Spring Psychology Awards

Department of Psychology Awards

Kathryn (Katie) Agenbroad  
Outstanding Undergraduate Award

Katie is a member of the psychology honors society Psi Chi and will graduate with high distinction in psychology for the completion of her honors thesis "The Effects of Loneliness, Kinship, and Perception of Burden on Older Adult Suicidality". She has been awarded a the UCCS Undergraduate Research Academy Grant and the Faculty Women's Association Mini-Grant for the pursuit of novel research. Academic honors include the Chancellor’s Award Scholarship, Phi Theta Kappa Honor's Society, and President's List status for each semester at UCCS.  While at UCCS, Katie worked as an undergraduate research assistant in the labs of Drs. Rachel Weiskittle and Laith Al-Shawaf wherein she operated as principal investigator in developing an original study and assisted with research tasks on various other projects within these labs. Working with her mentors on psychological research has been an experience that has been rewarding beyond measure and she credits their support and guidance for much of her success as a student, researcher, and future psychology professional.  After graduation, she accepted an offer to join the Fall 2023 cohort of the M.S. in Clinical Behavioral Health program at the Metropolitan State University of Denver. Katie plans to continue working as a research assistant and focusing both on grief experiences among individuals experiencing homelessness. After completion of my M.S., she would like to pursue clinical practice or a Clinical Psychology PhD program.

Grai Calabro
Outstanding Undergraduate Award

Grai is a Psychology major and research assistant in the Cognitive Development Lab since 2021. Her honor's thesis conducted with Dr. Diana Selmeczy centers around children's learning strategies in which she was awarded funding through the Undergraduate Research Academy. Grai has presented at many conferences such as the Society of Research in Child Development's biennial meeting where she received the UCCS Undergraduate Research Travel award. Grai received the UCCS Chancellor's Award and was the president of The International Honor Society Psi Chi UCCS chapter. After graduation, Grai  plans on pursuing a graduate degree in Cognitive Psychology.

Nadia Jeunelot 
Outstanding Undergraduate Award

Nadia is a Psychology major.  She is a research assistant in the UCCS PERCH lab and UCCS Cognitive Development Lab. Nadia’s honor’s research project focus is in value-based remembering.  After graduation, she plans to pursue a master’s degree in counseling after a gap year.

Alisha Silkey 
Outstanding Undergraduate Award

Alisha is a Psychology major with sociology, philosophy, and leadership minors.  She is a first-generation college student, Chancellors Leadership Class Scholar, Ron Wisner Human Spirit and Leadership award recipient, and Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative Student Ambassador.  Under the mentorship of Dr. Rachel Thayer, Alisha completed the Undergraduate Research Academy and is completing the Psychology Honors Program. Under the mentorship of Dr. Diana Selmeczy, she strengthened her research skills and presented at CSURF. After graduation, Alisha is pursuing a doctorate in industrial organizational psychology at Bowling Green State University.

Kristy Rhodes
David Nichols Award

Kristy received their received associate’s degree in psychology from Pikes Peak State College.  They have earned a BA in Psychology with minors in Sociology and Philosophy. Kristy has earned the Chancellors Award, KPWE and Reisher Scholarships.  After graduation, they are returning to UCCS to begin a Master of Social Work graduate program.

Caroline Collins-Pisano
Lee Becker Award

Caroline received her bachelor's degree from Dartmouth College where she conducted research on digital peer support for family caregivers of individuals with dementia. She has been recognized as a UCCS Graduate Research Fellow.  Caroline is currently conducting research with Dr. Rachel Weiskittle on grief, loneliness/social isolation in long term care facilities, and behaviors/attitudes toward visiting relatives and friends in long-term care settings. After graduation, she plans to pursue a combination of research and clinical work with older adults.

Esther Chung
Psychological Society of Pikes Peak Region Outstanding Student Award (MA Psychological Science)

Esther graduated from the University of Denver with Psychology and Biology degrees. Her awards and recognitions include UCCS Psychology Department Competitive Research Grant, ISRE - Early Career Research Section Poster Award, UCCS Graduate School Research and Professional Development Award, and UCCS Psychology Department Travel Award. Esther’s main research questions are motivated by a want to learn about the cultural effects on laypeople’s beliefs about emotion. In perusing this aim, her focus is organized around two questions: What are the effects of emotion, and how might they shape human perception, cognition, and alter behavior? How might human perception and emotion change between different cultures? Esther’s current thesis which is aimed at understanding the differences between an individual’s cultural background, self-construal, and emotion beliefs.  After graduation, she is pursuing a Psychology PhD degree at the University of Arizona.

