2021 Cohort Profiles
Ashley Michelle Campos
My research interest is in social psychology, abnormal psychology, and neuroscience. I’m specifically interested in understanding mental illnesses, emotions, and our ability to adjust to new changes in our day-to-day life. I want to understand the ‘why’ in our behaviors and learn how to better cope with our mental illnesses and emotions. For my thesis, I hope to study coping mechanisms in transitioning to a new and unknown environment. My goal is exploring our understanding of how we transition from a new environment and learn how to better adjust to the stressors of either lack of support, maladaptive coping mechanisms, emotional processing, and mental illnesses. I plan to apply for a Ph.D. program in Psychology that will relate to my interests and will provide another support to continue my studies. I hope to continue from there doing further research and sharing my knowledge that I have gained in my journey.
Supervisor: Dr. Czyzewska
My research interests are within clinical, social, and cognitive psychology. A general topic I’m concerned with is how individual and cognitive differences shape our perception of self and others. Furthermore, my interests directly relate to my long-term goal of helping people with psychiatric disorders not only receive effective treatment but understand their diagnoses and develop individualized skills to manage and cope with their psychopathology. Thus, my current research interest is concerned with how psychiatric disorder diagnoses (e.g., ADHD) and treatment with psychopharmaceuticals impact aspects of the self (e.g., self-efficacy, self-authenticity, self-esteem). In the future, I’d like to further research that would benefit more effective psychopharmaceutical treatment for individuals with ADHD (and potentially expand to other disorders) by analyzing the correlates between successful treatment with specific medications and neurofunctional, cognitive, and behavioral representations of symptomology.
Supervisor: Dr. Warnell
My main research interests lay heavily in clinical psychology and psychopathology. I am primarily interested in mental disorders such as depressive disorders, anxiety disorders, substance use disorder, and personality disorders (mainly borderline personality disorder). For my thesis project, I will be conducting a longitudinal study on the relationship of personality traits (i.e. impulsivity), symptoms of mental disorders (i.e. depression and anxiety), socioeconomic status, and the interaction with sources of substance misuse in college students. My overall goal as a researcher is to positively impact the lives of people impacted by mental disorders by supplying novel information to better understand how to cope and live with the disorders. In the future, I plan to pursue a PhD in Clinical Psychology and focus on researching anxiety, depression, substance use, and personality disorders.
Supervisor: Dr. Schepis
My research interests focus on applying psychological principles to artificial intelligence (AI) engineering, usability and Human Computer Interaction Design. I would like to study existing data within these areas to understand what psychological principles may best help explain some of the issues that researchers face in the technology world today. I would hope to improve technology for humans through trying to find and provide possible solutions designing and engineering advanced technology for humans. I plan to continue my career in software after I complete the MAPR program. In the future I would like to focus on AI engineering Research in the automobile industry.
Supervisor: Dr. Graham
My primary research interest is to address the current research gap in violent behavioral studies. I aim to assess biological sex differences of behavior in females, an under-researched population in existing research of violent and aggressive behaviors. The impacts of my proposed research are manifold; including elucidating the predictors of violence and extreme violence (e.g., mass murder) unique to women, identifying how violent traits manifest differently between sexes, and providing findings to inform targeted interventions for individuals vulnerable to engaging in violent behaviors. Additionally, I am interested in researching manipulative and callous-unemotional traits, sexual predator behavior, psychopathy and substance misuse, gender identity, and increasing cultural competency within the psychology field. Upon completion of my MA in Psychological Research, I plan to continue my education in a doctoral program to pursue a career in research.
