Psychology faculty and graduate students win awards and recognition for their research

Elisa Trucco

Elisa Trucco was featured as the Society for Research on Adolescence's Emerging Scholar for October 2015. For more information click here.

David Van Rooy

Dr. David Van Rooy (a 2005 PhD from the I/O program) has won the 2016 Distinguished Early Career Contributions award for Practice from the Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychology. David will receive the award in the annual SIOP conference in April 2016 at Anaheim, CA and give his award talk at the 2017 annual conference.

David is the second student from the I/O program to win this. Alex Alonso won this award in 2013. No other program or mentor has won this multiple times.

Erin Hedemann

Congratulations to Erin Hedemann and her mentor, Dr. Stacy Frazier. Erin has been awarded an NRSA from NIMH. Her study entitled, “Emotion Regulation for Urban Youth: Minimizing Risk for Anxiety and Depression,” extends her partnership with Miami Music Project after school program. FIU collaborators include Stefany Coxe and Erica Musser.

Congratulations again to all our Spring 2015 psychology graduates and their major professors!


Asia Eaton

Professor Asia Eaton did a television interview on South Florida public TV (WPBT2) on the topics of transgender identity and Caitlyn Jenner. The interview aired on June 5th at 7:30pm and Sunday, June 7th at 12:00pm on channel 2.

To view full interview click here.

Top Scholars

Drs. Jon Comer, Kat Hart, and Jeremy Pettit, as well as Dr. Pelham, were honored as some of the 2015 FIU Top Scholars! All four CCF faculty received this award for their continued commitment to scholarship and the recognition of the importance of their work and were honored at a reception today at the FIU MMC Campus.

To view the full story click here.

Raul Gonzalez

Professor Raul Gonzalez comments on his research on the effects of marijuana on HIV/AIDS patients.

To view the Wired article click here.

Dr. Raul Gonzalez, Clinical Science in Child & Adolescent Psychology and CCF Faculty, was recently interviewed for an article in Science on the implications of a new major research initiative in Canada.

To view the article click here.

Several graduate students won top awards at the graduate student scholarly forum for their oral and poster presentations.

1st place for social sciences oral presentation category, Alina Nazareth, accepted by
graduate advisor Dr. Shannon Pruden-Dick

2nd place for social sciences oral presentation category - Carla Abad

3rd place for social sciences oral presentation category - Andrea Arndorfer

3rd place for health and psychology poster presentation - Michele Bechor

Raul Gonzalez

Congratulations to Raul Gonzalez who was quoted in Science Magazine. For full article click here.

Jillian Rivard

Congratulations to Jillian Rivard who won the CAS best dissertation in Psychology award.

Angelica Hagsand

Dr. Angelica Hagsand was awarded a Postdoctoral Fellowship by the Swedish Research Council from 2015-2018 ($379,342) to work with Nadja Schreiber Compo as her postdoctoral advisor on the following research program: 'Alcohol-intoxicated witnesses and the legal system: The importance of who is interacting and how'. This is the top Swedish Research foundation and a highly competitive postdoctoral fellowship.

Aparajita Biswas Kuriyan

Aparajita "Tuma" Biswas Kuriyan was recognized as a World's Ahead graduate. She is the first doctoral candidate to complete the clinical science program in child and adolescent psychology at FIU. From her undergraduate days at the University of Rochester, Aparajita knew she wanted to pursue a career in child mental health.

She started her graduate studies at SUNY Buffalo under Dr. William E. Pelham, Jr. – the country’s top authority on ADHD and child mental health. In 2010, Dr. Pelham moved to Miami to establish FIU’s Center for Children and Families and start a clinical science program. Aparajita became part of the first cohort of this new mentor-based program at FIU. It is one of the few programs in the country with an emphasis on training clinical scientists in child and adolescent psychology.

Aparajita studies different aspects of ADHD research including young adult outcomes, child and adolescent treatment including school settings, and training professionals to work with children who have ADHD. Under Pelham’s guidance, she has published 12 peer-reviewed articles – two are first authored and all are published in high-impact journals. She has presented at annual conferences and secured funding from the American Psychological Association for her research. She was instrumental in developing the website in collaboration with the Society of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. The website offers video resources in English and Spanish for parents and professionals about evidence-based practices that promote child and adolescent mental health.

After graduation, Aparajita will continue to conduct research and educate mental health professionals and patients on the importance and benefits of using evidence-based treatments.

Jon Comer

Jon Comer has won the APA Committee on Children, Youth, and Families' early career award. He also has won this year’s Theodore Blau Early Career Award for Distinguished Contributions to Clinical Psychology. This is a very prestigious award from the major clinical division of APA. A presentation will be made honoring awardees during the Division 12's award ceremony at the 2015 APA Convention in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Leslie Fraizer

Leslie Fraizer was selected as the recipient of the UGS Provost Award for Outstanding Graduate Program Director. Leslie Frazier is the director of Graduate Programs for the Psychology Department, where a climate of collaboration has empowered students and faculty to work toward a shared purpose.

