Apa Dissertation Research Award 2011


  • Etiology, promotion and maintenance of health;
  • Prevention, diagnosis, treatment and rehabilitation of physical illness;
  • Psychological, social, emotional and behavioral factors in physical illness;
  • Child health psychology;
  • Health care systems and health policy



Health disparities are defined as “differences in the incidence, prevalence, mortality, and burden of diseases and other adverse health conditions that exist among specific population group” (National Institutes of Health). In particular, the award for health disparities research is intended to support research focusing on various health conditions that are more prevalent, serious, or specific to disadvantaged and medically underserved groups, or on healthcare inequities relevant to these groups, specifically, ethnic minorities and socio-economically disadvantaged individuals in rural and urban areas.



Proposals will be reviewed on an annual basis and must be received by January 15 in each year, with notification of award made in March.



The award competition is open to full-time students enrolled in any degree conferring-graduate program in psychology. The program is not required to be a Health Psychology program. To be eligible to receive the award, students must be current members of the Society of Health Psychology. Research awards are typically used to fund students’ thesis or dissertation research, but this is not a requirement of the support mechanism. Students may submit only per year.


Previous Winners

2017 Graduate Student Research Awards:

  • Chloe Boyle, MS, (University of California, Los Angeles), for “Stress, Inflammation and Reward Processing: Implications for Major Depressive Disorder”
  • Casey Gardiner, MA, (University of Colorado, Boulder), for “Mechanisms of Dietary Behavior Change: Incentives, Motivation, and Weight Status”
  • Kristie Harris MS, (Ohio State University), for “Insomnia, Cognitive Impairment, and Decision-Making Among Patients with Heart Failure: A Randomized Study of Brief Behavioral Treatment for Insomnia”
  • Amy Noser, MS, (University of Kansas), for “Physical Activity and Glycemic Variability in Pediatric Type 1 Diabetes”
  • Sarah Stromberg, MS, (University of Florida), for “The Impact of Pre-Surgical Dietary and Psychosocial Factors on Post-Surgical Diet in a Population of Bariatric Surgery Patients”

2016 Graduate Student Research Awards:

  • Michael Bernstein, MA, (University of Rhode Island), for  “A Text Message Intervention for Reducing 21st Birthday Alcohol Involvement”
  • Lacey Clement, MA,  (University of Colorado, Denver), for “Death Anxiety and Meaning in Life as Predictors of Medical Decision Making in Patients with Heart Failure”
  • Helen Murray, (Drexel University), for“Neurocognitive Mechanisms of Decision-Making and Reward Sensitivity: Impact on Dietary Consumption and Weight”
  • Courtney Stevens, MA, (University of Colorado, Boulder), for “Get ACTive! A Randomized Controlled Trial of the Effectiveness of an Acceptance-Based Behavioral Intervention to Promote Exercise Adoption and Maintenance”
  • Ashley Whillans, MA, (University of British Columbia), for “From Misperception to Social Connection: Fostering Friendships and Health among First Year University Students”

2016 Travel Awards for Outstanding SfHP Poster Presentations:

  • Shuchang Kang, (University of Florida), for “A Culturally Sensitive Church-Based Health Promotion Intervention for African Americans”
  • Melissa A. Kwitowski, (Virginia Commonwealth University), for “Stakeholders’ Perspectives on School Food Policies in a Title-I Elementary School”
  • Anna G. Larson, (University of Wisconsin, Madison), for “Mindfulness Facilitates Psychological and Physical Functioning After Stem Cell Transplantation”
  • Tyler C. McDaniel, (University of South Carolina), for “Gene-Environment Interaction Predicts BMI in Underserved African American Adults”
  • Kyle A. Schofield, (Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, OH), for “Emotional Adjustment to Congenital Heart Disease: The Role of Perceived Health Competence”
  • Jaime L. Williams, (University of Florida), for “Impact of a Health-Promotion Program on Employees’ Motivators of and Barriers to Healthy Behaviors”

