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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The University of Scranton’s 2018 Celebration of Student Scholars (Student Research Day)

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The University of Scranton’s annual Celebration of Student Scholars (aka Scholar Day) is a three-hour poster session featuring research by University students and faculty. This year, we presented two posters: a systematic review of social comparison features in mobile apps that promote physical activity (Arigo, Pasko, Plantier, and Montalbano), and an empirical study of #fitspiration posters and followers’ perceptions (DiBisceglie, DiLorenzo, Pasko, and Arigo). Here, our student presenters reflect on their experience of the 2018 event.

Madison Montalbano, junior, on her first poster experience

scholarday2018.4Student Scholar Day was a wonderful learning experience for me. I’ve never presented a poster before and I was grateful for the opportunity. Explaining the research and discussing it with professors and fellow students was a great way to prepare for future conferences I may attend. The I enjoyed the supportive nature of the environment. The students presenting posters were friendly and seemed excited both to talk about their research and hear about what I was presenting. Overall, I was happy to present the poster and practice conveying the research in an engaging way.

Elle DiLorenzo, sophomore, on her first poster experience

Student Scholar Day was a unique and wonderful learning experience for me.  I have never presented a poster before scholar day, and I am grateful I got to have the experience early in my undergraduate career.  I was able to present findings in a scholarly way to a variety of people who all had different of understandings of psychology and #fitspiration.  I learned to adjust how I described the study based on who I spoke to (and their familiarity with psychology research/fitspiration), and to try to relate what was being said and asked back to the results and implications of the research. Everyone was supportive, so that allowed me to feel comfortable and to get a lot out of the experience. I am happy I was able to present at Scholar Day before going to a conference, because it gave me a preview of what a conference could be like.  Overall I think the event allowed me to become more comfortable with presenting research and believing that I know what I am talking about, even if the poster isn’t about my own independent project. Scholar Day is a wonderful way to engage students and professors in intellectually stimulating conversations and presentations about the research taking place at Scranton.

scholarday2018.3Nicole Plantier, graduating senior, on her second Celebration of Student Scholars event

Although I presented at a regional professional conference earlier this year, this was my first time presenting at Scholar Day, and it was a great experience. I am grateful for the opportunity to present my research findings to members of the University community. Students and faculty showed interest in my research posters (one with (UofSHealthPsych and one with another lab), and answering questions and interacting with individuals from other fields was enjoyable. Also, seeing the work my fellow classmates have been doing was great. I’m often so consumed with my psychology research, I forget that departments across the University are actively engaged in research as well. Overall, the experience of assisting with poster-making and presenting was rewarding.

Sabrina DiBisceglie, graduating senior, on her second Celebration of Student Scholars event

scholarday2018.2This Student Scholar Day was a different experience than the past Scholar Day that I attended (2017). Lat year, I assisted a senior student with creating and presenting a poster on a secondary analysis project. This year, I presented my independent research, which was supported by a Presidential Summer Fellowship in 2017. I was proud to present the research that I have been working on for a year and was glad to see people interested in my research. I also found it fulfilling to take a leadership role in assisting other lab members with their first time presenting a poster. This event is a great tool to prepare students for future professional poster sessions. This experience allowed me to become more comfortable with presenting my research and I feel well prepared to present at a professional conference later this month.

Read and see more about the 2018 event here. For our reflection on last year’s event, see here.

 

 

 

 

 

Research Coordinator Position at Rowan University

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Research Coordinator
Clinical Health And Social Experiences (CHASE) Lab
Rowan University

Application deadline: May 11, 2018

Start Date: September 1, 2018

Are you looking for an exciting opportunity to hone your skills in behavioral science research? Come work with the new Clinical Health And Social Experiences (CHASE) Lab at Rowan University! The CHASE Lab is hiring a full-time research coordinator. This position will provide opportunities to interact with research participants, collaborate with graduate and undergraduate students in clinical/health psychology, and receive mentoring to prepare for future graduate study in clinical/health psychology or a related field.

