Meet @UofSHealthPsych: Interview with Elle DiLorenzo

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Elle DiLorenzo is a sophomore psychology major, completing her first year of work as a research assistant. She was interviewed by senior Sabrina DiBisceglie.

ElleUofSHealthPsych: Where are you from, and what drew you to the University of Scranton?

ED: I’m from Valley Stream, New York, which is town on Long Island. I wasn’t interested in Scranton at first because so many people from my high school were planning on coming here. My friends encouraged me to look here anyway, and once I stepped on campus, I fell in love with the academics and the atmosphere. I guess I just got a feeling that this school was the right place for me.

UofSHealthPsych: Why did you choose to be a psychology major?

ED: Initially I was a biology major on the pre-med track, but I wasn’t inspired by what I was learning or by what my future looked like. I knew I was interested in medical settings but I wasn’t really sure where I belonged in that environment. After consulting with different professors and people in my life I recognized that I could work in and study the medical field with psychology. I decided to take and introductory course and I immediately knew that I wanted to be involved with psychology for the rest of my life. Psychology sparked inspiration in me, so I decided to declare it as my major and I haven’t regretted it. I still have a biology minor.

UofSHealthPsych: What activities are you involved with on campus, besides research?

ED: I am the future President (current Vice President) of S.A.F.E Space, which is a club focused on equality, charity, advocacy, and education particularly in the LGBTQ+ community. I am also the future Secretary of the Psychology Club here on campus. Other than that I am a teaching assistant for Abnormal Psychology and I am a part of the Honors Program.

UofSHealthPsych: How did you decide to join the Clinical Health Psychology Research Team?

ED: I took Abnormal Psychology as a first semester sophomore, which at the time was taught by Dr. Arigo. One day I went to her office and we began to discuss the work that her lab did and how my interests aligned with the field of Clinical Health Psychology.  For the rest of that semester I sat in on lab meetings to learn as much as I could about the lab. Eventually I made the decision to join because I was particularly interested in the upcoming research that was being done by a senior and really wanted to be a part of it.

UofSHealthPsych: Can you tell us a little bit more about your individual research interests and the projects you’ve worked on?

ED: I am interested in chronic pain and how physicians’, family members’, and friends’ perceptions of the pain affect the person suffering from pain, psychologically and physiologically.  I am also currently working on a few different studies involving fitspiration, physical activity, and social comparison.

UofSHealthPsych: What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from doing research with the team?

ED: I think the most valuable lesson I learned was to enjoy the process of doing research. When I first started I was really fixated on final results and implications of the research I was doing and I didn’t value the journey. Throughout the year I would talk to other lab members, especially Kristen Pasko, and through talking to them (as well as to Dr. Arigo) I have learned how important the learning process is.

UofSHealthPsych: What is your favorite memory of working with this research team?

ED: My favorite memory of working in the lab is when I was able to present at Student Scholar Day with all of the other members. It was a really amazing experience and I learned a lot about what it’s like to present a poster at a conference. Also everyone in the lab was really supportive and encouraging so I also really enjoyed that.

UofSHealthPsych: What have you enjoyed most about working on a research team?

ED: I have enjoyed working on the fitspiration studies the most for many reasons. Initially I wasn’t sure I would be able to help, but I had so many opportunities to be involved with the fitspiration studies in particular. Not only was I able to learn all about the research methodology, but also I developed an interest in social media and physical activity which I did not initially having coming into the lab. I really enjoyed the opportunity to learn and expand my interests.

UofSHealthPsych: Was your experience with the research lab what you thought it would be?

ED: My experience in lab was different than I thought it would be, but in the best way.  I think coming into the lab I was really concerned that I would unable to help anyone because I had no prior experience. Now I realize that I had a misconception of how a lab actually runs. The lab really focuses on helping everyone out so I always had something to do and the members were always willing to guide me if I was ever confused. Overall I learned much more than I expected to.

UofSHealthPsych: Is there any advice you would give an underclassmen interested in psychology research?

ED: I would advise underclassmen to communicate with any professor they are interested in working with. I was initially too intimidated to speak up, but when I finally did I got an amazing opportunity. Most professors are willing to help you as long as you show them that you are motivated, interested, and hardworking.

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Meet @UofSHealthPsych: Interview with Madison Montalbano

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MadisonMadison Montalbano is a junior psychology major. She was interviewed by senior Nicole Plantier.

UofSHealthPsych: Where are you from, and what drew you to the University of Scranton?

MM: I’m from Rockaway, NY a small beach town. Like many of our lab members, I came to visit the University of Scranton as a junior in high school and automatically felt a sense of community. I wanted a small school where I would receive individual attention and opportunities to grow as a person, making Scranton the perfect place.