Supervisor: Dr. Perrotte
I am primarily interested in social and cognitive psychology; particularly as they pertain to the experiences of ADHD as well as individuals on the outskirts of social groups or who exist between groups such as those who are biracial, bisexual, or multi-ethnic/cultural. Many people who are mixed or who are bisexual find themselves on the fringes of the groups with which they identify, struggling to find a sense of belonging with either identity or receiving pushback to an assertion of their own identity independent of these groups. I am interested in the effects of ambiguous group identity and how they might impact individuals’ functioning. Certain aspects of ADHD, such as rejection and cultural influence, are under-researched, so I would like to expand on the existing literature. The focus of my thesis is the role of cultural differences in the coping behaviors of college students with ADHD as well as their experience of symptoms and overall ability to function. In general, my goals for ADHD research are to better understand underlying mechanisms of the disorder and to open up avenues of research for the purpose of improving outcomes for adults with ADHD. After completing a master’s here at Texas State, I plan to pursue a PhD in social psychology and eventually enter academia as a researcher.
Supervisor: Dr. Mendez
My research interests revolve around the field of metacognition, or the unique set of processes used to understand one’s learning and memory abilities. I am interested in studying the effect of prescribed stimulants used to treat ADHD on judgments of learning, or JOLs. Specifically, I hope to understand the effect on prescribed stimulants on participants diagnosed with ADHD and their ability to form calibrated JOLs. I am hoping that the research I conduct will allow for breakthroughs in the vast and underdeveloped field of metacognition. After I graduate, I hope to pursue a career in research and apply the knowledge I gain to underserved and under-studied communities. My goal is to earn a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology so that I may teach and conduct research at an academic institution.
Supervisor: Dr. Kelemen
My research interests are focused on how sensory perceptions relate to decision making, social interactions, and cognitions—specifically concerning buying behaviors. My current focus is looking at which stimuli in advertising are most beneficial in grabbing and keeping a consumer’s attention. The phrase ‘sex sells’ is very well known and a common marketing strategy for many companies, but this assumption may no longer be true as new research is showing that sexualized advertisements are not being received as well as they were in the past. I want to go further and investigate if consumers’ self-reported reception of the advertisements are consistent with results of measuring the visual attention they actually give said advertisements compared to non-sexualized advertisements. My goal as a researcher is to help companies use psychological and perceptual concepts and principles to create more relatable and comfortable shopping experiences for their consumers as well as increase product quality and reception.
Supervisor: Dr. Trujillo
Broadly, my research interests are in the field of social psychology. More specifically, identifying social and/or environmental factors that contribute to abnormality or deviancies in individual psychopathology, including criminal behavior, violent sexual tendencies, and discrepancies in the wellbeing of minorities and oppressed groups. Upon completion of the Master of Arts in Psychological Research program at Texas State University, I intend to pursue a Ph.D. in Social Psychology. My thesis focuses on the relationship between COVID-19 guideline adherence and psychological concepts such as the Big Five Personality Traits, locus of control, moral disengagement, empathy, and just world beliefs.
Supervisor: Dr. Osborne
My primary area of interest in research that inspired me to apply to this program is my passion for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. I’m also interested in finding non-medicinal treatments in relation to mental and cognitive health. I hope to combine these two interests to discover a new method of regenerative therapy, with a basis in neural plasticity, to alleviate the sympotoms of Alzheimer’s disease. After graduating from the Master’s of Psychological Research Program, I plan to pursue a PhD in neuroscience.
Supervisor: Dr. Deason
My research interest is forensic and social psychology, and I am interested in police and the juvenile population. I always wondered why crime happens, what are the factors of the individual why did the individual become a part of the legal system. I know the answer is complicated, but I want to research the complexity of those answers. For my thesis project with Dr. Osborne, I plan to research the Mental Health Attitudes and Officer Perceptions of Danger and Use of Force, comparing it with college students who are about to graduate from the criminal justice field to police officers. I want to bring up the prevalence of mental health in law enforcement settings and emphasize the need for more training in law enforcement regarding mental health by creating awareness of the mental illness. With my research, I can help debunk myths so the public can have better judgment calls when handling someone who cannot communicate directly. Upon completing the MARP program, I plan to pursue a Ph.D. in clinical psychology with a concentration in forensic psychology. I want to understand and assess individuals' psychology and how that relates to the legal system, specifically with minority children/adolescents.