The research coordinator position will be under the direction of Danielle Arigo, Ph.D., who is joining Rowan from The University of Scranton in Pennsylvania (http://www.scranton.edu/faculty/arigod/index.shtml). Dr. Arigo’s research investigates social influences on health and health behavior, physical activity promotion, and weight control, particularly in the area of women’s health. This research emphasizes the development and optimization of digital health tools, including mobile health apps, wearable physical activity trackers, and social media platforms.

The coordinator’s primary responsibilities will be related to project management for an NIH-funded clinical trial (e.g., budget management; preparing and updating reports for NIH and IRB; managing participant recruitment, enrollment, and scheduling). Additional activities will include data management, training and supervision of research assistants, and contributing to the preparation of manuscripts and conference presentations. Previous experience with these tasks in the context of physical activity, weight control, women’s health, and/or digital health is desirable, and the coordinator will have the opportunity to improve skills in each of these areas.

Candidates should have a bachelor’s degree in psychology or a related area; coursework and/or work experience related to clinical research is preferred. Experience with using social media (particularly Twitter) in a professional or organizational capacity is desirable. Reliable transportation and some early morning/evening hours are required.

To apply, submit a CV and a one-page cover letter describing your preparation for this position to arigo@rowan.edu by May 11, 2018. Questions about the position can be directed to this email address.

 

Research News, April 2018

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It’s an exciting time for @UofSHealthPsych! We have several announcements to share, all related to our clinical health psychology research:

1) If you follow us, then you know that we have multiple active lines of research related to promoting healthy behavior. Our goals are to understand the psychological and social experiences that influence health behaviors in the natural environment, and use this information to improve health behavior interventions. We have multiple papers coming out in 2018 that pursue these goals: two related to Type 2 Diabetes outcomes, one on the role of calorie labeling of restaurant-type foods in grocery stores, one on recommendations for using social media in health research, and several on the role of social comparisons in behavioral weight loss treatment. Each of these topics will get some air time on this site in the coming months, so stay tuned!

2) In March 2018, our research on determinants and interventions to promote midlife women’s physical activity received a prestigious grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (National Institutes of Health). This funding will allow us to hire team members, recruit participants, work with state-of-the-art assessment technology, and develop a digital health tool tailored to the needs of midlife women. We’re off to a great start with related projects, and the whole team has been involved in activities such as coding literature and preparing abstracts for conferences. Read more about the grant here.

3) We’ll be at the Society of Behavioral Medicine annual meeting (SBM, April 11-14) and the UConn Center for mHealth and Social Media conference (May 18) sharing our recent and developing findings. At SBM, you can find us at #SBM2018 and:

  • Thursday’s Behavioral Informatics and Technology SIG “Tech Madness” and Middday Business meetings – 7:00am and 10:45am, respectively
  • Thursday’s evening poster session, presenting on relations between social media use and health behaviors (Kristen Pasko) and perceptions of the #fitspiration trend on Instagram (Sabrina DiBisceglie) – 6:15pm
  • Friday’s Women’s Health SIG morning panel on science communication (Dr. Arigo) – 7:00am
  • Friday’s morning paper session on Social Media and Broadcast Messaging for Health (Dr. Arigo) – 10:45am
  • Friday’s afternoon symposium on Understanding and Harnessing Social Influences on Women’s Health Behaviors: Social Perceptions, Stigma, and Social Modeling (Dr. Arigo) – 2:00pm

4) This summer, @UofSHealthPsych is moving to Rowan University in Glassboro, New Jersey. We’re taking our website, Twitter account, and research along for the ride, so please check for updates as we transition to our new home.

Thanks for following our progress and exciting news! We’ll be back with an SBM 2018 review post in two weeks.

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 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.

UofSHealthPsych on Campus: The University of Scranton’s Psychology Research Day and Women’s Health Research Panel

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Contributors: Zuhri Outland, Marissa DeStefano, Kristen Pasko, Sabrina DiBisceglie, Dr. Arigo

Our research team recently participated in two events at The University of Scranton. Here are our reflections on these experiences.

APSSC Student Research Day

Every year, the University of Scranton chapter of the Association for Psychological Science Student Caucus (APSSC) hosts a series of brief presentations to promote student research in the Department of Psychology. This is a student-run event that allows psychology research labs on campus to present their research interests and accomplishments to their peers. The event is a great opportunity for students who are interested in psychology research to see how their classmates are involved and to learn more about their professors’ research interests. It is also a good opportunity for professors to advertise their work and recruit new members for their teams.