UofSHealthPsych: Why did you choose to be a psychology major?

MM: I have been interested in how people cope with difficult life challenges for a long time, and I hope to one day be a professional and be able to facilitate understanding and growth in clients.

UofSHealthPsych: What activities are you involved with on campus, besides research?

MM: I have served as a teaching assistant in past semesters and will again in my senior year. I have recently been elected secretary of Psi Chi. Additionally, this semester I have been interning as a part of a practicum course.

UofSHealthPsych: How did you decide to join the Clinical Health Psychology Research Team?

MM: I decided to join after taking Dr. Arigo’s Health Psychology course. The class sparked my interest in health psychology and spurred me to ask Dr. Arigo if I could get involved.

UofSHealthPsych: Can you tell us a little bit more about your individual research interests/projects?

MM: I am interested in chronic illnesses both how the ill person and their families cope with them. Currently I am working on a study looking at how college students cope with family member’s chronic illness. Specifically how, or if, it had affected their adjustment to college.

UofSHealthPsych: What is the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from doing research with the team?

MM: I have learned so many things from working on the research team. First, I learned about the importance of attention to detail for all tasks is essential to successfully completing a research project. Second, I learned how to work collaboratively with other lab members to complete larger projects. As I continued in the lab and took on more responsibilities, I learned how to develop my own research project and write an IRB application.

UofSHealthPsych: What have you enjoyed most about working on a research team?

MM: I’ve enjoyed learning from both Dr. Arigo and other lab members about their research interests and seeing their working styles. It is nice to work with people who have similar interests as I do as well as those with different interests I got to learn more about.

UofSHealthPsych: I know you still have a year, but what are your plans after graduation?

MM: After graduation, I am planning on attending a graduate program in clinical psychology, possibly for a PsyD.

UofSHealthPsych: Is there any advice you would give an underclassmen interested in psychology research?

MM: I would say to learn as much as you can about what types of research professors in the psychology department are doing and ask to sit in on a few lab meetings before you choose what really interests you.

Meet @UofSHealth Psych: Interview with Nicole Plantier

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Nicole Plantier is a senior Psychology major. She was interviewed by sophomore Elle DiLorenzo.

UofSHealthPsych: Where are you from, and why did you choose the University of Scranton?

Nicole blog pictureNP: I’m from Moosup, CT, a small town in northeastern Connecticut about two hours away from Boston. I chose the University of Scranton because I fell in love with the school on my tour. The friendly atmosphere of the students and faculty drew me in.  As a prospective student, the open and welcoming vibe I got from the community here at The University was unmatched by other schools.

UofSHealthPsych: Why did you decide to study psychology?

NP: I originally planned on pursing a graduate degree in Forensic Psychology. My favorite television shows are Law & Order and Criminal Minds. Asking and answering questions about human behavior interests me. While my interests have shifted, and I’m no longer interested in Forensic Psychology, I have found the research process of psychology is my true passion.

UofSHealthPsych: How did you decide to join the Clinical Health Psychology Research Team? 

NP: Towards the end of spring semester last year, fellow team member Sabrina DiBisceglie told me about her individual research project on students’ responses to the Fitspiration trend on Instagram. I thought the work she was doing was incredibly interesting and I asked her how to get involved. I contacted Dr. Arigo, and started attending lab meetings in the Summer.

UofSHealthPsych: What are your roles as a research assistant with the research team?

NP: When I first started we had a large observational study running – Project CHASE, which collected daily surveys and physical activity data from college women. While that was running I interacted with participants and collected their Fitbit data. I also have done some data coding for a project that Kristen Pasko, another team member, was leading. Additionally, I’ve been working on searching for articles for a project investigating the effect of social comparisons on physical activity.

UofSHealthPsych: What would you say has been the greatest advantage of being a part of the Clinical Health Psychology Research Team?

NP: I think the greatest advantage is the exposure to research that I’ve received. As a team, we’ve read many research articles and have had informative discussions on them. We’ve also had discussions on statistics, graduate school, and other relevant topics. As a psychology major here at the University, you are required to take a research methods course, but being able to apply what I’ve learned has helped me develop even more as a skilled researcher.

UofSHealthPsych: What skills have you gained from working as a research assistant will be most useful in the future?

NP: I think being able to perform literature searches, critically read research articles, and effectively interact with participants are a few of the skills that I’ve gained from working as a research assistant. These skills are transferable and I will be able to apply them in my future as a student, as well as a researcher.

UofSHealthPsych: What are your plans after graduation?

NP: I have applied to doctoral programs in psychology with a concentration in cognitive psychology. Hopefully, if everything works out, I will be starting a program in the Fall. If not, I plan to apply for research assistant or coordinator positions to gain more research experience.

UofSHealthPsych: What kind of research are you most interested in?

