News & Events

Stay connected - read about current research and news happening in our department.

Read our most recent newsletter!

Message from the Chair



Department Chair Carol Sigelman


Having survived my first year as chair, I am eager to share with you this yearly briefing on GW’s Department of Psychology. I’ll start with some basics: We’re a big and thriving group:

  • We have 24 regular, full-time faculty, two part-time regular faculty and varying numbers of part-time instructors, research professors and the like.
  • As of the spring 2015 semester, we had 447 undergraduate majors and 176 minors. Undergraduate course enrollments topped 4,000 during the 2014-2015 academic year, in keeping with our status as one of the most popular fields in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences.
  • We have over 50 graduate students in our applied social psychology, clinical psychology and cognitive neuroscience programs, all busily presenting and publishing their research findings as they work toward their PhDs in psychology.

During the 2014-2015 fiscal year, we spent $2.32 million in external grant funding to advance our research and training goals—funding from various NIH institutes, NSF, private foundations such as the Simons Foundation and the Whitehall Foundation and the universities of our faculty members’ collaborators. In this newsletter you’ll learn of some recent transitions: The departure of Alyssa Zucker; the imminent retirement of Pamela Woodruff; but the return of John Philbeck from a professorship in Australia; and the hiring of new cognitive neuroscience associate professor Stephen Mitroff.

You will also learn of the major overhaul of the undergraduate curriculum we are implementing this year and of the renovation of our undergraduate research lab to accommodate the new research lab courses that are the most exciting part of the new curriculum.

We are proud of our community and its accomplishments and view all of you as an important part of that community. We also thank many of you—alumni, students and friends—for keep in touch and supporting our efforts.

Photo: Department Chair Carol Sigelman


Department Spotlights


Before and after views of the undergraduate lab classroom.


Undergraduate Curriculum Reform

Starting this fall, new psychology majors will follow our newly designed curriculum. We knew we wanted majors to leave GW with a solid understanding of theory and research in psychology, of how knowledge is gained, knowing that many of our graduates either go on to graduate study or take jobs that involve conducting research or program evaluation. With help from the provost and the Columbian College dean’s office, we cobbled together the funds needed to renovate the undergraduate lab in the back of the first floor of Building GG to welcome the new advanced research lab courses. Read more.

Photo: Before and after views of the undergraduate lab classroom.



Fall 2015 Science in the District Dean’s Seminar students tour TSA testing facilities


Psychology Department’s First Dean’s Seminar

New faculty member Stephen Mitroff is teaching the Psychology Department’s first Dean’s Seminar since Lynn Offermann offered one on leadership in 2003. Dean’s Seminars are for first-year undergraduate students, and they are meant to provide a unique opportunity to engage in scholarship in a small-learning environment.
Learn more about Dean's Seminars on the Columbian College website. Read more.

Photo: Fall 2015 Science in the District Dean’s Seminar students tour TSA testing facilities.



Psi Chi forums help student navigate their future career paths.


Thriving Psi Chi Honor Society

Psi Chi President Nicole Butler and Faculty Advisor Dennis Schell report that GW’s chapter of the International Honor Society in Psychology is thriving. Psi Chi’s presence on campus as a highly acclaimed student organization is expanding as members’ involvement is encouraged at various events held within Psi Chi and outside of the student organization.

The Psi Chi website and its new Facebook page provide timely updates on all Psi Chi events. Read more.

Photo: Psi Chi forums help student navigate their future career paths.




The Clinical Program has been reaccredited for seven years! The clinical psychology program successfully navigated the arduous process of seeking reaccreditation from the American Psychological Association. The program passed with flying colors and was reaccredited for seven years—the maximum! Congratulations to Program Director Christina Gee and all involved.


Faculty Kudos

Sarah Shomstein, New Funding from the National Science Foundation: Sarah Shomstein has landed a new three-year grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF). Its title is Semantic guidance of attentional selection: determining how attentional allocation is structured in the face of uncertainty.

Lisa Bowleg Honored: Professor Lisa Bowleg was honored at the APA convention last fall as recipient of the 2014 Distinguished Leadership Award from the Ad Hoc Committee on Psychology and AIDS in recognition of her contributions to HIV/AIDS research.