2015 Graduate Student Awards: 

  • Laura A. Cousins, MA, Georgia State University
  • Nicole A. Hollingshead, MS, Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis
  • KayLoni L. Olson, MA, Ohio State University
  • Megan E. Sutter, MS, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Jennalee S. Wooldridge, MA, University of Colorado, Denver

2015 Travel Awards for Outstanding Division 38 Student Posters:

  • Matthew Clyde, MS, for “Smoking Cessation Self-Efficacy and Symptoms of Withdrawal in Individuals”
  • Krystal S. Frieson, EdS, for “MACARTI: Psychological Predictors of HIV Medical Adherence and Viral Load Suppression”
  • Liz Midence, MS, for “Psychosocial Outcomes among Women referred to different Cardiac Rehabilitation Program Models”
  • Chung Jung Mun, MA, for “Influence of Adolescent Weight Concern Trajectories on Symptoms of Eating Disorders and Weight Gain”
  • Guillermo M Wippold, MS, for “Health Self-Empowerment Theory: A Predictor of Health Behaviors among Overweight Hispanic Adults”

2015 Early Career Professionals Awards for Outstanding Division 38 Presentations:

  • Gregory Privitera, PhD, for “Emolabeling Increases Healthy Food Choice With Grade School Children in a Grocery Aisle Setting”
  • Ryan A. McKelley, PhD, for “Placebo Study on the Efficacy of Heart-Rate Variability (HRV) Biofeedback on Acute Stress”

2014 Graduate Student Awards:

  • Jiabin Shen (University of Alabama in Birmingham), for “A Randomized Trial Evaluating Child Dog-Bite Prevention in Rural China through Video-Based Testimonials”
  • Kimberly Bowen (University of Utah), for “Testing a Mediational Model of Culture, Social Support, and Health”
  • Michelle Zaso (Syracuse University), for “Interaction Effects between the DRD4 VNTR and Heavy-Drinking Peers on Alcohol Consumption”
  • Jennifer Pellowski (University of Connecticut), for “Patient Self-Advocacy and Low Health Literacy among People Living with HIV”
  • Jessica Chiang (University of California, Los Angeles), for “Early Family Stress and Inflammation: Underlying Biological and Psychosocial Mechanism”

2013 Graduate Student Awards:

  • Amitha Gumidyala (Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science), for “Understanding Factors that Influence Transition Readiness of Youth with Inflammatory Bowel Disease: A Socioecological Approach”
  • Caitlin Murray (Loyola University Chicago), for “Sleep-wake Disturbances and Psychological Health in Youth with Spina Bifida”
  • Lauren Greenberg (Drexel University), for “A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial Comparing the Efficacy of Problem Solving Therapy to Enhanced Treatment-as-Usual for Reducing High Blood Pressure”
  • Jennifer Boylan (The University of Wisconsin Madison), for “Psychosocial Moderators and Neurobiological Mediators of Inequalities in Health”
  • Anjali Rameshbabu (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), for ” Self-regulation of Saturated Fat Intake in Blue-collar Employees: The Saturated Fats Study”

2012 Graduate Student Awards: 

  • Laramie Gress-Smith (University of Connecticut), for “A Theory-Based Approach to Strengthening Retention in HIV Care in the Inner City”
  • Sandra Coulon (University of South Carolina), for “Social-Environmental, Physiologic, and Genetic Determinants of Blood Pressure in Underserved African Americans”
  • Erin Rabideau (Ohio University), for “Direct and indirect effects of performance-related feedback on cortisol levels”
  • Emily Zale (Texas A&M University), for “The Effects of Smoking Abstinence on Pain Reactivity: A Human Experimental Study”
  • Akhila Sravish (University of Massachusetts), for “Cardiac and Affective Activation: Exploring Bio-Behavioral Stress Markers in Infant-Mother Dyads following a Social Stressor”