NP: I’m interested in cognitive psychology, more specifically human attention and memory. But, I’m also highly interested in the effect of social comparison on different aspects of health behavior.

UofSHealthPsych: I’m still learning the ropes as the newest member of the team. Do you have any advice for someone who is just beginning to work on a research team?

NP: Don’t be afraid to ask questions! If you have a question, there’s a good chance another person has the same one. As undergraduates we aren’t expected to know everything. Participating on a research team is a learning experience, and part of learning is asking questions. Also, don’t take on more than you can handle! Mental health should be a priority, stretching yourself too thin can be more harmful than it is productive.

Meet @UofSHealthPsych: Interview with Sabrina DiBisceglie

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Sabrina DiBisceglie is a senior psychology major at The University of Scranton. She was interviewed by junior Madison Montalbano.

UofSHealthPsych: Where are you from, and what drew you to the University of SabrinaScranton?

SD: I am from a small town in Bergen County, New Jersey named River Edge. My guidance counselor in high school suggested I should look at the University of Scranton because it was a smaller school. Once I stepped onto campus I was drawn to the community feeling. As I looked around I saw many students walking in groups, playing frisbee, on the green, and walking with professors. I knew this was the type of atmosphere that I would want to spend my four years in.

UofSHealthPsych: When did you realize health psychology interested you?

SD: In high school I wanted to be a physical therapist or athletic trainer. It wasn’t until I had taken those college ‘what career would be best for you’ tests that my mind changed when It told me I should be a social worker. I knew that was not something I would be interested in, so I turned to psychology since I was drawn to the scientific aspect of the field. Freshman year I went into psychology thinking I was going to pursue sports psychology. I had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. O’Malley and he pointed me towards Dr. Arigo, and he assured me health psychology was really the field that dealt with all my interests. Once I joined the Clinical Health Psychology lab, I knew this was exactly the field of psychology I wanted to be in.

UofSHealthPsych: Can you tell us a little bit about your individual research project for the Clinical Health Psychology Lab?

SD: I am most interested in physical activity and what motivates one to exercise. What I have been fascinated by is the movement of #fitspiration on social media. As college students we are shaping our future habits and behaviors. With social media engagement increasing and becoming a consistent and frequent behavior in our everyday lives, it shapes what kind of content and messages we encounter daily. I think with #fitspiration having a big presence on social media, it may have an effect on behaviors such as exercise engagement. Through my research I am exploring the reasons behind why people post #fitspiration and the perceived outcomes/benefits of viewing such posts may be. I am also interested in understanding the use of #fitspiration as a motivational tool to enhance exercise engagement in both men and women. I had a Presidential Fellowship to stay on campus and work on these projects over the summer, and I’m applying for grant funding to increase the scope of this work.

Sabrina and Marisa Scholar Day 2017UofSHealthPsych: Aside from research, what clubs or activities on campus are you involved in?

SD: This year I am an officer for the Psychology Club and Psi Chi (the Psychology Honors Society). I am also President of the University of Scranton chapter of the Association for Psychological Science Student Caucus (APSSC), which is the psychology research club on campus.

UofSHealthPsych: What would you say has been the greatest advantage of being a part of the Clinical Health Psychology Research Team?

SD: This lab has allowed me opportunities and experiences that would not be possible if I were not part of the research team. I have assisted in individual projects for other students, worked on Dr. Arigo’s research, and now have the opportunity to conduct my own research. This lab has also provided me with research skills through hands-on experience. I think learning the skills in class is helpful, but being able to apply and utilize what is learned about conducting research from the beginning of the process to the end is really beneficial.

UofSHealthPsych: What skills have you gained from working as a research assistant will be most useful in the future?

SD: I have learned how to communicate with participants which can help in research as well as clinical settings in the future. I have also learned how to read articles and discuss them analytically. This may seem like a general skill, but I believe being able to pull out the significant parts of an article and to be able to develop informed opinions and discuss the information is important in any scientific based field. Being able to understand what is already out there and to expand upon your knowledge is an important skill for all professionals.

UofSHealthPsych: What are your plans after graduation?

SD: In the upcoming year, I plan to take a gap year in which I will continue to work on my research, as well as apply to graduate schools. I plan on applying to Clinical Health Ph.D programs to continue studying the psychology of physical activity.

Meet @UofSHealthPsych: Interview with Katie Notarianni

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Katie Notarianni is a graduating senior at The University of Scranton. She was interviewed by sophomore (and new lab member) Madison Montalbano.

UofSHealthPsych: Where are you from and what drew you to The University of Scranton?

Katie

KN: I grew up in the Scranton area, so The University has always felt like home. It has such a welcoming and great campus and I realized how much I can get involved in. I knew many people on campus already but was glad to meet even more.

