2010-2011 News

Dr. Rosalie Corona Wins VCU Community Engagement Grant

corona-thumbDrs. Peter Nguyen (School of Social Work) and Rosalie Corona (Health Psychology Program) were awarded a research grant from the VCU Council for Community Engagement. The grant entitled, "Assessing the needs of the Asian American community in Richmond," will collect data from a diverse group of Asian American community residents in an effort to better understand their health needs.  Asian Americans are the largest growing immigrant group in the greater Richmond area (Bon Secours Richmond Health System, 2009). The rapid growth of immigrant groups can often result in health care disparities and needs. As a result, there is a significant need for detailed information regarding the health and service needs of this fast growing community. In partnership with the Asian American Society of Central Virginia (AASoCV) the primary objective will be to identify the social, health care, and mental health needs of the local Asian American community using a mixed-method approach. Survey data will be collected at AASoCV events held throughout the year and events hosted by the specific Asian American organizations associated with AASoCV. They will also conduct Key Informant interviews with leaders of Asian American organizations to identify the resources available in the Asian American community and sustainability of these resources.

Donnie Davis wins Outstanding Graduate Student Award from Council of Counseling Psychology Training Programs

davis-thumbDonnie Davis has been selected as the recipient of the 2011 Outstanding Graduate Student Award by the Council of Counseling Psychology Training Programs. He graduated from the Counseling Psychology Program in August 2011, and will begin a faculty position at Georgia State University this fall. His research/clinical interests include forgiveness, humility, and multicultural competence, especially in the area of religion and spirituality. He was selected for the award due to the quality of his scholarship, professional contributions, and overall promise as a scholar-professional in counseling psychology. The award was presented at the APA Annual Convention where he was announced as the recipient of the 2011 Outstanding Graduate Student Award at the Council of Counseling Psychology Training Programs' awards ceremony. He received a Sage Publications book credit, a cash award from CCPTP, and a plaque and certificate in honor of his achievements.

Department Welcomes New Faculty Members

Our department is pleased to welcome several new faculty members, starting in the fall of 2011. Dr. Paul Perrin is joining our Health Psychology Program. He will be earning his PhD in counseling psychology from the University of Florida in June. In addition, Dr. Joshua Langberg is joining our Clinical Psychology Program. He earned his PhD in clinical/community psychology from the University of South Carolina in 2005. Likewise, Dr. Heather Jones is joining our Clinical Psychology Program. She earned her PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Maryland at College Park in 2006.

Dr. Victoria Shivy Receives VCU Community Engagement Grant


Victoria Shivy, Ph.D., of the Counseling Psychology Program, recently was awarded a $20,000 VCU Community Engagement Grant. The project, "Pixie's Pen Pals: A Program for Virginia's Inmates" will develop a collaborative regional/state partnership among VCU faculty and students (from Psychology, the VCU Medical School's Center for Human Animal Interaction, and the Business School), staff from FETCH-a-Cure's Pixie's Pen Pals, and staff from the Virginia Department of Corrections. The focus of this project is to evaluate the Pen Pals program -- an intervention that doubles as a career reentry-oriented program, and a human-animal interaction intervention, with hypothesized organizational impacts.

In Virginia alone, some 13,068 offenders returned to community life in 2010. Inmates who experience rehabilitative and educational programming during their incarceration typically find reentry less challenging. Members of Shivy's team believe that the Pen Pals program offers researchers and practitioners alike a powerful means to help inmates transition back to society.

Jess Barber Selected for APA Public Interest Government Relations Internship

barber-thumbThroughout her graduate career, Jess Barber (a doctoral student in the Social Psychology Program) has been interested in questions that lie at the intersection of psychology and politics. To broaden her understanding of the applications of psychology to the political realm, Jess has taken courses in the Public Policy department, interned at Richmond Behavioral Health Authority, and participated in the Summer Institute in Political Psychology at Stanford University. Interning with the APA's Public Interest Policy Government Relations Office will allow Jess to extend her training in public policy as well as to serve as a liaison between academia and the public.

"The graduate student intern will spend one year working on public interest policy issues on the staff of APA's Public Interest Government Relations Office. The Office helps to formulate and implement APA positions on major federal policy initiatives of importance to psychology in the public interest. Moreover, the Office works to influence legislative and regulatory activities impacting populations and areas, such as: disabilities; aging; socioeconomic status; ethnic and racial minorities; children, youth, and families; lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons; individuals with HIV/AIDS; as well as social concerns (e.g. media; or trauma, violence, and abuse). The intern's activities include participating in legislative and advocacy work, such as assisting in the preparation of briefing papers, testimony and other documents, and attending congressional hearings and coalition meetings."

