Cohort 2016 Individual Profiles

Russel Ryan Barker

Supervisor:  Dr. Logan Trujillo

My broad focus is the scientific study of consciousness including salient “I” experiences, like self-consciousness and altered states of consciousness, like hypnosis My current research combines electroencephalographic and phenomenological approaches to examine guided meditation exercises in order to better understand the neural spaces associated with different phenomenological states, as they relate to emotional valence, space, time and body awareness. Additionally, I would like to explore the applications of mind-body interactions and altered states within clinical populations specifically post-traumatic stress disorder and personality disorders.

Andrew Burkot


Supervisor:  Dr. Crystal Oberle

I am interested in sports psychology as it relates to eSports. Specifically, I am interested in researching the effects of exercise and nutrition on competitive video game performance. Most traditional sports require physical conditioning and proper nutrition in order to compete at a high level. While eSports competition does not necessarily require prime physical conditioning, I am interested in the psychological benefits and effects of regular exercise and proper nutrition on constructs such as self-esteem, anxiety and stress, and how they affect eSports performance.

Miguel Capote


Supervisor: Dr. Krista Howard 

Originally from Caracas, Venezuela, I received my Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology summa cum laude from Texas State University. My area of interest and study focuses on industrial psychology, more specifically, in absenteeism and the training of personnel. I consider this area of I/O psychology to be extremely important for the health and productivity of the work place, as the consequences of absenteeism and poor training be costly to companies and organizations.

Eileen Marin Cordivin


Supervisor: Dr. Reiko Graham

My current research interest is based in cognitive psychology.  Specifically, I am focused on attention, attitudes, visual cognition, and how these concepts interact.   My thesis will utilize eye-tracking technology to examine the outcome of a gaze-cueing paradigm is modulated by the type of prime or type of target that appears.  I would also like to explore if any of these effects are related to individual’s attitudes about marijuana.

Kirstin Critz


Supervisor: Dr. Reiko Graham

My research interests generally lie within cognition and neuropsychology. I am currently looking at the effect of stress and emotional eating on food appeal. My thesis will take that a step further and implement Event-Related Potential. My future plans include pursuing a Ph.D. in cognitive neuroscience with an emphasis in neuroimaging.

Amanda Faggard


Supervisor: Dr. Randall Osborne

As an undergrad at Texas State University, I received my Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice, minoring in Forensic Psychology. As a graduate student in both this program and the Criminal Justice Master’s program, my research focuses on the relationship between criminal justice and psychology. Publications I am currently working on include tracking and trailing K9 Units and scent detection in specific breeds. My thesis for this program will focus on the relationship between police cynicism and vigorous responses to certain situations.

Fatemeh Fereidooni


Supervisor:  Dr. Ty Schepis

My major research focus is on non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI), which is the deliberate destruction of body tissue without conscious suicidal intent.  NSSI appears to be increasing in prevalence and is associated with other psychopathology, such as depressive disorders.  In particular, I am interested in the influences of emotional dysregulation, interpersonal schemas and body image on NSSI.  My thesis will examine a novel measure of emotional experience and regulation, the emotional conflict task, and measures of interpersonal schemas, body image and impulsivity on NSSI likelihood and frequency.

Sean Fickle


Supervisor:  Dr. Carmen Westerberg

My research interests involve the use of energy drinks and their effects on mental facilities. I am specifically interested in the effects of energy drinks on attention and memory retrieval. Since the use of energy drinks is increasing and extremely popular among young adults, considering how these chemical concoctions manipulate the mind is becoming more of a pressing concern, especially if they bring about negative side effects. I hope to contribute to the literature on this subject.

Trisha Flournoy


Supervisor:  Dr. Randall Osborne

My current research interests lie within the field of Social Psychology. Through my thesis, I plan to explore the relationship of Police Cynicism and certain attitudes (e.g., Tolerance for Ambiguity, Multicultural Attitudes and Intercultural Sensitivity). Through this research, I hope to further develop my interests and prepare for a career in research.

Maxwell Helfrich


Dr. Kirsten Tooley

I am interested in examining the effects that various forms of popular media have on the overall population.  More specifically, I am interested in how violent media such as film, television, and video games affect people, as well as the potential relationship between violent media and real world violence.  My thesis will examine how previous exposure to violent media affects eye movement and fixation when reading sentences containing violent emotionality. 