Supervisor: Dr. Osborne
After my time as an undergraduate student, I came to learn that people from different walks of life handle stress much differently. This is what piqued my research interest. The idea can be considered a bit of a cross-over between social psychology and clinical psychology, since I want to look at the perception of mental health. I want to see how intersectionality and different styles of upbringing can affect perception of mental health. More specifically, I want to see how intersectionality affects someone’s self-perception on different symptoms of depression and anxiety, especially during stressful situations. It will be interesting to see the relationship between intersectionality and self-perception on mental health, because I would like to know if there is genuinely a difference in how much each demographic experiences symptoms of depression and anxiety, or if certain indicators are being ignored altogether. That is where I plan to further my research. Following my master's thesis, I would like to see which factors should be considered for different demographics when it comes to ideas of depression and anxiety. My goal would be to determine the validity of certain test questions for different populations and see if there are test items that are more fit for a given demographic.
Supervisor: Dr. Czyzewska
My research interests include cognitive psychology, neuropsychology, and personality psychology. I am especially interested in sleep psychology and more specifically dreams. For my thesis, I am studying how the Big 5 personality traits could influence dreams and how those influenced dreams could affect waking life regarding problem-solving abilities and creativity. A person’s subjective experience that they obtain through their personality could affect one’s dreams. Those dreams could then affect how their next day goes. Upon approval, I plan on using a personality questionnaire, a dream questionnaire, and several problem-solving and creativity tasks to measure how all these topics of interest are interconnected. My goal is to see that people scoring higher on certain personality traits will indicate certain types of dreams that they will have as well as their attitude toward dreams which could indicate how they would perform on cognitive tasks testing problem-solving and creativity. I hope to use this research to get a better understanding on, in my opinion, an under-researched topic in dreams. In the future, I plan to pursue a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology to continue developing these research interests and then continue my research in an academic setting and being able to teach or run my own research lab.
Supervisor: Dr. Westerberg
My research interests include Abnormal Psychology, Cognitive Neuroscience, and Neuropsychology. Serious mental health issues are challenging to handle, especially in relation to well-being and cultivating satisfaction in life. I am interested in protective factors among individuals with mental issues which can impact prognosis. Further, I am fascinated by the neural mechanisms involved in mental illnesses. I am curious about the intersect of memory and resilience in response to difficult life circumstances. My thesis project will address working memory and psychological stress among young adults. I hope my findings will be generalizable to older adults as well. Future endeavors involve working with elderly individuals dealing with either Alzheimer's disease or memory issues. I have volunteered at Any Baby Can, a non-profit, that assists families with children on the Autism spectrum or developmental issues. Upon completion of the Master of Arts in Psychological Research program, I will be seeking employment in Psychological Research or Neuropsychology. I do intend to pursue a Ph.D. in Neuropsychology. Possible career pursuits may be conducting research and teaching in academia, private practice, or employment in a hospital setting.
Supervisor: Dr. Graham
Daniela Romero Fajardo
My research interests are in social psychology and social cognition. I am interested in people with cognitive disabilities such as autism and down syndrome. Similarly, I am interested in studying the benefits of meditation in different areas such as mental health, education, or disability. In the future, I would like to study contemplative neuroscience as it is a new area where neuroscience tools are used to study the effects of meditation. For my thesis, I plan to study the relationship between mindfulness and subjective well-being (life satisfaction) and the mediating role of resilience, social support, and emotional intelligence (self-compassion) in supporting the adjustment of first-year Latinx immigrant students to university. When I finish the MAPR program, I would like to work with children and adults with cognitive disabilities and, at the same time, be active in the research world.