Dr. Linda Zyzniewski Wins College Distinguished Service award

zyzniewski-thumbThe award is given for superior service to the College, the university, the profession and/or the wider community. This superior service may be marked by activities that extend beyond normal expectations, make unique contributions and/or provide longstanding leadership and have a significant impact on the College or beyond.

Dr. Linda Zyzniewski is Director of Undergraduate Programs in Psychology and a faculty member in the Social Psychology Program. Her training as an experimental social psychologist informs her teaching and administrative responsibilities in translating or framing information in a way that is meaningful to the target audience—students, faculty, staff, administrators, community members. Empirically, she is interested in intergroup processes, specifically linguistic intergroup bias as a strategic psychological process that influences in-group affiliation and out-group derogation, as well as applying technology to enhance learning outcomes in undergraduate statistics.

Dr. Tom Eissenberg Wins College Distinguished Scholar award

eissenberg-thumbThe award is given for a product of scholarship that demonstrates significant depth and breadth of vision; creative and innovative development of theory, method or form; or extension of the frontiers of knowledge in a field that constitutes a substantial contribution to the intellectual community within or beyond the nominee’s field.

Dr. Tom Eissenberg is a faculty member in the Biopsychology Program and an affiliate member of the Health Psychology Program. His primary area of research is the behavioral pharmacology of drugs of abuse, focusing primarily on nicotine/tobacco. His current work, funded by the U.S. NIH, involves 1) developing laboratory methods to evaluate potential reduced exposure products (PREPs) for tobacco users, and 2) understanding the knowledge, beliefs, attitudes, and effects of water pipe tobacco smoking. In addition, he tries to promote the responsible conduct of research, particularly with regard to interactions between local Investigational Review Boards (IRBs) and behavioral scientists. He has served on VCU's IRB since August, 2000. He recently chaired the American Psychological Association's Presidential Task Force on IRBs and Psychological Science, and currently chairs the American Psychological Association's Committee on Human Research and is a member of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco's Policy Committee.

Students win Department and College Awards and Scholarships

We are pleased to announce the Department of Psychology Award and Scholarship recipients for 2011 and to invite you to a departmental reception in their honor. Please see the list of recipients included below and note that they are divided into two categories. Award recipients and Scholarship recipients will be honored and recognized at the Psychology Department's Reception. The Department's Reception is followed by the College's Award Ceremony which honors and recognizes only College Award recipients (scholarship recipients will be honored and recognized at an event next year, sponsored by the VCU Foundation). Again, the Psychology Department's Reception honors and recognizes both Award and Scholarship recipients – please plan to attend the reception to celebrate with your students and/or colleagues.

Psychology Department Reception for Psychology Award and Scholarship Recipients 
Monday, April 11, 2011 from 4-5:30 p.m.
806 W. Franklin, 1st floor

College of Humanities and Sciences' Award Ceremony
Monday, April 11, 2011 at 7 p.m. 
VCU Student Commons, Commonwealth Ballroom


  • Psychology Undergraduate Black History in the Making: Joshua Brevard
  • Psychology Graduate Black History in the Making: Rebecca Hubbard
  • Outstanding Psychology Junior Award: Eleanor DeShone
  • Outstanding Psychology Senior Award: Patrick Genova
  • Outstanding Behavioral Medicine Track Graduate Student Award: Daniel Baughn
  • Outstanding Biopsychology Graduate Student Award: D. Matt Walentiny
  • Outstanding Child Clinical Track Graduate Student Award: Kelly Pugh
  • Outstanding Counseling Graduate Student Award: Jessye Cohen
  • Outstanding Counseling Graduate Student Award: Kathryn Conley
  • Outstanding Developmental Graduate Student Award: Maria Kuznetsova
  • Outstanding Graduate Student Teacher Award: Daryl Van Tongeren
  • Outstanding Social Graduate Student Award: Anh Nguyen


  • Melvin V. Lubman Undergraduate Scholarship: Charrie Motley
  • Deborah Braffman Schroeder Award to Outstanding Clinical Student: Shannon Hourigan
  • Elizabeth Fries Memorial Scholarship: Jennifer Lamanna
  • John Corazzini Award for Therapeutic Group Work: TBA
  • John P. Hill Award for Adolescent Research: Jeff Jennings
  • John P. Hill Award for Adolescent Research: Neeraja Ravindran
  • Outstanding Master's Candidate Award: Chelsea Greer

Mental Health in Primary Care Program is featured in APA Monitor

primary_careView the APA Monitor story online. The American Psychological Association (APA) Monitor featured the program, which is directed by Dr. Bruce Rybarczyk (who also is director of the Clinical Psychology program).

