Fall 2006 Department Newsletter

Dr. Connie Pilkington, ChairGreetings from
the Chair





Dear Alumni and Friends,

It is hard for me to believe that I have just finished my first year as chair of the department. I won't deny the headaches, but I'm happy to say that the year has been filled mostly with achievement, pride, excitement, and learning!

The biggest news of the year has been the beginning of construction of the Integrated Science Building. The groundbreaking was in February, and construction work began in earnest in March. Since then, a lot of dirt has been moved around, some walls have been demolished, and finally some concrete is being poured. I decided early on to take photos from the window in the hall of the Psychology wing of Millington every day that I'm in the building.  I'm really looking forward to seeing the building emerge into view. We add new photos to the website every now and then so you can watch the progress with me if you'd like.  

We've been busy inside the department as well. Last fall, we developed an official Mission Statement. I think it nicely captures our long-standing philosophy of blending the work of undergraduate students, graduate students, and faculty to produce an invigorating environment for everyone. In the spring, Dean Sanderson asked us for some examples of graduate and undergraduate students working on research together. As I collected them, I became very impressed by our inclusive research endeavors. So much so that I asked our Research Committee to put together a report on what I call our “vertical integration” of research. The data are amazing! For instance, well over 100 undergraduates worked on independent (i.e., non-class related) research during the 2005-2006 academic year. And in the past five years, 21 articles published in scientific journals had undergraduates as co-authors, 25 had graduate students as co-authors, and 3 had both undergraduate and graduate student co-authors! I doubt that many others can boast with numbers like that! I invite you to read the whole report; I think you will be as excited by it as I am.

The 2006 Fall semester has begun and we've got plans for many initiatives. We are currently drafting a two-year plan that involves both curriculum and faculty development. We are welcoming two new faculty members to our ranks and will be searching for both a developmental psychologist and a social psychologist to add to the faculty in the fall of 2007. Yes, we're busting out at the seams. So one of my priorities as Chair is to find the means to finish the renovation of the Bell Building where we have begun to house some of our laboratories. Just the other day, I got a commitment from the College's Facilities Management folks to address some of the building's structural problems that have led to some serious water damage on the first floor. Now comes the task of finding the resources for the interior renovation. If you'd like to help, just let me know!

Please keep up with news from the Psychology Department by visiting our website.

“Dr. P”



Recent publications

We're a research active lot!! During the past year, faculty published over 20 articles in professional journals. to read descriptions of the work that are written in English (as opposed to "psychologese") and / or to find links to many of the articles themselves, click here.

Grants received

  • Professor Pamela Hunt, was recently awarded a 5-year Research Project grant from the National Institutes of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. The project's focus is to study memory deficits in an animal model of fetal alcohol syndrome, and to assess possible treatments for these cognitive impairments.
  • Bob Barnet (PI), along with Pam Hunt and Josh Burk (co-PIs), got news from the Virginia Tobacco Settlement Foundation that their grant was funded to the tune of $362,360 over three years.
  • Josh Burk, Bob Barnet, and Pam Hunt successfully obtained a third year of funding for a different project from the Virginia Tobacco Settlement Foundation!

  • Josh Burk received funding from Jeffress Memorial Trust for "Posterior Parietal Cortical Acetylcholine and Attention"

  • Peter Vishton received funding from National Institutes of Health for "Reaching as a Yardstick for Infant Gestalt Perception"

  • The Alzheimer's and Related Diseases Research Award Fund (ARDRAF) recently awarded grant funding to Professor Christine Jensen, Adjunct Psychology Professor, to conduct a study entitled: “Promoting an Effective Partnership between Families Coping with Alzheimer's Disease and Their Healthcare Providers.” Along with the College of William & Mary, this project is sponsored by the Center for Excellence in Aging and Geriatric Health as well as the Southeastern Virginia Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association. The study will identify the most critical needs of family caregivers as they interact with healthcare providers.


Honors and awards

New Hires

Danielle Dallaire
Prof. Danielle Dallaire

Temple University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Ph.D. Developmental Psychology
Pennsylvania State University, State College, Pennsylvania : B.A. in Psychology

Children's social and emotional development; how children's social and emotional development is impacted by infant-mother attachment security and positive and negative parenting behaviors particularly the effect of maternal incarceration on their children's social and emotional development. Developmental psychopathology and risk and resiliency in high-risk populations of children.

Jeanine Stefanucci
Prof . Jeanine Stefanucci

University of Virginia , Charlottesville , Virginia : Ph.D.
University of Virginia , Charlottesville , Virginia : M.A.
University of Virginia , Charlottesville , Virginia : B.A. in Psychology and Cognitive Science

-----------------------------RESEARCH INTERESTS
Perception of Spatial Layout, Emotion and Cognition/Perception, Episodic Memory Retrieval, Context-dependent Memory, Human- Computer Interfaces and Applied Psychology, Cognitive Neuroscience of Memory and Perception



Dr. Neill P. Watson Retired at the end of Spring 2006.

  .Neill Watson....

Dr. Neill P. Watson joined the Psychology family at the College of William & Mary in 1976. He received his B.A. in Psychology from Yale University and his Ph.D in Clinical Psychology and Public Practice from Harvard University. Among his many roles at the College he was Director of Clinical Psychology Training and Chair for Council of Directors for the Psy.D Program. Although Prof Watson will no longer be teaching for the department, he'll still be haunting Millington; he is planning on continuing his research interests full time for the next several years. His office is now in Bell Hall 301.