2011 Graduate Student Awards:

  • Jenny Cundiff (University of Utah), for “Relative Social Status, Interpersonal Dominance, and Cardiovascular Reactivity”
  • Jenna Gress-Smith (Arizona State University), for “Resilient Profiles and Postpartum Depression in Low-Income Mexican American Women”
  • Liisa Hantsoo (The Ohio State University), for “Genetic Variants and Dietary Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid Intake: Associations with Negative Affect”
  • Suman Lam (University of California, Irvine), for “Chronic Stress and Emotion Regulation: Effects on the Cortisol Awakening Response”
  • Sara Mijares St. George (University of South Carolina), for “Examining Parent-Adolescent Health Behaviors in a Family-based Intervention for Improving Physical Activity, Sedentary Behavior, and Diet”

2010 Graduate Student Awards:

  • Shiquina L. Andrews (University of Alabama at Birmingham), for “The Effects of Spiritually Integrated Therapy on Psychological Distress in Infertile Women”
  • Matthew R. Cribbet (University of Utah), for “An Examination of Marital Quality and Insomnia: A Daily Diary and Ambulatory Physiology Monitoring Approach”
  • Jessie D. Heath (Syracuse University),  for “Health Disparities Examining the Impact of Provider Stigmatization on the Care of HIV+ Patients: Effects to Engagement in Care, Comfort, and Perceptions of Healthcare Providers”
  • Meghan E. McGrady (University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center), for “Illness Representations and Glycemic Control in Adolescents with Type 1 Diabetes”
  • Shu-wen Wang (University of California, Los Angeles), for “Stress Responses to Social Support in Asian American and European American Students: Implications for Health and Wellbeing”

2009 Graduate Student Awards:

  • Andrea R. Croom (University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center), for “Grandparent Involvement in Families of Adolescents with Type 1 Diabetes”
  • Ann Marie Hernandez (Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis), for “Illness Representations of Breast Cancer among Hispanics”
  • Sarah Linke (SDSU/UCSD Joint Doctoral Program in Clinical Psychology), for “Walk Away from the Habit: Overcoming Nicotine Dependence through Exercise”
  • Natalie Stevens (University of Kansas), for “Measuring Perceived Control and Satisfaction with the Childbirth Experience”
  • Victoria Willard (Duke University), for “Deficits in Social Functioning in Survivors of Pediatric Brain Tumors”

Award Descriptions and List of Recipients

Department Awards

Elizabeth Duffy Graduate Scholarship

The Duffy scholarship was established to be awarded annually to a female doing graduate work in the Department of Psychology. It was named in honor of Dr. Elizabeth Duffy, an alum of UNCG (then, the Women’s College of UNC), who earned her MA from Columbia University and her Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University (at age 24). Dr. Duffy served with distinction on the Psychology faculty at UNCG for 30 years, as well as President of Division I of APA, and is best known for her theoretical writings on motivation and emotion as viewed in terms of energy mobilization, arousal, and activation. The Duffy Award is made from the earnings of the Elizabeth Duffy Graduate Scholarship Fund.

2016-2017 awardees: Charlotte Chun, Kelly Harper, Rachael Kelleher
2015-2016 awardees: Ashley Brown, Bridget Smeekens
2014-2015 awardees: Catherine Majestic, Alexandra Cupito
2013-2014 awardees: Georgina Gross and Nadia Huq, Alexandra Cupito, Emily Nusbaum
2012-2013 awardees: Diane Westerberg, Nneka Morris, Megan Tucker
2011-2012 awardees: Molly Armistead, Diana Westerberg
2010-2011 awardees: Iryna Babik, Beatrice Kuhlman, Jessica Kaczrowski, Jessica Moore

