Saint Anselm Hosts Dr. Susan McGurk for Hechtl/Lasky Lecture

by Richard Curran, '16

IMG_0790On Tuesday, April 12th the Saint Anselm Psychology Department hosted Dr. Susan McGurk from the Center of Psychiatric Rehabilitation at Boston University for the Annual Hechtl/Lasky Lecture Series. The series is in honor of former faculty members Richard Hechtl and Julian "Jack" Lasky, who were leaders in Saint Anselm College's psychology department, having devoted their careers to promoting wellness through basic and applied psychology research.

Students have previously worked with Dr. McGurk on her research while she was at Dartmouth University, and she was excited to return to campus to present her current work. Dr. McGurk has won numerous awards such as the National Alliance of Research in Schizophrenia and Depression (NARSAD), the Young Investigator Award (1987-1990), the Independent Investigator Award (2010-2012), the 2004 Rehabilitation Practitioner of Distinction Award by the National Rehabilitation Association, and the 2007 Gerard Hogarty Award for Excellence in Schizophrenia Research. As part of the lecture series, students had the opportunity to meet with Dr. McGurk during a dinner and research presentation on campus.

IMG_0792Dr. McGurk shared her experiences helping people with psychiatric disability achieve employment goals through her program called the "Thinking Skills for Work Program." This program is a multi-component cognitive remediation program combining computer practice of cognitive skills and the teaching of compensatory strategies in order to optimize cognitive and work functioning in persons receiving vocational rehabilitation services.

McGurk has helped many people through this program to overcome challenges, improve their self-image, and maintain employment. Dr. McGurk is an inspiring researcher who has made great contributions to the psychology field, and it was a pleasure having her come share her knowledge with us on campus.

Reflections on the 2014-2015 Year

Congratulations to the Class of 2015! We wish you all the best in your future endeavors. We will miss your smiling faces around the department and in our classes. We look forward to hearing from you as you embark on graduate programs in cognitive psychology and social work, careers in human resources, human services, and clinical research and as you begin service programs like Americorps, just to name a few. As we reflect on the class of 2015, we wanted to share with you some of the many events, accomplishments, and activities of the Psychology Department this year.

pic1In the Fall of 2014, we welcomed our first class of Psychology Student Ambassadors. Congratulations to Mark Shulze ‘15, Evan Rushton ‘16, Elizabeth Gallagher ‘17, Alex Williamson ‘16, Samantha Ferland ‘18, Mackenzie Wild ‘16, and Lissa Jimenez ’16. The Psychology Student Ambassador Program is designed to create opportunities for student involvement in departmental efforts to educate, evaluate, and communicate our scientific discipline with a variety of audiences and methods.

 

pic2 September 20, 2014 – Professor Loretta Brady’s daughter enjoys some dancing to celebrate the Multicultural Day Festival on the “Founder’s Green” at Saint Anselm College.

 

 

 

October 14, 2014 – US Global Leadership Coalition Psychology students and faculty attend an event at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College pic3to hear Senator Kelly Ayotte (R, NH) and former Secretary of Homeland Security Tom Ridge discuss how US diplomacy and training soldiers in negotiation skills saves US and other lives in military encounters. The psychology department offers courses in Social Psychology, Political Psychology, Cross Cultural Psychology and Organizational Psychology where research affirming this message is reviewed and conducted. 

 

pic4November 6, 2014 – Saint Anselm College welcomes Social Entrepreneur and Guest Speaker Corynne Corbett, President of Beauty Swirl, Inc. for a presentation on how the science and art of beauty is changing industries and lives of girls. The talk was preceded by dinner with invited community guests, students and faculty. The event was co-sponsored by the Psychology Department, Business  Department, Office of Career Services, Chemistry Club, Communications Department, and in cooperation with the Balfour Grant through the Multicultural Center.

pic5Psychology Ambassadors Lissa Jimenez ‘16, Mackenzie Wild ‘16, and Alex Williamson ’16 with Corynne Corbett).

 

 

 

 

 

Dr. Flannery, a cognitive psychologist, works to engage students in tasks that will extend their research from her lab into real world problems. Here a social pic13entrepreneur,    Alex Freid, shares his story of winning the NH Social Venture Innovation Challenge, an annual competition for NH college students to pitch their social entrepreneurial business idea to solve one of the world’s persistent problems (http://www.unh.edu/socialbusiness/nh-social-venture-innovation-challenge). This fall,  students from St. Anselm College, mentored in part by Dr. Flannery and other faculty, will be participating in this competition.

 

November 12, 2014 – Dr. Gilbert Foley presented “Me, Myself, and I: Brain Connection in the Early Years” at the NHIOP. The event, sponsored by the Greater Manchester Infant Mental Health Team, enabled professional psychologists, early pic6intervention specialists, students, and faculty to hear from a renowned scientist on how the latest brain development can and should impact early child care education policy and process. Dr. McKenna and Dr. Flannery regularly incorporate these ideas into their Child Development course and research programs. The program was reviewed in a blog post co-written by MacKenzie Wild and Kelsie Cameron, who attended the day-long event (posted on April 9, 2015).