Freshman seminar topic

Visiting Associate Professor Doug Gross taught a new freshman seminar on Mental Illness and Society. The course description reads as follows: What is serious mental illness (SMI)? How are people with SMI perceived in American society today? How do these perceptions affect the care, treatment and rehabilitation of people with SMI? This seminar will study these questions by: (a) reviewing the history of the treatment of persons with SMI, (b) studying first person accounts of people with SMI and their families, (c) exploring the community mental health movement and the politics of mental health care, and (d) examining research methods used by psychologists and other mental health care professionals to study the causes and treatment of SMI.

Miscellaneous news

  • Professor Glenn Shean is on sabbatical during 2006-2007 academic year. Professor Lee Kirkpatrick is also on sabbatical and spending the year as a Research Fellow at the Center for Evolutionary Psychology at the University of California at Santa Barbara.
  • Dr Langholtz lead a small group of William & Mary students on a class trip to the United Nations. The day at the UN included a tour of the UN and the General Assembly. They sat in on a Security Council Meeting on small arms disarmament. They had a briefing by Mr. Sur and a briefing on UN reform by Mr. John Carpenter of the US Delegation to the United Nations. (click here for link to article)
  • A number of faculty in the psychology department are preparing to conduct experiments to measure the brain's response to certain kinds of stimuli. Newly acquired equipment purchased through the Dean's Equipment Trust Fund allows experimenters to observe the activity of the cerebral cortex—the surface of the brain—as a person responds to stimuli. Click here to read the article by Joe McClain, in the W&M News Mar 16, 2006, or here to see additional photos.


  • We are honored and very blessed to have had Kathy Morgan working for the Psychology Department for the last 20 years. She began in the basement (as the lab tech) on November 4, 1985 , and worked her way up to the 2nd floor (doing just about everything over the last 20 years). Currently she is the Fiscal Technician, but she does far more than just manage money around here. She is a joy to work with and her knowledge of department history is invaluable.

  • The Psychology Department has had the privilege of working with Barbara Pumilia for over 15 years. After starting as a temporary employee in 1990, Barbara was hired as a permanent part-time employee in July 1991. She administers the graduate MA program and plays a critical role in everything from welcoming our new graduate students to campus to helping them navigate the path toward thesis defense and graduation. She also assists faculty and undergraduate students on a daily basis. Most notable is Barbara's professional demeanor, patience, and graciousness. She sets the bar for excellence in customer service! Congratulations Barbara on over 15 outstanding years at W&M - it's OUR pleasure!

  • Melissa Keply left the animal care position to work as a family services counselor for Peninsula Memorial Park in Newport News. Although she is going to miss working here, she is excited about being able to use her MA in Psychology. We have hired Stacy Masters as the new animal care tech. Stacy was a temp in the payroll department for the past year and enjoyed working for the college so much that she wanted a permanent position. She loves working with animals so this posititon was a logical choice. One day she hopes to go back to school to become a veterinarian. Welcome aboard, Stacy, we're glad you are here.


Commencement news


Ψ Christopher Daryl Cameron
Ψ Ashley M. Glover
Ψ Robert G Franklin Jr.


Ψ Susannah Leigh Anderson
Ψ Lindsay Susan Young
Ψ Shawna Marie Kettyle
Ψ George Christopher Banks


Each year the Psychology Department selects graduating seniors to receive the Stan Williams Prize for Outstanding Psychology Major. Historically this award goes to "all-around" outstanding psychology students who have good grades, do excellent research and course work, and / or are involved in on / off-campus extracurricular and volunteer activities. This year our award recipients are:

Ψ.... Juliet Renee Aiken

Ψ.... Lauren Eileen Goldschmidt

Ψ.... Kelly Renee Jones


2006-2008 MA STUDENTS
This year we had 96 applications for the MA Program. The following seven students were accepted into our Graduate program:
Ψ Karen E. Boschen from VA
Ψ Natalie H. Brito from VA
Ψ Whitney G. Cole from OH
Ψ Mary E. Levillain from ND

Ψ Richard S. Pond, Jr. from VA
Ψ Shereen A. Singer from NJ
Ψ Laura C. Wilson from VA


Where did our graduating MAs go?

  • Emily Bell is working at the Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center at the Institute of Living on the "Aberrant Functional Connectivity in Psychosis" project, which basically exploring the differences between schizophrenic psychosis and bipolar psychosis. In the spring she will be moving with her lab (the Clinical Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory) to the MIND Institute in Albuquerque, NM.
  • Scott E. Cassidy is working as an Associate in the Organizational, Military, and Community Research (OMCR) practice group at Caliber/ICF Consulting in Fairfax , Va
  • Trey Causey is pursuing a PhD in Sociology at the University of Washington in Seattle
  • Allison Eden is pursuing a PhD in Communication at Michigan State University
  • Matt Howe is pursuing a PhD in Biopsychology and Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Michigan
  • Erik Pettersson is pursuing a Ph.D in clinical psychology program at UVA

News from graduating seniors and alumni

Current student news

  • Galano's Students Learn to Give Psychology Away

  • Maria Perez participated in an Adult Dolphin Research Lab at the Dolphin Research Center in Grassy Key, Florida for a week in June between her junior and senior year. She wrote the following about her experinece:
    Going into it, I was just so excited to be able to interact/swim with dolphins. Not only did I get to play and swim with dolphins, but I also got to participate in some of the cognitive and behavioral dolphin research at the center. I was also able to do breath rate data-collection and interact with trainers during signal sessions. The course specialized in research theory and methods, and there were also seminars in acoustic communication, cognitive research, and numerosity and object permanence with dolphins. I learned so much about dolphins and animal research in general. My psychology backround definitely came in handy. I had an awesome time and am so happy to have had this experience.

    Dolphin Dolphin training