Supervisor: Dr. Mendez
In general, my interests fall within the scope of behavioral and cognitive neuroscience, as well as clinical psychology. More specifically, I’m interested in PTSD and depression as it relates to military veterans and their families. For my thesis, I will explore the topic of intrusive memories and if visuospatial tasks have a positive effect on the reduction of frequency in which the intrusive memories reoccur. For various reasons not all active-duty service members are able to consistently receive Cognitive Processing Therapy (CPT) or Prolonged Exposure (PE) treatment. Therefore, the goal of this research is to expand the existing knowledge on video games and if these sorts of visuospatial tasks can help in the reduction of PTSD symptoms. Upon completion of my master’s program, I plan to pursue a Ph.D. in either Clinical Psychology with an emphasis on Neuropsychology, or a Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience. In the future, I hope to continue to pursue research, whether in an academic institute or in the private sector.
Supervisor: Dr. Etherton
My general research interests lie within the fields of clinical, health, social, and personality psychology. I am seeking to further the current perspective on the relationship between personality traits, noncognitive and social factors of wellbeing and success, and perceptions of stress and anxiety. More specifically, my thesis project aims to satisfy gaps in literature regarding antecedents of grit, the connection between grit and traits of the Dark Triad (narcissism, Machiavellianism, and psychopathy), state-level correlates of grit, and the relationship between grit and perceived wellbeing and success. After completing my Master’s, I intend to obtain a PhD in clinical psychology with aspirations of designing and innovating preemptive interventions for mental illness with a specific focus on personality disorders. Beyond my PhD, I will pursue a career in academia and a clinical setting. I aspire to give back to my community using leading research while also shaping minds of future researchers and clinicians.
Supervisor: Dr. Graham
My research interests are centered around clinical and forensic psychology, specifically I am interested in clinical mental disorders and the psychological factors involved in criminal behavior. I am also interested in examining mechanisms such as psychoactive substance use in relation to criminal behavior, in which my thesis will examine the effects of substance use on risk-taking behaviors among young adults. After completion of the MAPR program and obtaining my M.A, I plan to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and become a clinical psychologist working in a private practice in addition to providing forensic psychological evaluations, consultations, and expert testimony in criminal law cases. In my career, I will further analyze the etiology of mental illnesses and criminal risk-taking behaviors to develop efficient treatment methods without the dependency of medication; as well as aiming to decrease the stigma of mental illness through the improvement of therapy methods.
Supervisor: Dr. Oberle
Broadly, my research interests include addictive behaviors, substance use, anxiety disorders, cognition and perception, social norms, chronic pain, and neuroscience. I am particularly interested in researching individual and environmental differences pertaining to the vulnerability, onset, and treatment of addictive and anxiety disorders. Since I believe it is vital to consider development across the lifespan, I plan to focus my research on adolescent and emerging adult populations. After completing the MAPR program, I plan to pursue a PhD to continue refining my skills as a researcher. In the future, I hope that my research will impact public policy regarding harm reduction, intervention, and rehabilitation for substance use.
Supervisor: Dr. Schepis
As a student for the Master of Arts in Psychological Research Program here at Texas State University, my current research interests lie primarily in health psychology, developmental psychology, and clinical psychology. To go into depth, my main focus and interest essentially covers such disorders like autism spectrum, schizophrenia, as well as depression. Shortly after my undergraduate studies, I have gained entry level experience and an understanding of such mental disorders that individuals diagnosed face daily. This also enlightened me to situations that not only the client encounters every day, but the caregivers additionally. My overall goal as a researcher is to impact the world in a positive way by exploring useful and more beneficial information these individuals, may use. For my thesis project, I plan on conducting an efficient on-campus experiment that correlates binge drinking in college students to depression and anxiety. After the completion of the Master of Arts in Psychological Research Program at Texas State University, I plan to obtain more research experience and eventually apply to pursue a doctorate program at a university of my choice. This will set the foundation needed to professional goals of hopefully becoming a professor at a major university or clinical psychologist at a hospital.
Supervisor: Dr. Haskard-Zolnierek