The John W. Lindsey Memorial Award

The Lindsey award was established to be awarded annually  for a first-authored publication of research conducted at UNCG by a UNCG graduate student in Psychology. It was named in honor of Dr. John Lindsey, who was among the first students to be awarded a Ph.D. from the UNCG Psychology Department; Dr. Lindsey published his MA thesis, his doctoral preliminary paper, and his dissertation, and graduated in four years. At the time of his death, Dr. Lindsey had accepted a postdoctoral position at Duke University; he received his PhD posthumously in 1972. The Lindsey award is made from the earnings of the John W. Lindsey Memorial Award fund

2016-2017 awardee: Bridget Smeekens
2015-2016 awardees: Alexandra Cupito, Jason Strickhouser
2014-2015 awardee: Georgina Gross
2013-2014 awardees: Roger Beaty, David Frank
2012-2013 awardee: Michael McCormick, Molly Walsh
2011-2012 awardee: Beatrice Kuhlmann

Highsmith, Barkley, and Teague Graduate Student Award

This award resulted from a gift to the UNCG Excellence Foundation by Dr. Key Barkley in 1992. The fund recognizes the contributions of three pioneers in the development of the Department of Psychology at UNCG. Dr. Highsmith was responsible for having the study of Psychology moved out of the School of Education and into the general liberal arts curriculum, and his formulation of an Introductory Psychology course that included a laboratory was the first recognition of Psychology as a science. Dr. Key L. Barkley set up the first laboratory in the department. Mr. C. E. Teague was the Business Manager of Woman’s College who managed to find the funds for every piece of equipment that Dr. Barkley requested. According to strong preference of the donor, North Carolina native born students should be given priority to the award. Awardees must be in their first year of graduate study in Psychology.

2016-2017 awardees: Shannon Adcock, Maria Ditcheva, Jonathan Latta, Jaimie Lunsford, Sabrina Teeter
2015-2016 awardees: Elizabeth McQuaig, Tyler Lane, Allie Campbell
2014-2015 awardee: Kelly Harper

Graduate School Awards

Alumni / Excellence / Hayes Fellowship

These are the largest and most prestigious awards offered by the Graduate School. The Alumni Fellowship was established by the UNCG Alumni Association; the Excellence by the University; and the last by Mr. Charles Hayes, former Chair of the UNCG Board of Trustees and President of Guilford Mills. As of 2014, recipients will receive a $22,000 stipend, health insurance, and tuition waivers. Nominees must be full-time doctoral students newly admitted for the Fall semester, and they must have exceptionally strong academic qualifications (GRE scores are especially important).

2016-2017 awardees: Delaney Bivens, Jenny Robb
2015-2016 awardees: Vaibhav Sapuram, Melanie Maddox
2012-2013 awardees: James Smith, Alexandra Cupito, Simone Halliday
2011-2012 awardees: Rebecca Suffness, Alexandra Cupito
2010-2011 awardees: Diana Westerberg

Greensboro Graduate Scholar Award

The Graduate School established these awards in 1991 to attract exceptional students to our graduate programs; Awards are $2,000 for students in master’s programs and $3,000 for students in doctoral programs and are added to the usual departmental stipend. Nominees must have outstanding academic records; departments are permitted to nominate up to 30% (or 2 students, whichever is greater) of their new students for these awards. Students may retain their scholarship for up to 2 years in master’s programs and 3 years in doctoral programs, assuming good academic performance. The renewal process is automatic.

2016-2017 awardees: Jonathan Latta, Alex Christensen, Jaimie Lunsford, Gail Corneau, Andrea Kulish, Erin Denio, Katherine Cotter
2015-2016 awardees: Sarah Sperry, Malachi Willis, Elizabeth McQuaig, Alex Christensen, Katherine Cotter, Tyler Lane, Kimberly Marble
2014-2015 awardees: Jake King, Kimberly Marble, Sarah Sperry, Malachi Willis
2013-2014 awardess: Jake King, Georgina Gross, Meghan Gangel
2012-2013 awardees: Nadia Huq,Anahita Kalianivala, Jake King, Rachael Kelleher, Georgina Gross, Meghan Gangel
2011-2012 awardees: Nadia Huq, Matthew Thibeault, Stephanie Skinner, Anahita Kalianivala, Jake King
2010-2011 awardee: Nadia Huq

