Undergraduate and Graduate Psychology Awards 2020

May 7, 2020

Congratulations to all the undergraduate and graduate psychology award winners!

Undergraduate Awards 

Judge Julian Beck Award 

This award is given to a student with an exceptional scholastic record as demonstrated with a G.P.A. of 3.5 or higher and service to the Psychology Department such as through the honors society Psi Chi or participating as a Peer Educator through one of the university’s psycho-educational programs.  This is an undergraduate student who shows extremely high potential as a graduate student through these accomplishments. Named in honor of Judge Julian Beck, who was an early advocate for a State University in the San Fernando Valley and a long-time supporter of San Fernando Valley State/CSUN.

Jean Pauline

Jean Pauline Serrano  

Nominated by Dr. Scott W. Plunkett

Jean Pauline Serrano is very deserving of the Judge Julian Beck Award. As an Honors in Psychology B.A. student (minor in CADV), she has earned a 4.0 GPA. I had her in 5 classes (top 5% in three classes, highest grade in two classes - impressive!!!). In my classes, she was always helping and tutoring other students. Beyond her outstanding academics, Pauline has been an active participant in THREE research labs in the Psychology Department; usually simultaneously. She has presented at national conferences and on campus (winning first place poster presentation). At the CSUN Learning Resource Center, Pauline started as a supplemental instructor and then became an assistant coordinator. Thus, she teaches Math 140 SI: Statistics, and she trains and manages over 80 supplemental instructors (Wow!). As a senior fellow for CAPS, she provided emotional and academic support to psychology students. She was also a peer mentor for students in an Asian American Studies course, a teaching assistant for a senior-level, psychology course, and a volunteer with the Crisis Text Line and at her church. At CSUN, she was a University Scholar and Presidential Scholar (outstanding!). For most of her bachelor’s, she also worked in retail and provided private tutoring. When did she sleep?!?!?! Even with all these competing obligations, she was always smiling, and she helped bring joy and humor to my classes and lab. She starts the Psychological Sciences M.A. program in Fall 2020, and then she will complete a Ph.D. and become a university professor. Congratulations Pauline! 

Delmar Nicks Award

This award is given to a student who has shown exceptional scholarship and some service to the Department of Psychology.  Scholarship includes involvement of research and presentation of the work through professional conferences or publication.  Service includes activities such as involvement working with Psi Chi honors society or participating as a Peer Educator through one of the university’s psycho-educational programs.  Named in honor of Dr. Delmar Nicks, who was one of the CSUN founding faculty in 1958.

Daniel SaraviaDaniel Saravia       

Nominated by Dr. Jonathan Martinez & Dr. Bradley McAuliff

Daniel Saravia embodies the essence of the Delmar Nicks Award. He is a first-generation Latino student who will be the first in his family to graduate from college. As a BUILD-PODER scholar, Daniel’s research with Drs. Martinez and McAuliff has focused on helping underrepresented and vulnerable populations. He has presented his work on racial/ethnic disparities in mental health treatment and interviewing child maltreatment victims at national conferences, and received first-place for his oral presentation at CSUNposium last year. He was accepted into two highly competitive research training programs: the Access Path to Psychology and Law Experience (APPLE), sponsored by the American Psychology-Law Society, and the Summer Multicultural Advanced Research Training (SMART) Program, where he worked with Dr. Wagner in the Public Health Department, University of North Texas. Daniel is humble, kind, observant, professional, and has a warm sense of humor. His unwavering work ethic and sense of responsibility have made him an excellent research mentee. We are fortunate that Daniel will continue his academic journey in CSUN’s Clinical Psychology Master’s Program next fall. We have all the confidence that he will achieve his goal of becoming a tenure-track professor, with a research program that aims to reduce stigma, increase mental health literacy, and implement culturally-responsive treatments for ethnic minorities.

Robert Dear Quantitative Research Award

This award is given to a student who has completed outstanding scholarship utilizing quantitative methods of data analysis through research or has demonstrated mastery of quantitative techniques in undergraduate coursework, as evidenced by dissemination of relevant research or scholastic performance in the relevant course. Named in honor of Dr. Robert Dear who taught rigorous psychology undergraduate statistical courses in the Psychology Department.