Frazier’s stewardship has contributed to many recent milestones, including the launch of the Cognitive Neuroscience Doctoral Training Program. The new training program, which will facilitate cutting-edge research and see its first cohort next Fall, is attracting top students from all over the world.

Frazier hopes to continue to raise the visibility and caliber of the doctoral training programs, nationally and internationally.

She also hopes to create more professional development opportunities for students so they can enter the job market with an advantage and become the next generation of scholars in the field of psychology.

For full FIU News story click here.

Sarah Helseth

Sarah Helseth, won the UGS Provost Award for Graduate Student Outstanding Paper. Her article “Effects of Behavioral and Pharmacological Therapies on Peer Reinforcement of Deviancy in Children with ADHD-Only, ADHD and Conduct Problems, and Controls,” published in 2014 in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, compared the unique and combined effects of evidence-based treatments for ADHD-stimulant medication and behavior modification on children’s rates of reinforcement for deviant peer behavior.

Overall, Helseth hopes her research will help improve social problem solving among disadvantaged kids from low-income neighborhoods. More specifically, her research aims to find ways to activate children as agents of change for other children.

Regarding her research Helseth says, “If we can find ways to activate an existing ‘workforce’ of kids and have them learn how to learn from each other in a positive and more structured way, it can open a lot of doors for kids who otherwise wouldn’t get services.”

For full FIU News story click here.

Michele Bechor

One of our clinical students, Michele Bechor, has won the highly competitive and prestigious Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) to fund her dissertation.

The purpose of the National Institute of Health (NIH) National Research Service Awards (NRSA) Program is to ensure highly trained scientists will be available in adequate numbers and in appropriate research areas to carry out the Nation's biomedical and behavioral research agenda. The NIH awards NRSA individual predoctoral fellowships (F31) to the most promising applicants nationwide based on their high potential for a career in research, a rigorous training plan and research project mentored by leading scientists, and high quality institutional support for career development. The predoctoral NRSA is highly competitive and prestigious, with less than 20% of applicants receiving funding. Thus, individuals who receive a predoctoral NRSA represent the 'brightest and best' doctoral student researchers who are on a fast track to independent research careers. Michele Bechor's recent NRSA is an endorsement of her outstanding qualities as a doctoral student and the outstanding training environment in the FIU Psychology Department and Clinical Science Doctoral Program.

Jon Comer

Jon Comer has won this year’s Theodore Blau Early Career Award for Distinguished Contributions to Clinical Psychology. This is a very prestigious award from the major clinical division of APA. A presentation will be made honoring awardees during the Division 12's award ceremony at the 2015 APA Convention in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Erika Coles, and Miguel and Feion Villodas

They received very substantial grants from the Children’s Trust for the Summer Treatment Program and for establishing a new after school program for at risk kids.

Ileana Pacheco-Colon and Tyler Plogher

Ileana Pacheco-Colon and Tyler Plogher, received the FIU's Presidential Fellowship. This is one of FIU's most prestigious awards for entering doctoral students. They will be awarded 30,000 annually for three years of their Ph.D. program. During their 3rd year, they will also hold a Graduate Teaching Assistantship in the Department of Psychology. The Department of Psychology will also provide additional support for research supplies, travel, etc.

Kat Hart and Paulo Graziano

They received 3-year Children’s Trust grants for nearly 275K per year for summer programs for preschool/young children at the Paul Bell STP site and in Liberty City.

Margaret Sibley

Margaret Sibley and her team received a 465,983 award from the National Institute of Mental Health. The title of her award is Effectiveness of MI Enhanced Behavior Therapy for Adolescents with ADHD.

Nadja Schreiber Compo

Dr. Schreiber Compo spent the summer speaking to several Florida criminal justice departments. She spoke at meetings including the International Association of Chiefs of Police’s Investigative Operations/Forensic Science Committees, the Forensic Services Bureau and Allegheny County Public Defender’s Office. At the meetings she discussed bias in forensic and criminal investigations. Dr. Schreiber Compo was also invited to train Miami-Dade Police Department homicide, special victims unit and robbery investigators on best practice witness and victim interviewing procedures.

Joe Raiker

He received an NIMH CHIPS fellowship. This is a very prestigious program, other colleagues accepted are from Columbia, Harvard, Temple, UCLA, UCSD, UW, Yale, Maryland, and Michigan. CHIPS (Child Intervention, Prevention & Services) is a dynamic interdisciplinary training consortium, created to bolster mental health research in the areas of intervention, prevention, and the provision of services for children and adolescents. Funded through a five year grant through the National Institute of Mental Health, CHIPS is hosted every year.

Archana Manapragada and Julie Lanz

Two I/O PhD students, Archana and Julie, have won the Society for Occupational Health Psychology travel awards to attend the Work, Stress, and Health conference in Atlanta this May! This is a competitive award and the applications were rated by 6 reviewers, members of the SOHP. They will be recognized at a ceremony in Atlanta and their names will also be posted on the society's website.

Alina Nazareth

Congratulations to Dr. Alina Nazareth, student of Dr. Pruden, on being recognized as a Worlds Ahead Graduate for summer 2015 commencement! This marks two Worlds Ahead graduates from CCF programs in as many commencements!