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K-State Today

May 10, 2021

Psychological Sciences announces student award winners

Submitted by Michael Young

The department of psychological sciences announces this year's departmental award winners. These undergraduate and graduate students were honored at an event on May 3.

Haley Richards, senior, Topeka, and Justine Fiscus, senior, Olathe, received the John C. Peterson Undergraduate Scholarship Prize for outstanding graduating senior.

Richards was the president of the Psi Chi Honorary Society this year, conducted research on risk and decision-making in Gary Brase's lab and was a teaching assistant for the psychology department for one year. After graduation, she will enter Washburn University's clinical psychology master's degree program.

Fiscus served as president of Psi Chi during the 2019-2020 school year, as well as a College of Arts and Sciences Ambassador from 2018-2020. She was a member of Christopher Lake's lab. Currently, she is working as an HR assistant in Kansas City and plans will be a doctoral student at the University of Nebraska, Omaha specializing in industrial/organizational psychology this fall.

Moises Alvarez, senior, Liberal, is this year's recipient of the E. Jerry Phares Undergraduate Research Award. His research with Don Saucier examined racial humor and third-party perceptions. Last year, Alvarez received the department's Shanteau research award, which helped to fund this research. He is in the Developing Scholars Program, a College of Arts and Sciences Ambassador and a member of Psi Chi, psychology's honor society. This fall, Alvarez will be enrolled in the University of Nebraska, Omaha's Master of Science in industrial and organizational psychology program.

Katherine Rodriguez, junior, Overland Park, is the winner of the Curtis Lee and J.B. Gee Psychological Sciences Scholarship. This award is based on a combination of academic achievement and financial need.

Kathryn Hutson, senior, Westmoreland; Trenton Schneider, junior, Buhler; and Alyssa Scott, senior, Tonganoxie, are this year's recipients of the James and Doreen Shanteau Undergraduate Research Awards. The award provides funds to enable these students to conduct research with their faculty mentors during the following academic year. Hutson will be working with Don Saucier examining prejudicial perceptions of lesbians in the workplace. Schneider will be working with Saucier to examine the difference in prejudice expressed against transgender men and transgender women, and the influence masculine honor beliefs have on this difference. Scott will be working with Maria Diehl to study the differences in the neuronal circuitry that underlie social behaviors following a traumatic experience in rats.

Frances Guffy, junior, Dalhart, Texas, received the Dr. Leon Rappoport Psychology Undergraduate Scholarship. This scholarship honors the memory of a faculty member in our department and is targeted at a nontraditional, high-achieving student. Guffy is a first-generation college student, mother of five and secretary of the American Ethnic Studies Multicultural Coalition.

The Sewell Undergraduate Research Scholarship was awarded to Miki Azuma, senior, Grafton, Massachusetts. This scholarship recognizes undergraduates conducting research psychology with a preference for supporting first-generation and transfer students. Azuma conducted research in Jin Lee's lab regarding semi-autonomous vehicles, psychological attitudes, and susceptibility to risk-taking behaviors. She is also a part of Mary Cain's behavioral neuroscience lab researching how differential rearing impacts taste reactivity in rodent models.

The Dunlap Fellowship in Industrial Psychology was awarded to Chi-Leigh Warren, Shawnee, and Leah Klos, Omaha, Nebraska. The fellowship is awarded to second-year students in the industrial/organizational doctoral program who are doing well in assistantships, demonstrating productive research activity, and are making strong progress toward their degree.

The Outstanding Graduate Instructor Award was presented to Tiffany Lawless, Pickerington, Ohio, and Taylor Simonson, Flushing, Ohio. Lawless taught General Psychology, Experimental Methods Lab, Social Psychology and Psychology of Women. Simonson has taught General Psychology, Experimental Methods Lab, and Consumer Psychology. They received a monetary award thanks to the Nobuko S. Nicholson Opportunity Fund for Psychological Sciences.

The Outstanding Graduate Research Award/Harry Helson Memorial Scholarship had three recipients this year: Jordann Brandner, Bismarck, North Dakota; Tucker Jones, Alamosa, Colorado; and Alisa Pajser, Des Moines, Iowa. All have published multiple research papers in their domains of specialization: cognitive and evolutionary psychology, social psychology and behavioral neuroscience, respectively.

Finally, the department gave the Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant Award to Ashley Schiffer, Northville, Michigan. She was nominated for her work in Saucier's Advanced Social Psychology class, particularly for her flexibility and helpfulness during the transition to remote teaching and learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Schiffer's award was funded by the department's Graduate Teaching Assistant Support Fund that has been generously supported by a number of our alumni.

The faculty members in the psychological sciences department are proud of the many achievements of our outstanding students.