Indira MartinezIndira A. Martinez-Dubon        

Nominated by Dr. Scott W. Plunkett

Indira Martinez-Dubon is very deserving of the Robert Dear Quantitative Psychology Award. When she started in psychology, I am pretty certain this is not an award she thought she would get; but, here she is rocking the stats! and “research” is her middle name! As an undergraduate, Indira took univariate statistics, multivariate statistics, and archival data; oh, and jazz dance and urban street dancing. She’s lucky this is online, otherwise I would have her bust some dance moves,...uh, demonstrate her quantitative skills. As a lab supervisor in the Adolescent and Adult Adjustment Research Lab, she helped train, supervise, and mentor 40+ graduate and undergraduate research assistants (RAs). She taught students how to conduct various statistics and code qualitative data, and she helped coordinate data collection from over 1000 participants (on campus, online). She has presented at national conferences, co-authored a research monograph for the Psychology Department, and will be publishing in a peer-reviewed journal. Had the COVID-19 pandemic not occurred (stupid virus!), she would be co-presenting a study at a national conference comparing correlations, regressions, path analyses, SEM, and dominance analyses with highly correlated predictors. Indira is a BUILD PODER scholar ( who has a strong commitment and dedication to a scientific career, which coincides with her goals to complete a Ph.D. and become a faculty member where she can conduct research and mentor students from underrepresented groups. Indira’s husband, kids, and mother have been a great support and helped make this possible! Congratulations Indira! OGBG!!! (inside joke).

Madeline AwadMadeline Awad    

Nominated by Dr. Stefanie Drew

Madeline “Mady” Awad truly embodies the mission of the Robert Dear Quantitative Research Award, to recognize a student that has demonstrated mastery of quantitative techniques in undergraduate coursework, as evidenced by dissemination of relevant research .  Through her work in my Visual Information Sciences and Neuroscience (VISN) lab, Mady has embraced the challenges of research and truly excelled.  She has become deeply involved in multiple research projects that include examining asthenopia, or visual discomfort, and transference of learning of skills trained in virtual reality.  She has presented her work at annual meetings of Society for Neuroscience (SFN) and Association for Psychological Science (APS).  She was also awarded first place in the undergraduate presentation division of the CSUNposium research competition.  Mady was also selected as a Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) Fellow, and subsequently as a Maximizing Access to Research Careers (MARC) Fellow, competitive research training programs funded by the National Institutes of Health.   She was also awarded one of the prestigious Sally Casanova Pre-doctoral Scholarships. Most recently, she is the second author on a manuscript recently accepted for publication in Frontiers in Sports and Active Living-Movement Science and Sport Psychology. These accomplishments are accompanied by an equally notable academic record, as Mady has maintained an impressive 3.94 GPA across her coursework.  Mady will be attending Northwestern University in the fall to pursue her doctorate.

Richard Coleman Award

This award is given to a student who has demonstrated high scholarship and an exceptional record of service to the Department of Psychology, University, and/or community. The award is named in honor of Dr. Richard Coleman, who was a disabled war veteran and developed a tutoring program for undergraduate students taking statistics and research methods. He was on campus full-time and when he was not teaching, he spent many hours tutoring students who needed assistance with statistics.

Mayra Rendon LopezMayra Rendon-Lopez             

Nominated by Dr. Elise Fenn

I had the pleasuring of getting to know Mayra while working in our Fellowship Mentoring program, wherein Mayra was a Senior Fellow (peer mentor). I can say without hesitation that Mayra is the most active current Senior Fellow. Mayra is consistently going “above and beyond” with her mentees in working towards building a strong community for psychology majors. Mayra is keenly aware of the unique and rich experiences of college students from diverse backgrounds and applies this knowledge effectively in her mentoring. For example, she recognized that herself and many peers needed additional support while applying for graduate programs. Noticing this, she created weekly support group meetings for students applying. Mayra also took lead on creating a new club dedicated to enhancing community and providing support for students. Because of her efforts, the club was acknowledged by the university as a legitimate organization. But wait…there’s more! Here are a few other highlights of Mayra’s service: In Spring of 2019, she volunteered as a Peer Academic Coach. Based on her work, Mayra was invited to serve in an advising position in the Educational Opportunities Program (EOP) office. She is also a peer educator for Project D.A.T.E. Her academic accomplishments are equally impressive: Mayra works as a research assistant with Dr. Holli Tonyan, maintained a 3.9 GPA at CSUN, and was recently accepted to a Counseling Master’s program, where she is pursuing a degree in counseling with the long-term goal of being an academic advisor!