Lyon Fellowship

This award was established in honor of Mrs. Ellon Lyon, who graduated from Women’s College (UNCG) in 1949 and was employed in social service and active in civic organizations; The size of the award will depend on the earnings of the endowed fund but in recent years has been $4,000-5,000. The award is based on merit, and nominations are open to any graduate student in any program. Each program may nominate only one student.

2016-2017 awardee: Charlotte Chun
2012-2013 awardee: Diana Westerberg
2010-2011 awardee: Jessica Kaczorowski

UNC Campus Scholarship

These scholarships were established by the UNC system and are intended to increase diversity in doctoral programs. The amount of the award varies but has ranged from $2,000-8,000 in recent years. Recipients must be NC residents enrolled full-time in a doctoral program. Financial need must be substantiated; students need to submit a FAFSA no later than March, so that ratings will be available at the time of selection. Nomination letters should explain clearly how the nominee contributes to diversity on the UNC campus. Students may receive the award for up to 3 years, but they must submit a new FAFSA and be nominated by their Department each year. Native Americans are particularly encourage to apply.

2016-2017 awardees: Brad Avery, Alex Birthrong
2015-2016 awardee: Anahita Kalianivala, Jake King, Bradley Avery, Georgina Gross
2014-2015 awardee: Anahita Kalianivala
2014-2013 awardees: Ariana Hoet, Nadia Huq, Rachael Kelleher
2013-2014 awardees: Ariana Hoet, Nadia Huq, Rachael Kelleher
2012-2013 awardees: Nneka Morris, Niloofar Fallah, Tamara Foxworth
2011-2012 awardee: Nneka Morris, Niloofar Fallah, Tamara Foxworth
2010-2011 awardee: Nneka Morris, Tamara Foxworth
2009-2010 awardee: Nneka Morris

Weil Fellowship

This fellowship was first given in 1924 and honors Henry Weil, a successful businessman and philanthropist in Goldsboro, NC; . The size of the fellowship will depend on earnings of the endowment but in recent years has been $7,000-8,000. Nominees must be UNCG undergraduate alumni and demonstrate exceptional academic achievement, and they must be newly admitted to a master’s or doctoral program at UNCG. Departments may nominate one student per year.

2016-2017 awardee: Maria Ditcheva
2010-2011 awardees: Candace Lapan, Naomi Chatley

Inclusiveness Award

The Inclusiveness award was endowed from one million of a six million dollar anonymous gift to UNCG; The Council of Graduate Schools has called for strengthening diversity and inclusiveness efforts in graduate study as a central element in a national talent development policy. The award provides support to outstanding entering or continuing master’s or doctoral students whose presence contributes to inclusiveness at the University. Inclusiveness is defined broadly to include a variety of life experiences that increase the diversity of experiences of students in graduate programs. Among the factors that might contribute to greater inclusiveness for graduate programs would be low income background, a history of overcoming disadvantage or discrimination, nontraditional age for a student, membership in an underrepresented group in a field or discipline, being the first in the family to enter graduate school, having cultural differences (such as may arise from being foreign-born or raised within a distinct culture), and unique work or service experience. Awards may either take the form of a fellowship or be used to supplement an assistantship provided by a graduate program. The supplements will typically be in the range of $2,000 to $5,000. Recipients must be fully admitted to a graduate degree program and maintain a 3.0 grade point average to be eligible. Departments may nominate 1 student per year.

