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Five Psychology Students Accepted into Ph.D. Programs, Others Present Research

Graduating psychology students Sheri Nsamenang, left, Trevor Taylor, Travis Simcox, Jesse Valdez, and Nicholas Cuccia have been accepted into top Ph.D. programs around the United States.

Five Psychology Students Accepted into Ph.D. Programs, Others Present Research

Five New Mexico Highlands University students graduating with master’s degrees in psychology this semester are headed for doctoral programs across the country.
These psychology students are Ph.D. bound:
Jesse Valdez, University of Northern Colorado, Ph.D. program in counseling psychology.
Trevor Taylor, Florida Institute of Technology, Psy.D. program in clinical psychology.
Sheri Nsamenang, East Tennessee State University, Ph. D. program in clinical psychology.
Travis Simcox, University of Pittsburgh, Ph.D. program in cognitive neuroscience.
Nicholas Cuccia, Fielding Graduate University, Ph.D. program in clinical psychology.
In addition, Anna Clark was accepted into the University of Denver to pursue a master’s degree in clinical psychology.
“All of these graduate students who were accepted into Ph.D. programs are excellent researchers, and it’s a very motivated, committed group,” said Ian Williamson, a psychology professor who heads the university’s Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences. “They are exceptionally professional and are actively involved in internships in the community at mental health organizations. Some even volunteer at these organizations.
“At Highlands we have a strong, well-rounded psychology program invested in research and professional practice. Ours is a hybrid scientist-practitioner model that prepares our students well for either continuing in academia or moving directly into the professional world,” Williamson said.
These psychology students headed for doctoral programs aren’t the only ones receiving academic recognition. Six Highlands’ psychology graduates students presented their research findings at the Rocky Mountain Psychological Association annual convention in Denver, April 15-17.  
Students who presented research papers at the eight-state convention include Jennifer Almand, Ana Fredlund, Anna Gutierrez, Salif Mahamane, Renee Shimek, and Travis Simcox.
Williamson said the student researchers presented a wide variety of studies.
“One example is an environmental psychology study that explored the link between thinking about nature and being more cooperative,” Williamson said. “One of the cognitive psychology studies explored how and when taboo words are remembered.”
Williamson said that this year psychology professor Maura Pilotti was the faculty adviser for the six students who presented their research at the Rocky Mountain Psychology Association convention. Pilotti also co-authored the students’ research papers.
Anna Gutierrez, Travis Simcox, and Salif Mahamane also presented their research studies at the Western Psychological Association annual convention in Cancun, Mexico, April 22-25. 
At this convention, Simcox and Mahamane won the Western Psychological Association Psi Chi Award for their research study, “Emotional and Behavioral Responses of Bilingual Individuals to Taboo Words.”

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