Undergraduate Service Award

This award is given to the undergraduate student who has made the most notable contribution to the well-being of the local community through volunteer, psychology-related service, or research.

Emma JoseyEmma Josey  
Nominated by Dr. Stephanie Hood

Emma served as the President of the Student Association for Behavior Analysis. She has led networking and mentoring events, brown-bag presentations, awareness events, and student job expos. Emma has served as a mentor to other undergraduate students interested in the field of behavior analysis. Emma has also provided clinical services through the Social Skills Assessment Intervention and Learning or SSAIL clinic here at CSUN. She volunteered in this position for 10 hours a week for the past 2 years. She has helped children and young adults develop skills to meet their goals to make friends and have meaningful relationships. Her clients have enjoyed working with Emma. Emma was also the president of her sorority Tri Delta. She has arranged many community service events and community engagement events. Our psychology department, university, and community have been enhanced through Emma’s service work.

Miguel PalaciosMiguel Palacios 

Nominated by Dr. Jonathan Martinez & Dr. Elise Fenn

I was thrilled to nominate Miguel for the Undergraduate Service Award. Miguel is incredibly involved in serving his peers through several on-campus peer mentorship programs, including the Male Minority Mentoring (M3) program, MenCare, and as a peer mentor (senior fellow) in the Psychology Department’s CAPS program. Miguel told me that his goal with working in these programs is giving back to his community and providing support to other first-generation college students that have similar experiences. I supervised Miguel during his time as a senior fellow. Miguel was engaging, thoughtful, genuine, and sharp. He is constantly wanting to better himself to better his community around him. He is a delight to know, and I’m eager to observe the ways that Miguel will continue creating positive changes.  

Miguel Palacios is very deserving and embodies the essence of the Undergraduate Service Award. Miguel is extremely active in our Department, College, and University, where I continually see him at events and initiatives on campus and outside of campus. Importantly, he integrates his fellow students into these activities and makes them feel comfortable with attending. Interpersonally, he is a social butterfly, amicable, approachable, and humble, yet assertive. Notably, Miguel has had to balance several academic, familial, and personal responsibilities, and overcome many obstacles that many other students in his position have not had to encounter. His resiliency and work-ethic shine through. I am confident he will continue his exceptional service at CSU Dominguez Hills, where he was accepted into the Clinical Psychology MA program.

Zak PeetJared "Zak" Peet        

Nominated by Dr. Yolanda Vasquez-Salgado 

I was very excited about nominating Jared Zak Peet for this award! Zak is a well-rounded NIH BUILD PODER Scholar that has maintained exceptional grades and engaged in meaningful research, all while giving back to his community. If one takes a moment to reflect on Zak’s service to his community, it is truly inspiring.

Zak is a very kind individual, with a goal to always give to others. He is a mentor to several individuals on and off campus, and for the past several years, Zak has been running his own non-profit where he creates and distributes gift packets to homeless individuals. He has given various workshops surrounding the theory and function of mindfulness in our research laboratory as well as in his community. More recently, Zak helped prepare and deliver a workshop to his peers at CSUN CAPS on how to give an excellent poster presentation. His program of research, of which he is very passionate about, also has implications for his community. He recently discovered that mindfulness protects underrepresented minority youth against the negative effects of cultural mismatch during the transition to college. Zak’s ultimate goal is to use his knowledge base and findings surrounding mindfulness to devise and implement interventions that can aid youth in overcoming barriers and becoming successful.

