What does the SPSP student committee do? The student committee is responsible for the various events geared towards students at the annual convention (e.g., mentor lunches, student poster awards, outstanding research award). Beyond the events at the convention, the student committee also works hard to make year-around resources available to committee members. One example is the technical report aimed at demystifying the academic job market that was compiled by the 2019-2020 student committee. The 2020-2021 committee is finalizing a parallel report on the non-academic job market. They are also responsible for the articles appearing on the monthly SPSPotlight newsletter. Although this may not be an exhaustive list of the various responsibilities of the student committee members, it provides a glimpse of the yearly accomplishments by the committee members.
Who are the SPSP student committee members? The student committee is composed of 10 elected members, each occupying different roles. Below we introduce the incoming student committee.
Chair – H. Annie Vu, Rutgers University
Hi everybody! I'm a second-year Ph.D. student at Rutgers University-Newark and I work in Dr. Luis Rivera's Rutgers Implicit Social Cognition Lab. I'm interested in (1) how different implicit and explicit self-concepts affect a person's tendency toward prejudice, stereotyping, and discrimination and (2) what interventions could be created and implemented to reconcile interpersonal and intergroup conflicts. I'm really excited to continue to serve you guys in the student committee!
Fun fact: My advisor was away on a professional fellowship in D.C. during my first year in the Ph.D. program and then at the end of my first year the COVID19 pandemic broke out so I guess I have never had a full normal Ph.D. year.
Vice Chair – Stylianos Syropoulos, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Hi everyone! I'm a third-year Ph.D. student in the psychology of peace and violence program, in the social psychology division at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, working under the supervision of Dr. Bernhard Leidner.
My research interests focus on understanding the antecedents of peace and violence. Specifically, I am interested in how individual differences in perceived safety, worldviews, and ideologies can perpetuate conflict. I am also interested in how high quality close relationships can potentially exert positive downstream intergroup effects and promote conflict resolution. Currently, I am conducting my Master's Thesis on the potential of harmonious worldviews to promote constructive national identification. I am honored to have the chance to serve the student body of SPSP as a member of the Student Committee, and I am looking forward to meeting and interacting with everyone.
Fun fact: I love otters! In fact, once I traversed 10 miles while in Copenhagen so I could get the chance to see one at their aquarium.
Past Chair – Fernanda Andrade, Duke University
Hello everyone! I'm a third-year Ph.D. student in the social psychology program at Duke University, working with Dr. Rick Hoyle. I am interested in the role of individual differences in self-regulatory capacity and skills on the pursuit of health goals. I'm also interested in how our salient and valued identities influence the valuing and pursuit of health goals. Serving in the SPSP student committee has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of graduate school, and I look forward to serving you for another year!
Fun fact: I’ve been playing with watercolors and bullet journaling since the pandemic started, and it’s been my favorite self-care activity since then!
SPSPotlight Co-Editor – Katie Austin, University of Texas at Dallas
My name is Katie White Austin and I'm a PhD candidate at the University of Texas at Dallas. I'm in my 4th year of the Psychological Sciences Doctoral Program where I work with Dr. Heidi Kane. My research interests primarily center around social support experiences in close relationships. My current research focuses on the use of affectionate touch to promote positive health behaviors and adaptive coping behaviors across different kinds of close relationships. I have thoroughly enjoyed my role as SPSPotlight co-editor this past year, and I'm looking forward to another wonderful year ahead. If you have suggestions or ideas for what you'd like the student newsletter to cover, don't hesitate to reach out!
Fun fact: I have 6 siblings, and I love my big and tight-knit family!
SPSPotlight Co-Editor – Sharlene Fernandes, Georgia State University
Hey everyone, I’m Sharlene! I’m currently a PhD student at Dr. Eyal Aharoni’s Cooperation, Conflict, and Cognition Lab at Georgia State University. My research interests include studying how people’s emotions and personality traits shape their reactions to unfairness. I use economic games to understand punishment of fairness violations. I’m also currently working on projects that examine how moral values and psychopathic traits contribute to criminal behavior. I’m excited to work as a co-editor for the (SPSPotlight) newsletter this year! If you have any ideas or suggestions for the newsletter, please feel free to send me an email. I’d be happy to hear from you.
Fun fact: I love beaches and trying cuisines from different cultures and countries. A more superficial fact: I recently found out that I have genetic markers for hair photobleaching (and my hair does actually get lighter when I spend time in the sun!).
Member-at-Large – Abdo Elnakouri, University of Waterloo
Hey everyone! I'm a third-year PhD student at the University of Waterloo. Much of my research tries to understand how people's mundane everyday goals work to subtly shape their broader moral, political, and religious commitments. For example, in a line of work with Dr. Abby Scholer and Dr. Ian McGregor, we find that people attempt to deal with hard life decisions by steering towards particular ideological commitments. I'm excited to serve on the Student Committee this year; please feel free to reach out with any comments or suggestions. :)
Fun fact: I won a speech competition in grade 4 for a talk on dinosaurs. Some say that was my career peak.
Member-at-Large – Martha Berg, University of Michigan
Hello everyone! I am a 4th year PhD student in Social Psychology at the University of Michigan, where I work with Shinobu Kitayama and Ethan Kross to study how cultural and relational dynamics influence our judgments and decisions, particularly moral decisions. Before this, I was at Duke University, where I completed a BS in Psychology and an MS in Global Health. I'm looking forward to getting started on the Student Committee!
Fun fact: The new pandemic-friendly hobby I've picked up recently is knitting! I've been enjoying knitting lots of hats and sweaters to keep me warm during the long, cold Ann Arbor winter :)
Member-at-Large – Christian Kotoye, Oakland University
Hey y'all! I am a third year doctoral student and research assistant at Oakland University. I'm currently working in both the Cognition and Behavior (CAB) Laboratory, with Dr. Martha Escobar and in the Personality and Evolutionary Psychology (PEP) Laboratory with Dr. Melissa McDonald. My research is focused on furthering the investigation of intergroup conflict and bias from a social psychological perspective while also understanding the evolved psychology that underlies these phenomena. Specifically, I am interested in how race drive biases in social relationships, in policing, and in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics fields.
I am looking forward to serving as the first member-at-large that is responsible for Diversity Initiatives.
Fun fact: I am an avid traveler and a foodie. I have perfected my ramen, sushi, fufu and stew, and my fried chicken wing recipes.
Member-at-Large – Andrés Gvirtz, University of Cambridge
Hi everyone, I’m a Ph.D. student in the Personality and Social Dynamics Research Group at the University of Cambridge and a Visiting Fellow within the Organizational Behavior Program at Harvard University. I am interested in understanding behavior through an interactionalist lens, combining personality and environmental information. One of my latest projects used, e.g. Yelp data in combination with a large scale personality survey to link neighbourhood personalities and local amenities. In the past, I worked on advanced analytics- and organizational behavior projects for a range of management consulting firms, including McKinsey & Company and the Boston Consulting Group. I really love the SPSP spirit and family and am happy to contribute to the Student Committee’s professional development effort.
Fun fact: When I was younger, I had an Axolotl as a pet, it’s a salamander with gills and lungs!
Member-at-Large – Zaviera Panlilio, University at Buffalo, SUNY
I am a fourth year Ph.D. student interested in goal-motivated behavior. More specifically examining construal level and progress effects on persistence in a variety of domains from health to social justice-related behaviors.
Fun fact: I love to give talks and have presented on everything from Japanese kawaii culture to emotion regulation strategies.