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2019 Cohort Profiles

Madiha Ali

student

My research interests are in health psychology and cognitive neuroscience. I’m specifically interested in how health-related behaviors, such as exercise, meditation, and yoga, may affect executive function and nervous system function. My thesis project will focus on the relationship between restorative yoga and executive functioning. After earning my Master’s, I plan to pursue a PhD. Ultimately, I would like to be a professor and run my own research lab.

Supervisor: Dr. Oberle

Kennedy Anderson

student

My research interests are primarily in neuropsychological assessment and the diagnosis and treatment of brain injury and neurodegenerative disease. I would like to conduct research on how we can improve the efficiency of neuropsychological assessment while also preserving test integrity. While at Texas State University, I plan to work on expanding the battery of tests for assessing sports concussion and improve the return-to-play protocol for concussed athletes. I specifically want to explore olfactory performance as a potential assessment of sports concussion and predictor of recovery outcomes. In the future I plan to pursue a PhD in Clinical Neuropsychology.

Supervisor: Dr. Etherton

Ian Armstrong

student

In general, I am interested in social psychology, evolutionary psychology, and industrial/organizational psychology. More specifically, I am focusing on interpersonal attraction. For my thesis project, I am conducting an experiment to study interpersonal attraction as a function of attitude similarity and the social class in which one was raised. Upon completion of my master’s degree, I would like to conduct psychological research for a private firm or enroll in an industrial/organizational psychology master’s program.

Supervisor: Dr. Davis

Charles Cox

student

I am generally interested in the fields of social psychology and personality psychology. My thesis research will focus on social facilitation and the effects it has on activities such as online video gaming. I want to expand research on how the internet shapes our minds. I’m also hoping to research how personality traits are influenced using technology. My career goal is to become a personality psychology professor.

Supervisor: Dr. Mendez

Kathrin Gibson

student

My research interests are a combination of social and clinical psychology. Specifically, I am interested in the effect that social media has on self-esteem, body satisfaction, and other psychological aspects of the self. I am particularly interested in the topics of the pro-anorexia movement and related media trends. In the future I hope to pursue a doctoral degree and continue research within an academic setting.

Supervisor: Dr. Graham

Dominique Gutierrez

student

My research interests are based in the field of forensic psychology. Namely, I am interested in the relationship between psychopathology, lying tendencies, and the motivating factors behind a psychopath’s lie. My overall goal is to examine the way these factors affect a psychopath’s likelihood to end up in a position of power. For my thesis, I hope to study which situations will be most likely to prompt a lie in a psychopath, and how those lies make them feel.

Supervisor: Dr. Warnell

Genesis Hernandez

student

My research interests lie in stress and trauma coping mechanisms, behavior development and treatment efficiency. For my thesis, I will be examining how college students’ mental and physical health differ based on their adaptive and maladaptive coping strategies with stress. I plan to pursue a PhD in either clinical psychology or counseling psychology after completing the Psychological Research MA program. I hope to have the opportunity to contribute in recidivism treatment programs by using the Risk-Need-Responsivity model in treatment to address risk levels, criminogenic needs and learning abilities of offenders.

Supervisor: Dr. Howard

Michaela Jefferson

student

My current research interests focus on a combination of human sexuality, cognitive psychology, and cross-cultural psychology. I am interested in understanding how pop culture phenomena such as technology, fashion, entertainment, etc., can play a role in certain cognitive processes related to sexual consent and sexual behavior, while also comparing this across cultures. I will conduct my thesis on dating apps and how they can influence one’s comprehension of sexual consent. My goal is to investigate potential problems with current dating apps and redesign them in a way that could make consent clearer and reduce the amount of sexual misunderstandings and assaults that occur each year. I believe that rape culture is a big issue right now, especially in the U.S., and I have made it my mission to help change that problem through legislation and education. Once I have completed the Master of Arts in Psychological Research program, I want to go into a Ph.D. program, and eventually become a professor so that I can conduct research as well as pass on my knowledge about psychology to students.