UofSHealthPsych: How did you decide to join the Clinical Health Psychology Research Team? 

KN: I knew I wanted to get involved in research in some way and I have always been interested in women’s health issues. Dr. Arigo’s lab was a great fit because I am passionate about the topics we look at – specifically, gender differences in health behaviors.

UofSHealthPsych: What were the connections between your chosen major and topics we research?

KN: I am a Psychology major with Women’s Studies and Human Development concentrations, so there are many connections between my past courses and the work we do in lab. Research with the lab helped me better understand the information I already learned and taught me skills in successfully gathering data and presenting.

UofSHealthPsych: What were your roles as a research assistant with the Clinical Health Psychology Research Team?

KN: I co-authored two posters for the Celebration of Student Scholars (our internal research fair at the University) – one this year and one last year. Last year our poster was on a literature review of physical activity lapses (temporary gaps in activity engagement and why people may experience them. This year, I worked with another student to collect new data on connections between heath behaviors and social media use. I also enjoyed helping with recruitment for Project CHASE and different events the lab participated in, like Healthier U Day.

UofSHealthPsych: What would you say was the biggest lesson you learned from the Clinical Health Research Team? 

KN: I learned a lot about working with a team successfully, and about collecting data. I was happy to practice more with SPSS and Excel working on the posters. I also appreciated learning from our conversations in lab meeting, where we would discuss various research articles and current events, like the controversy around 13 Reasons Why.

UofSHealthPsych: What did you find most interesting about working with the research team? 

KN: I found it interesting learning how many directions and topics you can look at in health psychology. It is such an interesting perspective and can relates to many fields. Also, working with members in the lab with different backgrounds and goals was a great experience because people had different skills to offer.

UofSHealthPsych: I know that you’re graduating, what are your plans once you leave Scranton? 

KN: I plan to attend a master’s in clinical social work program at Bryn Mawr College in Philadelphia this fall. I want to later become a LCSW and use what I learned in the lab and continue working in research later on as well.

UofSHealthPsych: Is there any advice you would give someone just beginning to work on a research team?

KN: Be open minded to new ways and ideas in research, but also try to find what you’re passionate about. Research work can be difficult but if you’re passionate and interested it makes it worth it. There are so many directions you can go and topics to learn about. If you put in the work and interest, you can find such great and helpful info and develop your own new ideas.

Meet @UofSHealthPsych: Interview with Marissa DeStefano

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Marissa DeStefano is a senior psychology major at The University of Scranton. She was interviewed by senior Katie Notarianni.

Marissa PicUofSHealthPsych: We’ll start easy. Where are you from?

MD: I’m from Martinsville, NJ. I went to Bridgewater Raritan High School.

UofSHealthPsych: What do you like most about The University of Scranton?

MD: I like the size of the campus. I love having small class sizes and walking around campus seeing friendly faces. I really feel a sense of community on campus. I also love the food! DeNaples food was one of my top reasons for choosing Scranton.

UofSHealthPsych: What activities are you involved in on campus, besides research?

MD: I am a teaching assistant for Dr. Arigo’s health psychology course (PSYC 228). I’m the vice president of APSSC (the Association for Psychological Science Student Caucus), and I’m the vice president of Psi Chi (the Psychology Honors Society). I also really enjoy going to yoga classes on campus and the gym.

UofSHealthPsych: What made you choose to study Psychology and what are you most passionate about in the field? What kind of research are you most interested in?

MD: I chose psychology because I have always been intrigued by the human mind. I wanted to learn more about how our minds work, and how I can help people with mental illness. I’m really passionate about understanding how psychological disorders develop, and what methods of treatment are available to help. I am also interested in the relationship between our mental and physical health and how they affect each other.

UofSHealthPsych: What is your favorite memory working in the Health Psychology Research Lab?

MD: I really enjoyed presenting at student scholar day last year. It was cool to see all our hard work pay off and to see the research that other students are doing. It was a good way to celebrate our accomplishments as a research team.

UofSHealthPsych: What are your plans after graduation?

MD: My plans are still uncertain! However, I plan to attend graduate school in the fall. I applied to doctoral and masters programs in clinical psychology and clinical mental health counseling. I am still waiting to hear back from a couple of schools and then I will make my decision. This summer I plan to work in a clinical setting, possibly in an inpatient or outpatient treatment center but I am still in the process of applying to jobs!

UofSHealthPsych: What advice would you give to underclassmen about being involved in Psychology and/or Research?

MD: If you are interested in gaining research experience don’t hesitate to ask! Think about what research you are interested in and see if your interests align with any of the professors in the department. I encourage you to visit different professors during office hours to chat about your research interests. Don’t give up if the first professor you ask already has a full research team, keep trying and always have a backup plan!