Guangying Wu Received New Grant: Guangying Wu has a new grant from NARSAD, The Brain and Behavior Research Fund. Its title is “Synaptic Mechanisms Underlying Auditory Hallucination in 22q11.2ds Mouse Model with Schizophrenia Phenotypes.”

» Read more "Faculty Kudos"


Current Students

Graduate Student Jennifer Marceron: Many congrats to Jennifer Marceron for landing three grants and awards to support her dissertation research: the APAGS Ellin Bloch and Pierre Ritchie Diversity Dissertation Grant, a Grants-in-Aid Award from The Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues and a second place 2014 APA Division 27 Student Dissertation Research Award--all supporting her dissertation research on “Disability and Disasters: The Role of Self-Efficacy in Emergency Preparedness and Health Outcomes.”

Graduate Student Meagan Sweeney: And congratulations to Meagan Sweeney for her award from the SCRA (Society for Community Research and Action) to help fund research being done by Dr. Cindy Rohrbeck and her students evaluating the Red Cross’ “Be Red Cross Ready" program and asking whether emergency preparedness presentations change behavior. Two undergraduate research fellowships were awarded by the university in 2014 to support this research: one to Archana Anandakrishnan and one to Ilana Petrescu.

Graduate Student Marta Genovez: Marta Genovez received a $2000 fellowship from the Hispanic Scholarship Fund. Congratulations!

» Continue reading "Current Students"


Department Events


Dr. Robert Levenson (center) with clinical doctoral students.


Last year, our Meltzer Center clinic was awarded a joint training grant from the Society for a Science of Clinical Psychology and the Association of Psychological Science. Those funds allowed the clinic/clinical program to invite Robert Levenson, PhD, of the University of California at Berkeley to visit and host several discussions on "Clinical Science: Current Trends and Future Directions." For more information about the award and future plans, please contact: Risa Broudy, PhD, Meltzer Center Director,


Alumni Updates

Helen Ackerman, MA ’62, is a psychologist in South Florida with an interest in women's health and life-change issues as they impact day-to-day living.

Michael Acquah, BA ’12, is a student at Harvard Law School (JD ’16). This semester, he is taking comparative international law courses at Sciences Po University in Paris through Harvard's foreign exchange program. He will work in Los Angeles, Calif., after graduation.

Dara Albright (Podber), BA ’91, is a recognized authority and frequent speaker on topics relating to market structure, entrepreneurism, IPOs, P2P and crowdfinance. She is currently writing a book on how crowdfinance will serve as the catalyst for economic democracy.

» Read more "Alumni Updates"


Donor Recognition


The Department of Psychology would like to gratefully acknowledge the following generous donors who made a gift to the department from July 1, 2014 – June 30, 2015. Our growing list of donors includes those who earmarked their gifts to Psychology for the Rolf Peterson Fund.  Thank you all!


National Catholic Community Foundation
George David Angelich, PsyD ’06
Alyson Beth Arbron, BA ’12
Marcia Joan Avedon, MPhil ’87, PhD ’89
Gordon B. Avery++
Nicole L. Banks, BA ’08
Caroline L. Brachfeld, BA ’14
Lorraine Brown, PhD ’77
Robert A. Byrne*
Ammad Cheema~
Clarissa Moore Coultas, BA ’13
Nathan R. Cronin, BA ’15
John Raymond Davis, BA ’75
Jamie B. DeGiaimo, BA ’08
Maria L. Dittrich, MPhil ’02, PhD ’05
Ian Mark Donovan, BA ’12
Mary A. Ellis, PsyD  ’09
Danielle B. Frank, BBA ’09
Louis M. French, PsyD ’01
Laura R. Gamble, BA ’08
Elizabeth M. Ginexi, MA ’95, PhD ’97
Penny Glass, PhD ’85
Melvin A. Gravitz, BA ’50, MA ’51
Bahar Hadjiesmaeiloo, BA ’04, MD ’10
Joseph F. Hodge IV, BA ’95
Catherine M. Hovis, MS ’04
Robert A. Howard, BA ’15
Ashley Brooke Howell, PsyD ’06
Mary Alice Hurd, AA ’46, BA ’48
Alexandra M. Kasputis, BA ’15
Billie N. Katz, BA ’15
Bijan J. Khaksari~
Sandor Klein, AA ’47, BA ’48


