PSY alumni advisory board
The Department of Psychology inaugural alumni advisory board visiting campus in September 2018. From left: Matt Riesen, Gloria Oliver Carpenter, Maureen Noe, Erika Minnick, Liz Niehaus, Tom Traynor, Stacey Jaffe, Tre Gammage, Dustin Wygant, Michele Grisez
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The Department of Psychology has a multi-faceted mission to:
  • provide significantly to the education of undergraduate students, both majors and non-majors;
  • offer high quality specialized doctoral programs in several areas of psychology;
  • engage in diverse and contemporary research and scholarship that advances the problems; and
  • contribute expertise in service of the department, college, university, discipline, and broader community.
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Welcome from the Chair
Joseph G. Johnson
We started the new academic year at Miami with a number of exciting initiatives and activities. In particular, I am proud to share that we formed the Department of Psychology’s inaugural alumni advisory board this summer and the board members visited the campus in September. The board will help the department in our alumni engagement efforts, provide input on our curriculum to ensure that we remain current and relevant, and assist our students in seeking internship and employment opportunities.
During their visit, the board members attended the psychology open house, presented a panel on careers in psychology for our students, and participated in the board meeting. Stacey Jaffe, ‘03 was nominated and elected as the chair and Erika Minnick, ‘11 was elected the co-chair of the board. The board members will be returning to campus in spring to offer a workshop to psychology majors on professional and employment-related skills.
Earlier this fall, the department participated in the #MoveInMiami fundraiser, a fun, fast-paced fundraising event and raised funds to support graduate student travel to professional conferences and undergraduate student participation in hands-on experiences in behavioral neuroscience. We thank you for contributing to these funds, and hope that you will continue to support these important initiatives.
The department also participated in the Discover the Sciences event hosted by the College of Arts and Sciences for high school seniors interested in pursuing education in science. We were among the 12 departments discussing the undergraduate experience at Miami, including curriculum, research opportunities, and beyond the classroom activities. Three undergraduate students and their mentors showcased their research at this event, talked to prospective students interested in psychology and neuroscience, and provided tours of psychology facilities.
One of the major strengths of our department has been faculty engagement in grant-funded research. This fall, Dr. Allen McConnell and colleagues from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital were awarded funding from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to support research on “Human-animal interaction to promote recovery following pediatric brain injury,” where a multidisciplinary team including psychologists, nurses, physicians, and occupational therapists will study the value of using therapy dogs in rehab efforts involving children suffering from acquired brain injuries. Congratulations, Allen!
To build on these strengths of high quality research and teaching, the department is currently searching for and anticipates hiring two faculty members in social psychology. We are excited to have these new colleagues join the psychology department community.
It has been an energizing start of the academic year and we look forward to continued engagement over the course of the year. Please stay connected with us and look for the spring newsletter next semester. We wish you a happy holiday season.
Joseph G. Johnson
Alumni Spotlight: Chuck Conrad
Chuck Konrad (Miami ‘89) feels that what he loved about psychology is that he could use that degree regardless of what he wanted to do after college.
“Studying human behavior made sense to me,” Konrad said. “Whatever you do is going to have to deal with people.”
Konrad is currently the Director of the Global Technical Recruiting & Military Veterans Program at Palo Alto Networks, cybersecurity company. He also runs global talent acquisition.
“After I got out of school, I realized that I wanted to do something very people-centric,” he said.
Undergraduate Student Spotlight: Kala Allen
Miami alumna Kala Allen still hears her longtime friend’s voice when she does research. Brian committed suicide when Allen was 19.
Four years later, Allen (Miami '16) is now in Nigeria, Africa. The recipient of a coveted Fulbright U.S. Student Program award in psychology, she’s studying cultural differences between Western and developing nations related to suicide and looking for what is common.
In her personal blog, she recently described Brian — “an exceptional athlete, a warm, funny and kind African American man.” He mentored her when she ran track in high school, and his death hurt her.
The grief process didn’t feel right to her. In just three days, it seemed like most people in her community went back to the “normal” way of thinking about suicide.
They said, “.… ‘We don’t need a therapist, that’s for white people,’ ‘I’m too strong for a therapist’ and even ‘Jesus is my psychiatrist,’” she wrote in her blog.
Their reaction toward mental health set Allen on a path to help people with suicidal thoughts speak up. Continue reading.
Center for Psychological Inquiry Director Peter Wessels shares a light moment with students.
Center for Psychological Inquiry Director Peter Wessels shares a light moment with students.
Promoting student support with the Center for Psychological Inquiry
The Center for Psychological Inquiry (CPI) is located on the bottom floor of the Psychology Building. Throughout the day, hundreds of psychology students will walk past it or sit in the lobby outside, and a growing number of students will even visit the CPI on a weekly basis. Its main purpose is to act as a psychology-specific tutoring center, but it also hosts workshops and events based on the interest of students.
"It's always been a protected space," said Dr. Peter Wessels, CPI director. "That's an important element, to have a room to work in that says we as a department value this enough to dedicate some space to your learning that we could have used for other things." Read the full article.
Upcoming PSY Events & Activities
  • Fri Feb 22, 2019, 3-5 pm: Panel discussion on bullying with a focus on schools and workplace by Dr. Ryan Adams, Dr. Leah Hollis, Dr. Jamie Luster, Dr. Elizabeth Taylor
  • Fri March 15, 2019, 3-5 pm: Colloquium on temperament and psychopathology by Dr. Koraly Perez-Edgar, Penn State University
  • Fri April 26, 2019, 3-5 pm: Colloquium on autism spectrum disorders by Dr. Camilla McMahon, Assistant Professor, Miami University Hamilton
  • Fri May 3, 2019, 3-5 pm: 18th Annual Hinkle Poster session
All colloquia will be held in Psychology Building room 125; Hinkle poster session will be held in the atrium.
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