Supervisor: Dr. Graham

Taylor McDonald

My research interests focus on cognitive neuroscience and human development, specifically investigating how our thoughts and behaviors change as we age. Currently I am working on a study that examines the perceived efficacy of rituals when presented with different levels of background information. After I complete the Master of Arts in Psychological Research program, I plan to apply for a Ph.D. program to continue developing my research interests. My professional goals are to work within the academia setting as a professor while maintaining an active involvement in research.

Supervisor: Dr. Clegg

Breanna Moran

student

My research interests are in cognitive, social, and neuropsychology. I am interested in studying whether a preventative orientation or self-regulatory behaviors are most effective at decreasing stress individually or in combination. After earning my master’s, I plan on joining the military and later returning to earn my PhD.

Supervisor: Dr. Mendez

Yoshua Morin

student

One of the most fascinating aspects of information processing is the ability to make accurate decisions about another person’s emotional experiences--and the resulting cognitive and behavioral outcome. A critical source of influence across our conscious experience is aggression—an unpredictable motivational drive. Currently, my primary research interest aims to understand the relationship between frontal cortical regions and appetitive vs. withdraw approaches in relation to aggression. Furthermore, I would like to continue exploring neuropsychological functions in order to understand and detect individual brain differences not only in aggression but also in impulsivity and deviant behaviors, contributing to the development of behavior prediction models. My goal in this research is to improve and influence public laws and policies as well as adequately select or create appropriate intervention strategies based on these research findings. I plan to pursue a Ph.D. after the completion of my master's degree.

Supervisor: Dr. Graham

Ashley Myers

student

I have many research interests, including behavioral neuroscience, developmental psychology, and clinical psychology. I am broadly interested in certain disorders such as autism, schizophrenia, anxiety, and depression and how they relate to one another. Additionally, I am interested in how self-esteem, self-perception, social interaction, and overall daily activities affect an individual’s ability to be a productive member of society when they are living with a mental or developmental disorder. My overall goal as a researcher is to improve the lives of people who live with these disorders by providing them with new, helpful information. For my master’s thesis, I plan on researching prosocial lying in typical children and children with autism spectrum disorder. After I complete my master’s degree at Texas State, I would like to purse a doctorate degree and either become a university professor or a clinical psychologist at a state hospital.

Supervisor: Dr. Warnell

Macy Myers

student

My primary research focus is regarding body-focused repetitive behavior (BFRB), which includes compulsive hair-pulling and skin-picking. My goal is to identify subgroups of the disorder and further improve diagnosis and treatment. Other areas of interest to me are OCD, anxiety disorders, and mental health stigma within first response communities. After completion of the MAPR program, I plan on obtaining my Ph.D. and becoming a licensed psychologist.

Supervisor: Dr. De Nadai

Cara Petrofes

My research interests are currently in the realm of social psychology, specifically within social cognition. Previously, I have done work to understand the risk factors that are associated with individuals developing problematic internet use. From this work, I became interested in better understanding the growing and ever-evolving domain of social media and the impact it has on individuals. My future research will focus on the physiological responses to social media posts, and the potential influence of empathy and emotional intelligence on this response. I aim to expand this research into the neurological world post-graduation, looking further into the specific physiological mechanisms that mediate and influence an individual’s response to social media.

Supervisor: Dr. Ceballos

Kristen Hardin-Sigler

I am interested in researching Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Specifically, I am interested in investigating non-medicinal interventions for the behavioral manifestations associated with Alzheimer’s disease, as well as the effects of behavioral manifestations on primary caregivers. My end goal is to find easy and accessible ways for caregivers to manage the behavioral symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and improve the quality of life for those afflicted with the disease. After completing my degree at Texas State, I plan to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Neuropsychology.

Supervisor: Dr. Deason