 

December 9, 2014 – Psychology students Michael Doyle ‘15, Kathryn Sheldon ‘15, Marcello Cugno ’15, Hannah Mason ‘15, Coraima Perez ‘15 and Lindsay Donahue ‘15 celebrate the end of their Fall semester internship at Professor Brady’s pic7home. Internship is a unique opportunity for psychology majors entering or in their senior year to gain practical experience in areas of their choice. At the conclusion of their internship Dr. Brady hosts a dinner to celebrate their accomplishments. Psychology majors are highly sought after interns, with many placements offering spots to our majors that are typically reserved for graduate interns. This year students interned with community mental health agencies, Ivy League research clinics, non-profits working with chronically ill children, community engagement programs, traditional and non-traditional secondary education, child protection agency, human resource directors, and traumatic brain injury units.

 

February 1, 2015 – Despite heavy snowstorms, psychology students and faculty enjoy ice-skating on Professor Paul Finn’s lake along with a campfire to warm up! His courses, in Humanistic Psychology, Sports & Exercise Psychology, and Behavioral Statistics sure draw a crowd!

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Fpic10ebruary 20, 2015 –Congrats to Marcello Cugno ‘15 (and ALL of this year’s senior Psychology students) for passing the Major Field Acheivement Test (MFAT) comprehensive exam! St. Anselm Psychology majors consistently outperform 90% of those who take the MFAT.

 

 

 

 

pic11March 18, 2015 – Franki Mullen ’17 experiences what it is like to be a research PARTICIPANT in this “science fair” project for 3rd grader Sergei Carle (Prof. Brady’s nephew). The experiment, entitled “The Phantom Hand” tested whether participant reaction to a false hand would be perceived similar to their own hand.

 

April 8, 2015 – Organized by Professor Troisi and the Psychology Student Ambassadors, the Psychology Department welcomed Dr. Alan Budney from Dartmouth and Dr. John Kelly from Harvard Medical School for the Second Annual Hechtl/Lasky Symposium. The Hechtl/Lasky Symposium is designed to highlight the way everyday people, research excellence, and public policy can work together to make progress for those living with psychological illness.  Professors Richard "Dick" Hecthl and Julian "Jack" Lasky were each great leaders in our department that devoted their careers to promoting wellness through basic and applied psychology research. We are very proud of their contributions and legacy and are honored to remember their contributions to our community in this way.

pic12Kate Martin, ’15, Mark Schulze, ’15, Samantha Ferland ’18, Dr. Al Budney (Dartmouth) Dr. Troisi, Dr. John Kelly (Harvard) and Meaghan DiDonato ’15 pose after the Hechtl/Lasky dinner and symposium.

 

 

 

April 18, 2015 -Meagan DiDonato, '15, Cassandra Rapheal, '15, John Sullivan, '15 and Professors Brady, Flannery, and Rickenbach attended the New Hampshire Psychology Association Academic Convention held at Colby-Sawyer College Under the mentorship of Professor Flannery, Meagan and Cassandra also presented their research during the poster session.  Meagan presented research examined autistic traits, emotional processing, and cardiac reactivity, and Cassie and Meagan both presented a poster titled, "Confirming the N170 in human and animal face recognition: A replication study using Virtual EEG." Students and faculty in the Psychology Department regularly attend academic conferences to present their research, including annual meetings for the Eastern Psychology Association, the American Psychology Association, and the Northeast Psychology Association.

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April 24, 2015 – Each year, Saint Anselm College celebrates the work and success of students with the program series “Showcasing our Art and Research (S.O.A.R).” Included here are some highlights from the S.O.A.R. Distinguished Speaker presentation by Dr. Elaine Walker from Emory University as well as the S.O.A.R. Science Student Research Poster Session.

 

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May 4, 2015 – End-of-year BBQ and fun with students, faculty and family at Professor Loretta Brady’s home.

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“Me, Myself, and I” Presentation by Dr. Gilbert M. Foley

By Mackenzie Wild '16 and Kelsie Cameron '17

We would first like to thank Dr. Gilbert M. Foley, EdD for joining us on campus alongside many accomplished professionals in the field! As students, it is always great to see our facilities such as the NHIOP being used openly by the community whilst also allowing students to gain a broader knowledge of study from outside the College’s affiliates. For those of us interested in childhood psychology, trauma, and attachment, this program was a great supplement to our studies.

This presentation was very enriching because of the amount of detail and background given to support the main objective that infants, toddlers, and children have specific and important attachment needs. Not only was evidence of this idea provided by brain scans of children whom had experienced neglect, but also in the philosophical formation of the self. The early formation of the self plays a role in the “Brain-Self Connection” in that a lack of ego identification can be detected in many (though not one specific) locus of the brain. Ego and early sense of self can only be developed properly within a secure and stimulating attachment environment, further promoting the importance of early childhood and parental interventions. Alongside this concept, it is clear that children in particular need secure attachment through relationships, affection, sensation, and language in order to relate to the rest of the world through their sense of self.

As students in this field, what should we be focusing on as we approach our professional research and fieldwork? Dr. Foley suggests that attachment interventions should incorporate affectionate touch, mutual gaze (reflective functioning), and certain vocal-rhythm combinations. A special focus should be put on responsive and secure caregiving while also being mindful of age-appropriate sensory input. As students, these lessons were very helpful and enriching, and we are very thankful for Dr. Gilbert Foley for representing his important work here on campus!