At this year’s event (February 25th), students from several labs in the psychology department presented their research to an audience of 25 students. Labs represented were those of Dr. Hogan (psychological testing), Dr. Orr and Dr. Cannon (behavioral neuroscience), Dr. Kuhle (evolutionary psychology),  and Dr. Arigo (health psychology). Students Caitlin Gilby and Arielle Williams also presented their faculty-sponsored independent research projects. Students spoke for 5-10 minutes and used slides to illustrate their work.


At the event, several members of our health psychology research team presented on the lab’s focus and the work that we have been doing this year. We described health psychology as a field, our specific interest in social influences on health, our outreach efforts (like Healthier U Day), and our ongoing study Project CHASE (College Health And Research Team APSSC RD17Social Experiences). For Project CHASE, we described how each member has contributed to the study (scheduling appointments, sending reminder emails, conducting face-to-face interviews, and managing data). Kristen, Zuhri, and Marissa also shared their independent projects, which will include data from Project CHASE and other ongoing studies. Their topics include exercise motivation, relations between different types of social media and health behaviors, and perceptions of various body types. 

After the presentations there was time for interested students to talk to researchers about their experiences. Students were interested to know how we got involved in a research lab, and how we got the opportunity to form our own independent study. These students were invited to discuss their interest with faculty members or fill out applications to become research assistants. The event was a great opportunity to share all of the work do and learn about some of the work our friends and classmates have been doing.

Women’s Health Research: Panel Discussion and Fair

On the evening of March 2nd, professors at the University of Scranton participated in a panel discussion on their research on women’s health. This event, which was presented by the Women’s Studies Program and the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, was intended to showcase the excellent women’s health research on our campus and begin an interdisciplinary dialogue about women’s health research. Participating faculty members came from a variety of backgrounds and each had a different perspective on women’s health. Backgrounds were in nutrition, exercise science, psychology, political science, and nursing.

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The panel: Drs. Trnka (moderator), Bachman, Grossman, Harris, Feeney, and Arigo

Dinner was provided and included an array of healthy options. The event opened with welcoming remarks from Cathy Mascelli, our Assistant Director of the Center for Health Education and Wellness (CHEW), who spoke to the importance of examining gender differences in health outcomes. Each presenter then spoke for roughly 5-10 minutes on their research and interests in women’s health. Dr. Ann Feeney discussed her research on postpartum smoking cessation; Dr. Jessica Bachman described her findings related to postpartum weight loss interventions; Dr. Joan Grossman discussed weight gain and health risks during menopause, as well as weight loss interventions for this group; Dr. Arigo gave an overview of health psychology and our research on women’s body image, eating behavior, and physical activity; Dr. Jean Harris provided the broader context of what this research means for government policy (such as regulations on health care).

After these presentations, Dr. Jamie Trnka, the director of our Women’s Studies Program, opened the discussion to the audience for questions. She began with her own question about intersectionality and diversity, and questions from the audience focused on how best to handle issues of generalizability beyond the lab and doubt from the general public about the importance of women’s health research. It was interesting to see the

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Dr. Arigo, Kristen, Marissa, Zuhri, and Sabrina at the table fair

commonalities and differences among each panel member and how they approached each question from her own perspective. The last part of the event was a table fair, where attendees could interact with panelists and their students and ask more detailed questions. Zuhri, Marissa, Sabrina, and Kristen represented our lab at the table fair, and students from various majors approached us to ask about our work.

The key takeaways from this discussion were not only the importance of studying women’s health, but also the idea that everything that we do as a research team is connected to so many other perspectives and outcomes. That while the research we do is fun and interesting, it can also be the research that helps someone later or forms a government policy or is part of a treatment plan. The research isn’t just a solitary act – it can affect the lives of women at all ages. This event also demonstrated the importance of creating a conversation of women’s health. With this beginning, those who participated and/or attended the event may now have a greater appreciation for the current issues in women’s health and acknowledge that there is much more to learn. We look forward to future events like this to continue the discussion.

Interested in reading more about the panelists’ research? Visit their webpages (linked above) or look them up on Google Scholar!