Twenty PhD students have provided 1,200 assessment and treatment sessions to underserved patients at VCU's largest primary care clinic. This type of integrated health care is projected to provide a significant role for psychologists as health care reform gradually takes effect. In recognition of the workforce development needed to meet this demand, the Virginia Health Care Foundation recently awarded a 3-year grant to expand the project.

Russ Clay receives honorable mention from American Psychological Association of Graduate Students

clay-thumbRuss Clay, a third year doctoral student in the Social Psychology Program was recently awarded an Honorable mention by the American Psychological Association of Graduate Students (APAGS) for his application for the 2010 Fall Basic Psychological Science Research Grant.  The proposal seeks to examine the human cognitive processes that detect and respond to sounds in the environment that indicate the presence of a potential threat.  Though the proposal did not receive funding, it was judged to be in the top 10% of all applications that were received, and received recognition from the APAGS Science Committee.

Dr. Bruce Rybarczyk Begins Four Year Term as Associate Editor


Bruce Rybarczyk, Ph.D., of the Clinical Psychology Program, will serve as an associate editor for the Journal of Clinical Psychology, beginning this January.

VCU Clark-Hill Institute Receives $6.5 Million Grant to Reduce Youth Violence


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention awarded a $6.5 million grant to Virginia Commonwealth University’s Clark-Hill Institute for Positive Youth Development to work with the City of Richmond and Richmond Public Schools on a comprehensive approach to reduce youth violence in Richmond. This comprehensive effort will include school, family, and community components focused on producing positive outcomes for youth. This work represents the continuation of collaboration between VCU and community agencies that began in 1992.  Dr. Albert Farrell, Director of the Clark-Hill Institute said, “This funding allows us to continue our work as a national academic center of excellence in youth violence prevention – one of only six currently funded by the CDC -- and we will use our resources to evaluate and improve the quality and quantity of programs offered in the community.”

VCU has worked with the Richmond Public Schools on youth violence prevention efforts since 1992. "For nearly two decades, Richmond Public Schools and Virginia Commonwealth University have partnered on youth violence prevention efforts, an effort that has provided both insight and positive results," said Richmond Public Schools Superintendent Yvonne Brandon, Ed.D. "The $6.5 million grant to VCU's Clark-Hill Institute for Positive Youth Development will allow this viable, critically important, comprehensive and truly collaborative approach to reducing youth violence to continue its mission. We are both pleased and grateful to be included as partners."

About the Clark-Hill Institute: The Clark-Hill Institute for Positive Youth Development was named in honor of two former VCU faculty members – John P. Hill whose model for adolescent development continues to serve as a framework for the field, and Maxine Clark who conducted groundbreaking work on the development of minority youth. The Institute’s mission is to empower youth, schools, families, and other stakeholders to promote the healthy, safe, and positive development of youth in the Richmond community from early adolescence through young adulthood.  For more information regarding the Clark-Hill Institute go to www.clarkhill.vcu.edu.

Dr. Suzanne Mazzeo Receives 3-yr grant from the National Institute of Mental Health


Suzanne Mazzeo, Ph.D., of the Counseling Psychology program, recently received a three year R34 grant from the National Institute of Mental Health at NIH. The grant is titled, "An Integrative Intervention for Binge Eating among Adolescent Girls."

CPSD's Work with the William & Mary Veterans Clinic is in the News

flores-thumbDr. Lettie Flores, Director of the Center for Psychological Services and Development (CPSD), attended an event at McGuire Woods law firm as part of our Department's work with the William & Mary Lewis B. Puller Jr. Veterans Benefits Clinic. The law firm is designating November as the Legal Services for Veterans month, and starting a fundraiser for the clinic.

Mr. Jeff Bozman, a law student and a Marine Corps veteran, spoke at the event about what the clinic does and how the CPSD helps the clinic in its work.

Watch a video describing the William & Mary Veterans Benefits Clinic and the CPSD, which were also recently featured in a Washington Examiner news story.