Sara Hicks


Supervisor:  Dr. Kelly Haskard-Zolnierek

Broadly, my research interests are focused on bereavement and the grief process. Specifically, I am interested in looking at disenfranchised grief related to pet loss. In the future, I plan to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology or Counseling Psychology

Angela Johnson

Angela J

Supervisor:  Dr. William Kelemen

Broadly, I am interested in health, social and cognitive psychology. My research interests include eating behaviors and disorders, self-control, emotional regulation, and metacognition. My thesis will investigate the relationship between cognitive load and eating decisions. Two other projects I am working on include (1) exploring the development of orthorexia nervosa and (2) looking at the influence of work status on academic success.

Joseph Perez


Supervisor:  Dr. Randall Osborne

My research interests are in the field of Sports Psychology. Specifically, I am interested in how personality factors relate to the injury rehabilitation process, as well as how personalities can affect team cohesion between teammates and coaches. My research will specifically look at Locus of Control and Self-Monitoring personality traits. After earning my masters, my plans include pursuing a Ph.D.  in Sports Psychology.

Stephanie Purol


Supervisor:  Dr. Jean Hu

Overall, my research interests are in Forensic, Social, and Quantitative Psychology. More specifically, I enjoy researching how societal forces affect our mental states and cause our reactions. My thesis will examine how perceived and internalized racism affects students' self-esteem and grade point average. In the future, I plan to pursue a PhD and further develop my data analysis skills to later become a researching professor at a university.

Sinjin Roming


Supervisor:  Dr. Krista Howard

My research interests focus on attention disorders, particularly ADHD, and stress management.  Currently, I am primarily researching stress.  My thesis will look at the coping mechanisms used to combat the negative effects of stress. Stress-coping mechanisms are categorized into two groups, adaptive and maladaptive. Adaptive mechanisms of coping often lead to beneficial outcomes for an individual, while maladaptive coping results in negative outcomes. My thesis will examine specific coping mechanisms, especially from the adaptive coping strategies, that will prove most effective in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and quality of life.

Linda-Brooke Thompson

Supervisor: Dr. Natalie Ceballos

I am interested in examining reward sensitivity and how this psychological construct relates to personality and addictive behaviors. My research goals are to understand how variation in reward sensitivity contributes to differences in personality and specific characteristics, such as sensation seeking and addictive behavior. For my thesis, I will develop a research project implementing EEG measures in the investigation of reward sensitivity and attention to desirable stimuli.

Dakota Tuffentsana


Supervisor:  Dr. Logan Trujillo

Cognitive psychology is the focus of my research. I am interested in cognitive performance, perception, attention, and memory, as well as, their corresponding neurological processes. Currently, I am investigating the effects of color priming on cognitive performance. My thesis intends to explore the detrimental effects of red color priming on cognitive performance after conducting an ego depletion task.  I also intend to seek a relationship with cortical activity using ERPs.

Marieke Visser


Supervisor:  Dr. Reiko Graham

I am interested in comparing the effectiveness of different coping methods at reducing physiological stress. Specifically, I will be comparing mindfulness meditation and adult coloring. It has been theorized that adult coloring puts people in a similar mental state as mindfulness meditation. If this is accurate, the benefits of both types of coping should be comparable. In addition, I am exploring maladaptive perfectionism as a moderating factor of coping effectiveness. Past research has shown that maladaptive perfectionism moderates the effectiveness of mindfulness meditation, so I would also like to apply it to adult coloring.


Ryan Watkins

Ryan Watkins

Supervisor:  Dr. Crystal Oberle

I am interested in Personality, Social, Cross-Cultural/International, Developmental, Human Factors, and Educational/School Psychology. I am very interested in the sociocultural factors that can affect an individual in terms of developmental trajectories. I am also interested in the American education system and how it can be changed to give students a better experience, given different backgrounds and learning styles. In my thesis, I will research the contrast between standardized tests that use gendered language and ones that use non-gendered language. I am interested in how this might affect test scores and the perception of standardized testing.