2016-2017 awardee: Juan Prandoni
2015-2016 awardee: Ariana Hoet
2013-2014 awardee: Nneka Morris, Jake King
2012-2013 awardee: David Frank, Nneka Morris
2011-2012 awardee: Rachel Kelleher

Pauline Hester Green Hester and Brigadier General Hugh B. Hester Graduate Fellowship

2013-2014 awardee: David Frank
2011-2012 awardee: Jake King

Joseph M. Bryan, Jr. Fellowship

2014-2016 awardee: Charlotte Chun

UNCG Summer Research Grants

The goal of the Summer Assistantship program is to assist students in making progress toward completing their degree by using part of the summer to conduct research or to engage in other scholarly activities related to the student’s program of study.  Priority is given to students in doctoral and MFA programs; however, other students in master’s programs may apply.

2014-2015 awardees: Ayse Payir, Andrea Kulish, Bradley Avery, Sarah Sperry
2013-2014 awardeees: Erin Denio, Candace Lapan, Jeanette Robb, Jason Strickhouser
2012-2013 awardees: Ashley Brown, Julie Campbell, Melissa DiMeo
2010-2011 awardee: Nadia Huq
2009-2010 awardees: Nneka Morris, Beatrice Kuhlmann

UNCG Outstanding Dissertation Award

The Outstanding Dissertation Award was established to recognize exceptional work by doctoral students and to encourage the highest levels of scholarship, research, and writing. Each academic department offering the doctoral degree may nominate one dissertation for consideration. UNCG graduate school makes only one award per year across the entire university.

2011-2012 awardee: Stephanie Miller
2009-2010 awardee: Jennifer McVay
2006-2007 awardee: Tina Miyake
2000-2001 awardee: Julie King
1991-1992 awardee: Karin Dodge

UNCG Outstanding Thesis Award

This award recognizes the significant accomplishments of master’s degree students through their thesis or master’s production.  Each academic department offering the master’s degree may nominate one thesis or master’s production for consideration. UNCG graduate school makes only one award per year across the entire university.

2015-2016 awardee: Kelly Harper
2012-2013 awardee: Naomi Chatley
2012-2013 awardee: David Frank
2010-2011 awardee: Meagan Tucker
2009-2010 awardee: Molly Walsh
2007-2008 awardee:
Jessica Kaczorowski
2004-2005 awardee: Paulo Graziano
2000-2001 awardee: Pam Ladrow

George and Beatrice Goldman Fisher Gerontology Dissertation Prize

2015-2016 awardee: David Frank

External Awards

 External Grant Support

Graduate students may apply to gain competitive awards for research funding from outside agencies.

2014-2015 – Office of Autism Research Graduate Student Grant: Jenna Mendelson
2013-2015- Community Based Research Grant: Jenna Mendelson
2012-2013 – APA Dissertation Research Award: Beatrice Kuhlmann
2011-2012 – NC State University, Institute for Emerging Issues Prize for Innovation: Matthew Thibeault
2009-2010 – APS Student Research Award: Beatrice Kuhlmann
2007-2010 – NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (pre-doctoral): Jennifer McVay
2005-2008 – NSF Graduate Research Fellowship: Leslie Horton

Professional Society Awards and Honors

Graduate students may apply to gain competitive honors and awards from professional organizations and societies.

2014-2015 – APA Division 10 Frank X. Barron Award: Emily Nusbaum
2013-2014 – Conference of Southern Graduate Schools Master’s Thesis Award: David Frank
2013-2014 – Center for Developmental Science Predoctoral Fellowship: Nadia Huq
2013-2014 – Graduate Student Assoc. Professional Development Award: Jason Stickhouser
2012-2014 – Head Start Graduate Student Research Scholars Grant Program: Diana Westerberg
2011-2012 – Psi Chi Graduate Research Grant: Matthew Thibeault
2011-2012 – UNCG Office of Leadership and Service Learning, Community Based Research: Matthew Thibeault
2011-2012 – Vera Pastor Award: Diana Westerberg
2007-2008 – Conference of Southern Graduate Schools Master’s Thesis Award: Jessica Kaczorowski

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