Dr. Faye Belgrave Receives 5-yr grant from the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration


Faye Belgrave, Ph.D., Director of the Social Psychology program was awarded a research grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Center for Substance Abuse Prevention (CSAP) Capacity Building for Substance Abuse (SA) and HIV Prevention Services for At-Risk Racial/Ethnic Minority Young Adults. The Capacity Building Initiative (CBI) is one of CSAP's Minority AIDS Initiative (MAI) programs. According to the RFA, "the purpose of the MAI is to provide substance abuse and HIV prevention services to at-risk minority populations in communities disproportionately affected by HIV/AIDS. The purpose of the CBI program is to support an array of activities to assist grantees in building a solid foundation for delivering and sustaining quality and accessible state of the science substance abuse and HIV prevention services. Specifically, the program aims to engage colleges, universities and community-level domestic public and private non-profit entities to prevent and reduce the onset of SA and transmission of HIV/AIDS among at-risk racial/ethnic minority young adults, ages 18-24."

The grant period is five years at a funding of about $298,000 per year (almost 1.5 million for the five year period).

Dr. Marilyn Stern Elected as Fellow of APA, Div. 38

stern-thumbDr. Marilyn Stern, Co-Director of the Counseling Psychology program, was recently elected as Fellow of Division 38 (Health Psychology) of the American Psychological Association in recognition of outstanding contributions to the science and profession of psychology.

She is also a Fellow of Division 54 (Pediatric Psychology/2003) and Division 17 (Counseling Psychology/1998). In addition to her achieving Fellow status in Division 38, Dr. Stern is also an Executive Board Member of the Council of Clinical Health Psychology Training Programs and Interim Chair of the Division 38 Education & Training Committee.

Dr. Faye Belgrave Wins APA Lifetime Achievement Award


Faye Belgrave, Ph.D., Director of the Social Psychology program, recently won the James Jones Lifetime Achievement Award for the Minority Fellowship Program of the APA.

The James Jones Lifetime Achievement Award is given in honor of its second Director who has served in that role for over 30 years. This prestigious award recognizes distinguished and exemplary long-term contributions to the field of racial and ethnic minority psychology from senior-level alum of the MFP program. Long-term is defined as a career spanning no less than 25 years. The award is given only occasionally and 2004 is the inauguration of the award.

Dr. Belgrave's award was presented at the annual APA convention in San Diego in August.

Dr. Ev Worthington, Donnie Davis, and Josh Hook Receive John Templeton Foundation Grant


Dr. Ev Worthington and two of his doctoral students, Don Davis and Josh Hook, all members of the Counseling Psychology program, have received a $350,000 research grant from the John Templeton Foundation. The project is entitled, "Relational Humility: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Studying Humility."

The study of humility has been halted by measurement problems. Namely, self-reports seem doomed, because someone that claims to be humble is ironically bragging about their humility. Psychologists have been dissatisfied with other strategies. Aiming to catalyze research on humility, we conceptualized humility from the perspective of a third-party, and we measure humility by having informants rate a person’s degree of humility. The strategy aligns the study of humility with an expansive literature on personality judgments, spanning social and personality psychology.

The grant supports four studies of humility with relationships (leaders, religious leaders, and couples), a conference on humility (with an edited book from the papers), and two popular books.

Dr. Bryce McLeod and Dr. Michael Southam-Gerow Receive NIMH R01 Grant

mcleod-thumbDr. Michael Southam-GerowDr. Bryce McLeod and Dr. Michael Southam-Gerow, faculty members in the Clinical Psychology program, have received a $1,125,000 research grant from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). The project is entitled, "Development and Validation of Child Therapy Integrity Measures."

The ultimate objective of the study is to further develop a set of measures capable of assessing the extent to which therapists deliver manualized cognitive-behavioral treatments (CBT) for youth anxiety with integrity and skill. Linking the ‌quality of treatment delivery to clinical outcomes will help identify key elements in the delivery of psychological treatments for youth anxiety, thereby helping to optimize the effects of CBT. In addition, the development and further ‌testing of these measures may help to promote effective and efficient training for treatment of youth anxiety.

Dr. Wendy Kliewer and Graduate Student, HaNa Kim, Awarded Fulbright Scholarships

Wendy Kliewer thumbnail imageDr. Wendy Kliewer, Chair of Psychology and member of the Developmental Psychology program, has been awarded a Fulbright scholarship to conduct research in South Africa on the topic of youth violence, drug-use, and sexual risk-taking behavior.

In addition, HaNa Kim, a doctoral student in the Counseling Psychology program, has been awarded a Fulbright scholarship.  She is currently completing her internship at the Memphis VA.  Students interested in applying for scholarships to study abroad should contact Jeff Wing in the Honors College.