Taken together, everything that Zak does has a connection to giving back to his community. He is very deserving of this award and I am very proud of him for all that he has accomplished. Congratulations, Zak!!!

Undergraduate Qualitative Research Award

This award is given to a student who has completed outstanding scholarship utilizing qualitative methods of data analysis through research or has demonstrated mastery of quantitative techniques in undergraduate coursework, as evidenced by dissemination of relevant research or scholastic performance in the relevant course.

Gabriella MendozGabriella Mendoza                 

Nominated by Dr. Omar Ruvalcaba

In her first semester, Gabby showed a clear passion for research. She began her work in the Technology and Education in Cultural Context (TECC) lab by submitting a poster on a study where she used deductive coding to analyze first-generation Latina students’ participation in classroom settings. Since then, Gabby has presented at countless conferences, including the Western Psychological Association and the American Psychological Association. Her training spans qualitative interview skills that included interviewing, survey data, deductive coding, thematic analysis, and grounded theory. She helped develop coding manuals and training manuals as well. In addition to her lab work, Gabby has exceeded the major research training requirements by taking additional qualitative and quantitative classes, including a graduate-level quantitative courses and a grounded theory course. Gabby was always eager to help fellow students across and did so in various ways. She helped train incoming TECC lab students and led various workshops on qualitative analysis. Gabby's drive for research led her to a summer research internship at Michigan State University, where she worked in the Communication Department with Dr. Gwen Wittenbaum. She applied her qualitative skills to develop questions to examine the relationships between a sense of belonging and students feeling instrumental in research laboratories. One of her many achievements includes best 3-minute oral presentation at CSUNposium. 

Undergraduate Behavior Analysis Research Award 

This award is granted to an undergraduate student who has conducted outstanding scholarship in Behavior Analysis.  This student has utilized experimental research methodology (single-subject or group design) to answer a socially significant research question.

Saba M.Saba Mahmoudi         

Nominated by Dr. Tara Fahmie    

 Congratulations Saba on this well-deserved award! You have been a constant source of support and inspiration in the Functional Assessment and Healthy Behaviors (FAHB) lab. Your quick mastery of behavior analytic concepts and experimental design made you an exceptional research assistant. With each new semester, we gave you more challenging responsibilities, and you continued to rise to (and often exceed) every challenge we presented. Your unique interests in behavioral economics, and your ability to independently navigate that rather dense literature, resulted in your proposal of a new line of research in our lab. You constructed a very cool study that is the first of its kind with human child participants. Your study explored the effects of delay exposure training on impulsive choice-making. I was very excited to see the outcomes! Despite the abrupt halt to your data collection due to the virus, your tremendous growth as a researcher will surely pave the path for future success with behavioral economic research. Saba, you are on a wonderful and impactful trajectory and I am honored to have been a small part of it. Congratulations on all of your many accomplishments at CSUN!!


Graduate Awards

Garine Melconian Psychology

Christina WarnerChristina Warner 

This endowment provided a scholarship award for a graduate student in the Applied Behavior Analysis Master’s program, who aspires to obtain a graduate degree in applied behavior analysis (ABA) at the University. This individual demonstrated a concern for others and a dedication to making meaningful change through the application of behavior analysis. The recipient has demonstrated their participation in, leadership of, and/or personal commitment to educational change in K-12 schools. The endowment was established by Alex Melconian and named in honor of his late wife, Garine Melconian, to inspire others to continue her dedication to behavior analytic interventions with youth who are disadvantaged.




William Wilsoncroft Award

 Named in honor of Professor William Wilsoncroft, who taught in the Psychology Department for over 30 years, this award is designed to be the most prestigious graduate award reserved for a student in the area of General Experimental Psychology who has demonstrated exceptional academic achievements. This student shows high potential in continuing his/her education in a doctoral program.

Rob MontgomeryRob Montgomery   

Nominated by Dr. Abe Rutchick      

He is stunningly talented. I joked, once, that if we were to switch bodies in a “Freaky Friday”-style scenario, he would probably do most aspects of my job better than I do. I made this joke the first month he was in the program. (Please don’t tell the Provost I said that.)