Nina Spitzhorn
Psychological Society of Pikes Peak Region Outstanding Student Award (MA Clinical Psychology)

Nina has a BA in psychology & sociology, minor in animal studies & certificate in sports leadership from Drury University.  Her graduate thesis is "The Effects of Viewing Sport Performance Media Images on Young Women's Body Image: A Focus on Appearance and Functionality Satisfaction": other graduate research: sexual harassment experiences of women in STEM fields.  Nina plans to work as a therapist after graduation.

Lisa Stone
Outstanding Ph.D. Student (Geropsychology)
This award is giving to the student who has demonstrated exemplary performance as a PhD Student in the Clinical Psychology doctoral program in all areas of the program including research, clinical work, and leadership. Lisa Stone, M.A., is a fourth-year clinical psychology (geropsychology track) doctoral student at UCCS. She previously received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Dayton and her M.A. in Clinical Psychology from UCCS. She currently works with Dr. Daniel Segal where her research focuses on the nature, impact, and assessment of personality disorders among older adults. In particular, she is interested in dimensional models of personality disorders and their adaptability to the unique context of later life. Clinically, she has a passion for working with older adults and caregivers of older adults. In her free time, she enjoys hiking and camping, cooking with her partner, and watching hockey.
Julie Hurd
Outstanding Ph.D. Student (Trauma)
This award is giving to the student who has demonstrated exemplary performance as a PhD Student in the Clinical Psychology doctoral program in all areas of the program including research, clinical work, and leadership. Julie Hurd, M.S., is a fourth-year clinical psychology (trauma track) doctoral student at UCCS. She received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Northern Iowa and her M.S. in Psychology from Arizona State University. At UCCS, Julie has explored various lines of research including PTSD and marijuana use, community resilience and mental health outcomes, and the application of nonlinear dynamics to understand post-trauma recovery and resilience. Now, her research primarily focuses on intimate relationships and the impact of sexual trauma. Julie has been active in clinical work providing individual, couples, and group therapy to trauma survivors and conducting neuropsychological assessments. She also helped re-establish the psychology graduate student organization (PGSO) and is currently serving as the vice-president for the trauma track.
Jon Sundby
Outstanding MA Student in Clinical Psychology Award

Jon graduated with a BA in Political Science and Policy Studies from Grinnell College He worked at the UCCS Aging Center for clinical practicum, held a research assistant position in Dr. Tom Pyszczynski’s lab, and earned the Graduate Student Poster Award at the Rocky Mountain Humanistic Counseling & Psychological Association Conference for his poster "An Existential Conflict: A Terror Management Approach to the Russian-Ukrainian War."  Jon’s research explores how existential issues, philosophical orientations, and attributions affect attitudes toward stigmatized groups, primarily people experiencing homelessness and addiction. In particular, he has worked on projects that have explored how the emotion of "awe" interacts with thoughts of death, how political ideologies affect attitudes about homelessness, and how conceptions of personal control influence how people view addiction. Jon intends to apply to Ph.D. programs in Clinical and Counseling Psychology.

Hannah Levitt
Outstanding MA Student in Psychological Science Award

Hannah obtained her bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. However, she soon discovered that her passion for research surpassed her love for animals and medicine, which led her to apply for the MA program at UCCS. Her dedication and hard work paid off, as she was awarded the prestigious Lee Becker award for being the top-performing first-year graduate student in research methods and statistics courses. During her time in the program, Hannah chose to focus on the cognitive path and conducted her thesis research on “Mindful Breathing, Aging, and Proper Name Retrieval.” After graduation, Hannah plans to pursue a career as a data analyst in the industry.

Katie Granier
Outstanding PhD Student Award (Geropsychology)

Katie will be completing a predoctoral internship in psychology (neuropsychology track) at the VA North Texas Healthcare System in Dallas, TX beginning summer 2023. She defended her master’s thesis on the multifaceted characterization of worry in relation to anxiety among older adults in April 2020 and will be defending her doctoral dissertation examining the differential effects of age and cognitive functioning on late life presentations of anxiety and worry on April 2023.  Following graduation, Katie intends to pursue a postdoctoral position in neuropsychology within an academic medical center or VA hospital. Her long-term career goal is to complete board certification to become a clinical neuropsychologist, specializing in working with older adult populations.

Sophie Brickman
Outstanding PhD Student Award (Trauma)

Sophie is completing her clinical training at the Lyda Hill Institute for Human Resilience Veteran's Health and Trauma Clinic, and the Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center Family Program. She received one of the UCCS Graduate School Mentored Doctoral Fellowship to fund her fifth-year program and dissertation research, and recently received a grant from the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues to fund her dissertation research.  Sophie is a member of the Cognition, Emotion, and Wellbeing research lab directed by Dr. Steve Bistricky, where she is completing my dissertation research. Sophie is beginning a yearlong APA accredited internship at the Rocky Mountain Regional VA Medical Center this summer.