examined whether experiencing a better fit with your job changes a person over time.

We wish to acknowledge a valued member of this class, Lucas Zong, who was unable to participate in graduation due to complications arising from the pandemic. Lucas Zong studied with Professor Daniel Newman and conducted research that examined equity sensitivity using an ideal point model.

Congratulations to the class of 2020!


MSPS Graduation 2020