Alumni News

Alums, share your latest and greatest news with us by completing the Class Notes section of this online form.alumni road sign

Gordon (B.S. '16) Awarded Fulbright Scholarship

Gordon, Cydni_thumb Congratulations are in order for Cydni Gordon (B.S. '16), who will be studying in Argentina courtesy of a Fulbright scholarship. Gordon graduated in December '16 and is studying for the GRE while enjoying living at home again and spending time with her family.

What will you be doing in Argentina as part of your Fulbright experience?
 
In Argentina, I will be studying mood disorders with a particular focus on bipolar disorder under the supervision of psychiatrists Sergio Strejilevich and Eliana Morengo of Favaloro University in Buenos Aires. I'll be assisting with two studies and hopefully dipping my hands in anything they allow me to. I'm looking forward to learning as much as possible and gaining clinical experience. I hope to volunteer in some capacity in my new community and also learn about the Afro-Argentine population - their history, their culture and their experiences in the present day. Of course, improving my Spanish will be a huge component of my Fulbright experience, too.
 What are your future interests?
 
My future interests include completing a doctorate degree in clinical psychology with a focus on mood and anxiety disorders in children and adolescents. I'm also very interested in studying the intersection of culture and mental illness (the perceptions and treatment of), which was a topic of emphasis in my Fulbright application. After grad school I aspire to be a clinician-researcher, and to draw on my background in journalism to improve the dissemination of research findings to the public. Further, travel is very important to me and will remain a part of my personal, professional and academic endeavors.
 How is your degree in psychology supporting your goals?
 
I think it's safe to say that without studying psychology, this project and Fulbright award wouldn't be possible. I have really come to appreciate the power and importance of networking. For example, on advice from Rosalie Corona, Ph.D., I applied to and attended the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill's Diversifying Clinical Psychology Weekend last April. There I connected with a UNC faculty member whose research really resonated with me. We kept in touch and he connected me with one of his past collaborators (and my future collaborator) in Argentina. The rest, as they say, is history. I also must credit the VCU Globe faculty and my experiences in that program, in addition to Jeff Wing from the VCU National Scholarship Office who introduced me to Fulbright at the start of my sophomore year. Applying for the Fulbright has been on my radar since that time; it's still hard to believe that I've been awarded one!  

Van Tongeren (Ph.D. '11) Selected as 2016 APS Rising Star

Van Tongeren, Daryl_thumb Daryl R. Van Tongeren, Ph.D., 2011 graduate of the social psychology program‌has been selected as a Rising Star by the Association for Psychological Science. From the APS website: "The Rising Star designation recognizes outstanding psychological scientists in the earliest stages of their research career post-Ph.D. whose innovative work has already advanced the field and signals great potential for their continued contributions." The complete list of 2016 Rising Stars will appear in the February issue of the Observer magazine.   

Van Tongeren is an assistant professor of psychology at Hope College. His teaching responsibilities have included Introductory Psychology, Social Psychology and Advanced Research Lab. His research focuses on the social motivation for meaning and its relation to virtues and morality. Specifically, he and his students adopt a social-cognitive approach to study meaning in life, religion and virtues, such as forgiveness and humility. His research has been funded by grants from the John Templeton Foundation.

While at VCU, Jeffrey Green, Ph.D., associate professor and director of the social psychology program, served as Van Tongeren's adviser; Jody Davis, Ph.D., and Everett Worthington, Ph.D., were also close collaborators.

One of social psychology's most prominent scholars, David Myers, Ph.D., a faculty colleague at Hope College, nominated Van Tongeren for the award. In Myers' correspondence with with VCU about the award, he remarked, "My did you ever serve Hope College well in developing and sending us Daryl! ...It’s a feather for your department’s cap (as well as ours)." Many congratulations to Daryl for this prominent recognition of his work! We look forward to hearing more great things from him in the future.

> Read the full list of Rising Stars for 2016. 


Baillie (Ph.D. '92) Elected President of Canadian Psychological Association

Baillie, Patrick_thumb Patrick H. F. Baillie, Ph.D., LL.B., 1992 graduate of the counseling psychology doctoral program, has been elected president of the Canadian Psychological Association. He will serve a one-year term beginning at the CPA convention in June 2017. Already a member of the CPA board, he will attend executive committee meetings for the next three years. As president, Baillie aims to promote the value of accredited doctoral programs and internships to students, make progress towards establishing the doctoral degree as the national standard for entry into the profession and further advance the incorporation of evidence-based practices into psychologists' work.

Unlike the American Psychological Association, CPA has no regulatory authority, but does publish a code of ethics that some provinces use for regulation of psychologists. A new revision of the code is currently under review.

Baillie has served as an expert forensic psychologist at Alberta Health Services since 1992 and is formal legal counsel at the Provincial Court of Alberta. Other current professional activities include serving as a consulting psychologist for the Calgary Police Service, a clinical psychologist in private practice and a sports psychology consultant to professional, Olympic, college and national teams and athletes. Baillie has appeared twice in the past year before the Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs as an expert psychological consultant.

Emeritus Professor Steven Danish, Ph.D., served as Baillie's mentor during his studies at VCU. In addition to his doctorate in psychology, in 2003 Baillie graduated with a law degree from the University of Calgary. Having both terminal degrees has given him unique opportunities as a psychologist. 

Recent features in Canadian media:

> Dr. Patrick Baillie discusses what an assessment means in the trial of Fred van Zuiden

> Dr. Patrick Baillie: Predicting tragedies and mental illness