He also appears to know virtually everything, which is alarming. His knowledge extends both within and beyond his fields of scholarly emphasis, encompassing everything from the latest research on maladaptive cell phone use to the manifestos of hypermasculine self-help gurus. I find myself wanting to prepare for our meetings to make sure I don’t seem ignorant.

And he is accomplished. While here, he spearheaded half a dozen large-scale studies, presented posters and talks at a wide range of conferences, independently forged active collaborations with researchers at Harvard, UPenn, UC Irvine, UCSD, and UCLA, and carried out the most ambitious thesis project I’ve ever seen. He is filled with curiosity and has a near-limitless capacity for work.

Moreover, this brilliance comes with earnestness, humility, openness, generosity, and a fine singing voice.

It’s a good thing that it’s so hard to imagine my lab without him, because the prospect is terrifying. Rob, I appreciate everything you’ve done for me and everyone else in the lab – it’s been a joy to work with you, and I’m excited to see what comes next.

Robert Rainey Award 

This award is given to the most outstanding student in Clinical Psychology. Named in honor of Dr. Robert Rainey, who helped develop the Clinical Psychology Program.  This award recognizes a student who represents the highest levels of academic, research, and clinical skills.

Shayna GreenbergShayna Greenberg    

Nominated by Drs. Luciana Lagana` & Scott Plunkett

Shayna is very deserving of the Robert Rainey Award, which honors the most outstanding student in clinical psychology. She has consistently demonstrated the highest levels of academic, research, and clinical skills. She has three peer-reviewed publications and has co-presented several conference presentations. Shayna is in two research labs at CSUN and has worked in research labs at UCLA. As a lab supervisor in Dr. Lagana’s lab (i.e., Adult Behavioral Medicine Lab), she co-authored several manuscripts to be submitted for peer-reviewed publication and co-authored (with Dr. Lagana`) a peer-reviewed article on the health challenges of older, ethnically diverse, gender, and sexual minorities. In Dr. Plunkett’s lab, she has conducted quantitative, qualitative, and evaluation research focusing on stigmatized and disadvantaged adolescents as well as emerging adults. She is co-authoring a manuscript examining the validity of widely used depression and anxiety scales in heterosexual men, gay men, heterosexual women, and lesbian women. Shayna has worked as a mental health advocate for at-risk youth, and she is a clinic coordinator for Behavior Tech Solutions. She has been involved in two CSUN clinics (i.e., Anxiety & Mood Clinic and the Assessment Clinic). Also, she has been active in university groups, such as Psi Chi Honor Society and Nerdfighters (providing safe space for university students). Shayna has taught an introduction to psychology course as part of the teaching internship program, and she is a graduate teaching assistant for a gerontology class. She will be starting her Ph.D. in clinical psychology in Fall 2020. Congratulations to Shayna!

Clinical Scientist Award

This award is given to the student in the clinical psychology graduate program who best represents the combination of clinical and applied research.  Students who have demonstrated outstanding research and statistical skills in clinically-relevant research projects of theses are awarded this honor. 

Crystal VenegasCrystal Venegas                     

Nominated by Drs. Meeta Banerjee, Jonathan Martinez & Gabriela Chavira 

 Crystal Venegas is very deserving and embodies the essence of this award. This is a continuation of her academic excellence, as she graduated Cum Laude at CSUN with her double Bachelors in Psychology and in Child Adolescent Development. This award is an excellent fit for Crystal given her academic success through prestigious awards, including the NSF-GRFP and the CSU Predoctoral Scholarship, her demonstrated competence in research, and her commitment to a career in Psychology. This is all the more impressive because Crystal was an adolescent teen mother who has surpassed the odds and barriers presented in her path as she has journeyed on her way as a scholar, researcher, and scientist at CSUN. Crystal has strong intellectual abilities, motivation and drive, and is a rising scientist. It is no surprise that she moves forward in her future endeavors in the Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program at UCLA. There is no doubt that she will achieve her goal of being a professor/scientist that examines cultural and structural barriers that lead to poor mental health outcomes and mental health service underutilization in racial/ethnic minority youth and families. In her journey, she has become the ultimate role model for her daughter and many students at CSUN. We are all proud to have mentored Crystal and share a part of her journey.

