Distinguished Speaker Series

umana-taylor Tuesday, March 28
4:00 p.m.
Grace St. Theater
934 W. Grace St.

Can We Promote Positive Youth Adjustment by Intervening in Ethnic-Racial Identity Development?

Ethnic-racial identity is a multifaceted, dynamic and hallmark feature of identity formation during the developmental period of adolescence, particularly for youth whose lives are embedded in contexts in which ethnicity and race are salient (Umaña-Taylor et al., 2014). Based on the seminal work of Erikson (1968), identity formation is considered a fundamental developmental process that has significant consequences for youth adjustment during adolescence and beyond. Consistent with these notions, findings indicate that among ethnic-racial minority youth in the U.S., exploring their ethnic-racial identity and gaining a sense of clarity regarding this aspect of their identity can serve a protective function and promote positive youth development. The current presentation introduces a newly developed intervention curriculum (i.e., the Identity Project) grounded in developmental theory and focused on engaging adolescents in the developmental processes of ethnic-racial identity exploration and resolution. Findings from the 12-week, 18-week and one-year follow-up will be presented and discussed with respect to program efficacy and downstream effects. Thus far, the Identity Project intervention is demonstrating promising results that have the potential to significantly shape how we work with youth in school settings to promote adaptive identity formation and, in turn, psychosocial adjustment. The universal nature of the program, which is motivated by the premise that ethnic-racial identity formation is a normative developmental task that confers psychological benefits to all youth, has great potential for scale-up and for reaching a large number of youth who are potentially at risk for academic underachievement.

Dr. Adriana Umaña-Taylor is a professor in the School of Social and Family Dynamics at Arizona State University and an expert in child development, adolescent development, race, ethnicity and migration.

A reception with light hors d'oeuvres will follow. 

Live streaming will be available beginning at 4 p.m. at this link:


COBE Connect Lunch Series

bourdon ‌Tuesday, April 4
12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
Forum Room
University Student Commons

Lunch provided.

‌The COBE Connect lunch series brings together researchers, student affairs professionals, students, and other members of the university community to present on research and programming related to behavioral and emotional health in students. Contact Tom Bannard for more information about speakers and locations.

Service Utilization and Mental Health at VCU

Jessica Bourdon, doctoral student in the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, will be presenting on her paper, which addresses the relationship between on-campus service utilization and common mental health symptoms in undergraduate college students, using the Spit for Science dataset. Bourdon's research interests are bimodal and focus on studying the etiology and risk factors of anxiety to better characterize psychopathology, as well as how to translate these findings to providers to improve treatment and outcomes. She strongly believes in the translational science model, where researchers and clinicians work together via partnerships to close the science-practice gap. This enthusiasm has led to several collaborations across VCU and the creation of the Translational Partnership for Mental Health


Last Lecture: James McCullough, Ph.D.

mccullough-thumb Monday, April 17
4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Cabell Library Lecture Hall
Room 303

The Department of Psychology at VCU invites you to enjoy a final lecture by our esteemed colleague, James McCullough, Ph.D., ahead of his upcoming retirement. The title of the lecture is “Swimming Upstream,” which will include a brief overview of his memoir-in-progress illustrating how his Cognitive Behavioral Analysis System of Psychotherapy for chronic depression evolved over time.

If you are interested in attending the event but cannot make it to campus, we invite you to join us online at our live stream:

Submit a written tribute or sentiment to Dr. McCullough.  


Social Psychology Under Discussion (SPUD)

quaglia Fridays 12:00 p.m. - 1:00 p.m.
White House basement (806 W. Franklin St.)

Speakers include VCU social program faculty and graduate students, as well as social psychologists from other institutions. Contact Athena Cairo for the latest information about speakers and locations.



  • February 3: David Chester, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Social Psychology, "The Neuroscience of Aggression"
  • February 17: Athena Cairo, Doctoral Student of Social Psychology, "Examining the Social Connection Function of Anger"
  • March 17: Calvin Hall, Doctoral Student of Social Psychology, "Factors Influencing Perceptual Distance"
  • March 31: Jordan Quaglia, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychology at Naropa University and 2016 Alumnus of VCU Social Psychology Program, "Both Wings of the Bird: Mindfulness, Compassion and Social Emotion Regulation"
  • April 14Chris Reina, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, VCU School of Business (location: Hunton House Dissertation Room, 810 W. Franklin)
  • April 21Ali Martelli, Doctoral Student of Social Psychology, "Neural Mechanisms of Mindfulness in Emotion Regulation and Self-Regulation"
Positive Psychology Research Group

pprg Mondays 4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Hunton House Dissertation Room (810 W. Franklin St.)

Speakers are psychology faculty and graduate students. Contact Athena Cairo for the latest information about speakers and locations.

  • February 6Everett Worthington, Ph.D., Commonwealth Professor of Psychology, "What is Positive Psychology?" 
  • March 13: Marcie Walsh, Doctoral Student, VCU School of Education, and Zoe Neale, Clinical Psychology Doctoral Student, present "The Science of Happiness Class and Thrive LLC: From Research to Practice and Back Again"
  • April 3Everett Worthington, Ph.D., Commonwealth Professor of Psychology, "Ev (Tries to) Remember: A Look Back at People and Experiences From More Than 40 Years in Psychology"
  • April 24: Kelcie Willis, Doctoral Student, Clinical Psychology Program