Elizabeth C. Koprowski, BA ’69, PhD ’77
Scott Jason Kraiterman, BA ’05
Huynh-Nhu Le+
Beth J. Lee, PsyD ’01
Jose Rey Antonio T. Lesaca, BA ’15
Zoe D. Levine, BA ’15
Emily L. Lindon, MPsy ’12, PsyD ’14
Dana M. Litt, MPhil ’09, PhD ’10
Lynn G. Llewellyn, MA ’59, PhD ’69
Glen C. Lyons**
Meredith A. Lyons**
Evans J. Mandes, BA ’61, MS ’63
Courtney M. Martin, BA ’14
Carolyn A. Mauriello, MA ’08
Lorraine McCall, BA ’88
Monique C. McKenny, BA ’15
Amber M. Menifield, BA ’08
Alexander J Moran, BA ’12
Humaira Mubeen, BA ’12
Michael B. Nemerof, BA ’08
Devin B. Noble, BA ’08
Katherine Novarro, BA ’87
Barbara G. Patton*
Marilyn S. Paul, BA ’81
Rolf A. Peterson++
Paul J. Poppen+
Diane L. Putnick, PhD ’01
Michelande Ridore, BA ’06
Olympia J. Rizzo, BA ’09
Erika L. Robinson, AA ’61, BA ’67
Norman J. Robinson, MA ’51
Cynthia A. Rohrbeck+
Shirley Mae Ross, MA ’88, PhD ’90
Amanda G Ruiz, BA ’12


Carol Ruth Sacks, PhD ’89
Jacqueline M. F. Samuel, PhD ’79
Susan M. Sandlund, PhD ’89
Danielle Z. Sarna, BA ’06
David S. Savanuck, BA ’08
Dennis Schell+
Kelly A. Schmidt, PhD ’00
Robert C. Seligman, BA ’69
Susan Kagan Shaw, BA ’81
Phebean Wasileh Sheriff, BA ’13
Reeya Shrestha, BA ’14
Carol K. Sigelman+
Jeremy H. Silverman**
Adrienne Ann Simenhoff, PsyD ’03
E. Naudain Simons III, MA ’60
Amanda B. Spatz, BA ’08
Maressa Anne Spinak, BA ’05
Mary Elizabeth Hamel Stevens, BA ’04
Isaac C. Suntag, BA ’15
Mary Sutherland**
Valerie Taylor-Meredith+
Laura A. Walsh, MPhil ’12, PhD ’14
Clarence P. Walters, PhD ’74
John A. Whisnant, BA ’15
Walter Lewis Williams, MA ’72
Barbara S. Winer, BA ’72
Philip W. Wirtz, BA ’71, PhD ’81+
Nicole Sarah Wolff, BA ’08
Pearl K. Zurich, MPsy ’13

* Friend
** Parent
+ Faculty/Staff
++ Emeritus Faculty/Staff
~ Student


Support the Department

Gifts to the Psychology Department allow us to provide support for faculty, graduate student, and undergraduate student research and travel to present research, graduate student fellowships and academic enrichment activities such as the regular colloquium series featuring top psychologists from other universities that we intend to launch this year as a way of bringing our community together to be inspired by new ideas. Each gift from you, no matter how large or small, has a positive impact on our educational mission and enhances our standing as one of the top departments in one of the nation's preeminent universities. If you are not already a donor, please consider making a gift at the end of 2015 or before June 30th.

You can make your gift to the department in a number of ways:

  • Securely online at Just choose “other” under designation and type in the name of the Psychology Department.
  • By mailing your check, made out to The George Washington University, with the name of the Psychology Department in the memo line, to:

    The George Washington University
    2033 K Street NW, Suite 300
    Washington, DC  20052
  • By phone by calling the GW Annual Fund at 1-800-789-2611.

A special note to clinical program alumni and others interested in advancing the Department’s psychological services clinic: Remember the Rolf A. Peterson Scholarship Fund, created in honor of the retirement in 2013 of the clinical psychology program’s long-serving director. The Fund supports graduate students gaining professional experience in the Meltzer Center clinic, which serves members of the GW community as well as clients from the Washington area. (Dr. Peterson, by the way, continues to grace us with his presence with some frequency.)




Past Newsletters

Childhood Obesity: Combating an Epidemic

Childhood obesity is a national epidemic that affects 12.5 million American children and adolescents. Associate Professor of Psychology Jody Ganiban is investigating factors that may predict and influence a child’s risk for obesity.