Scholar/Practitioner Award in Clinical Psychology

This award is given to a student who has demonstrated outstanding clinical skills that are informed by scholarly work. This award acknowledges graduate students with a particular interest in application of clinical psychology and therapeutic techniques. It is given to a student who has demonstrated excellent scholastic achievement and has also shown outstanding competence in assessment, engagement, and application of theoretical strategies in serving clients’ needs in an ethical, culturally-sensitive manner. 

James HodginsJames Hodgins                       

Nominated by Drs. Scott W. Plunkett, Gary S. Katz, and Maura Mitrushina 

James Hodgins is very deserving of the Scholar/Practitioner Award in Clinical Psychology. James worked 5 years as a mental health worker for the Canadian Mental Health Association and 3 years in a community living facility with adults with intellectual disabilities. He has also been a clinical intern with two clinics at CSUN (i.e., Anxiety & Mood Clinic, Assessment Clinic). As a lab supervisor in the Adolescent and Adult Adjustment Research Lab, James has helped train and supervise over 40 graduate and undergraduate research assistants. He has presented at national conferences, co-authored a research monograph for the Psychology Department, and co-authored a manuscript that examines the psychometric properties and validity of widely used depression and anxiety scales in case-control matched samples of heterosexual and gay men and heterosexual and lesbian women. He has given wonderful guest lectures on dialectical behavior therapy, and he has been a teaching assistant for a senior-level counseling class and a junior-level research methods class. He is a student who starts papers/projects on the first day they are assigned (yeah, he is THAT guy), receives top scores on exams and assignments (ugh!), and is almost always one of the top students in each class (good grief!). And yet, he has such a charming, warm, and friendly personality, and is always willing to help other students be more successful, so you JUST HAVE to like him! He will be starting his Ph.D. in clinical psychology in Fall 2020. Congratulations James! 

Graduate Qualitative Research Award

Katherine MorainKatherine Morain                    

Nominated by Dr. Luciana Lagana`

Katherine plans to become a pain psychologist; she strongly believes in the value of using qualitative data to help pain patient populations. Since joining my research lab in 2017, she has co-presented several posters on topics including the multiple challenges related to living with a physical disability, as well as the cognitive and psychological difficulties faced by older adults. Katherine has also spent several hours per week working at USC on data collection and preparation for a large pain dataset. In my lab, she helped me assemble a complex qualitative and quantitative dataset on a sample of over 100 older women living with chronic pain. She worked hard to carefully verify, clean, code, and recode the quantitative and qualitative data, in preparation for the data analyses for her thesis. She is finalizing the findings on the qualitative part of this dataset, which will be included in the article stemming from her thesis, which will cover several facets of pain in older age (both qualitatively and qualitatively), e.g., pain causes, pain management, reasons for selecting a certain pain treatment, and other qualitative information on comorbid physical illness and psychopathology (stemming from a complex interview protocol). This information will allow Katherine to paint a complex picture of the chronic pain experience of older women. Her thesis is an innovative investigation; to my knowledge, there are no studies of this kind published in the ethnogeriatric literature. Congratulations to Katherine!

Graduate Service Award

This award is given to the graduate student (in any area) who has made the most notable contribution to the well-being of the local community through volunteer, psychology-related service, or research. 

Natasha FeldmanNatasha Feldman                   

Nominated by Dr. Bradley McAuliff

Natasha Feldman is incredibly deserving of the Graduate Service Award. She is passionately devoted to serving people with disabilities and vulnerable populations. Natasha double-majored in Psychology and Deaf Studies as an undergraduate and is fluent in American Sign Language. Much of her service has drawn on her ability to communicate with the Deaf population. She has volunteered for the Special Olympic Summer Games for the past sixteen years, serving as a “hugger” and interpreting for Deaf athletes. She has worked with parents of Deaf children at the LAUSD Early Start Family Day and also volunteers for Project Angel Food, a nonprofit organization that prepares meals for people with life threatening illnesses. Natasha describes her service as “some of the happiest, most fulfilling experiences” of her lifetime. In addition to directly serving others, Natasha’s vigorously pursued a research program that aims to improve Deaf child maltreatment victims’ experiences in the legal system. She has presented her work locally, receiving first-place at the CSU Honors Conference, and nationally at the American Psychology-Law Society conference. Natasha’s research is transformative because Deaf children are at greater risk of maltreatment and may be victimized again by a legal system that is largely insensitive to their special needs. Accomplishments and accolades aside, Natasha is an extremely kind, thoughtful, friendly, and unassuming young woman. We will miss her positive presence on campus next year but are certain she will continue to create positive change in the world after graduating from the Clinical Psychology Master’s Program.

Roger Moss Teaching Award

This award is named in honor of Professor Roger Moss, who started the Teacher Intern Program in 1968. Professor Moss was on the faculty at CSUN for over 40 years and inspired many students through his teaching and compassion. This award is conferred to a student who has demonstrated outstanding teaching skills in department intern programs (e.g., TIP, TRP, STP).

Essence WilsonEssence Wilson      

Nominated by Gidget Brogdon & Dr. Gabriela Chavira

Professor Roger Moss created TIPs nearly 50 years ago to foster generations of responsive, diverse, and caring instructors. From the outset, Essence has embodied the true characteristics of a TIPer. 

Gidget had the opportunity to work with and watch as Essence grew and developed as an instructor of Introductory Psychology over the past year.  From the summer training to these past few weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic, Essence met each challenge with grace and a positive attitude.  She has been successful at reaching her goal of being an instructor that is inclusive of all students, no matter their background or learning style.  She is connected to her students, learning their names and using them while getting to know them during class and office hours.  She has integrated multiple different teaching modalities striving to reach students in ways to best meet their needs.  She applies the material in such a way that they are able to connect to it personally and therefore not just learning but understanding the concepts.  

 Dr. Moss was a caring and compassionate professor that everyone trusted and counted on.  Essence emulates those things and we are sure that Roger would be proud to know that she has excelled in TIPs.

 Essence continues her academic journey at USC in Fall 2020 in the Mass Media and Communication Ph.D. program. She will have the opportunity to teach while there. They are so fortunate to have her. Essence, we are so proud of you!

Scientist-Practitioner Award in Behavioral Psychology

This award is granted to the most outstanding graduate student in the area of Behavioral Clinical Psychology. The student has demonstrated outstanding clinical skills in conducting assessments and providing treatments that are conceptually systematic with Applied Behavior Analysis, guided by the profession’s code of ethics, and informed by empirical evidence.

Alyssa RojasAlyssa Rojas    

Nominated by Dr. Tara Fahmie

Alyssa, I am beaming with pride in your accomplishments these past two years. Your strengths as both a team player and leader of the Functional Assessment and Healthy Behavior (FAHB) lab and the Taking Steps Together partnership are immeasurable and greatly appreciated by myself and your peers. You think critically, establish great rapport with stakeholders, respond to even the most critical feedback without missing a beat, find creative solutions to problems, and serve as a wonderful role model to everyone around you (from the preschool kids to the 1st year grads)! This past year, you managed a study that was bigger than my dissertation. It tackled many deficits in current research on the prevention of problem behavior and has a high likelihood of moving behavior analysis forward in this area. On top of that, you had a job as a behavior interventionist for children with ASD, provided services to typical preschoolers who needed support, commuted from Long Beach to Northridge daily, and completely one of the most rigorous Masters programs in the area. You. Are. Awesome. The teachers at Pacoima Charter School lit up when I mentioned this award nomination because they all feel you are THE perfect candidate for “scientist-practitioner” of the year. Stay FAHB-ulous in your doctoral program…I know you will!                      

Graduate Behavior Analysis Research Award

This award is granted to a graduate student who has conducted outstanding scholarship in Behavior Analysis.  This student has utilized experimental research methodology (single-subject or group design) to answer a socially significant research question.

Sylvia AquinoSylvia Aquino    

Nominated by Dr. Stephanie Hood 

Sylvia is smart, motivated, and highly energetic and enthusiastic about behavior analysis. Sylvia has taken the lead in developing a new research protocol tackling complex verbal behavior. Sylvia rose to this challenge. She worked to develop a sound research protocol with a deep understanding of the conceptual analysis of advanced verbal behavior. Sylvia’s project is a thorough and extensive project for a master’s student. As Bijou’s (1968) seminal article suggests, descriptive assessments can be used to identify social norms and inform experimental analyses aimed at ameliorating clinical concerns. Sylvia’s research crosses across both descriptive and experimental analyses. She has conducted a descriptive assessment of the topics typically discussed in young adult conversations.  In addition, she conducted a structured descriptive assessment of listener behavior during conversations. These descriptive assessments will inform a treatment efficacy evaluation she is currently developing. Sylvia received offers to continue her research at three of the country’s top doctoral programs in Behavior Analysis. She will continue her studies at Marquette University this fall. It truly has been my pleasure to work with Sylvia for the past two years. I am extremely excited to see her continue to blossom in a doctorate program. I know her career will have a positive impact on the field, her community, and future mentees.

Donald Butler Quantitative Research Award 

This award is given to a student who has completed outstanding scholarship utilizing advanced scientific methods and innovative research design or who has clearly demonstrated an advanced understanding of psychological research methods in graduate-level coursework.  Named in honor of Professor Donald Butler, who taught graduate-level research methods and statistics courses for over 40 years at CSUN, this award is intended to recognize a graduate student who demonstrates an advanced understanding of quantitative research methods. 

Robert Mosher     

Nominated by Dr. Stefanie Drew

Robert has undoubtedly had the single, greatest impact on the research trajectory of the Visual Information Sciences & Neuroscience (VISN) lab of any student.  He was the researcher that set into motion our virtual reality (VR) research, a topic that has become one of the primary foci of the lab.  Robert initially set out to design an innovative paradigm to examine ocular health and current VR head-mounted displays. (HMDs), a project that has been very prolific for the lab and has resulted in the development of several subsequent studies. Robert’s integral involvement in the research in my is also reflected in his record of dissemination – he has presented at annual meetings of Society for Neuroscience (SFN) and Vision Science Society (VSS) spanning several years as a contributing author on eight posters.  Additionally, he is an author on a manuscript currently under revision with the journal Ergonomics, and the first author on a second manuscript currently being prepared for submission.  Over the course of his time at CSUN, Robert has demonstrated exemplary work in research design and applying scientific methods, making him a strong candidate for the Donald Butler Quantitative Research Award.  

Tabachnick and Fidell Multivariate Statistics Award

This award is given to a student who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in the area of Multivariate Statistics. Named in honor of Drs. Barbara Tabachnick and Linda Fidell, who taught statistics classes in the CSUN Psychology Department and wrote the highly acclaimed book “Using Multivariate Statistics” that is used in our graduate statistics classes.

Luna Li    

Nominated by Dr. Justin Kantner & Dr. Mark Otten

It can’t be very often that one gets to supervise a student that really doesn’t need supervision, that arrives already in possession of a such a complete skill set that all you do is make sure they know how talented they are and point them in the right direction from time to time. But so it was with Luna Li, an exceptionally talented student, a deep, perceptive thinker, a fantastic writer, and a hard worker for whom the lab is a second home. It wasn’t long before I viewed her less as a student and more as a true collaborator. Luna can see the mind in big-picture, interdisciplinary ways while also commanding the skills necessary to handle the minutiae of particular projects, with that abiding love of cognitive psychology in all of its technical, in-the-weeds glory. 
Among these virtues, it is for her statistical acumen that she has received the Tabachnick and Fidell Multivariate Statistics Award. Luna ran the gauntlet of our statistics courses with no perceptible anxious moments, was a Structural Equation Modeling TA, worked at Institutional Research, and singlehandedly established data analysis through R in my lab. In the words of no less an authority than Professor Otten, Luna “completely maxed out her experience with statistics” across our program, which, considering our program, is really saying something. I’m proud that in winning the Tabachnick and Fidell award, Luna’s name is linked with two of our proudest names here at CSUN. Congratulations, LL.