Want to know more about Dr. Stevenson? Here’s your chance!

Ravin Davis, a Neuroscience major here at UNE (class of ’21), recently wrote a fun piece for the Nor’Easter online student newspaper. The piece is our own Dr. Glenn Stevenson’s previous “lives” as a professional musician and hotel bartender. Dr. Stevenson is a Professor of Psychology and teaches courses for Neuroscience, Animal Behavior, and Psychology majors.

Ravin has been working with Dr. Stevenson in his research lab and will be promoted to lab manager next year.

Check out her amazing story here:


To learn more about the Neuroscience major, Dr. Stevenson’s work, and research opportunities available to students in the department, visit our website at: https://www.une.edu/cas/psych

Vienna Canright (ANB ‘ 22) receives Goldwater Scholarship

The Psychology Department faculty and staff are proud to announce that Vienna Canright, Animal Behavior major (class of ’22), has been selected to receive a 2020 Barry Goldwater Scholarship.

Vienna is interested in wildlife conservation and consistent with this, has been conducting research with Dr. Zach Olson, Associate Professor of Psychology and core faculty member in the Animal Behavior program. In one of her projects Vienna and Dr. Olson developed an experiment to test if a novel method of detecting bats using environmental DNA (eDNA) would work. In another project, Vienna and Dr. Olson explored eDNA detection of Northern bog lemmings. These collaborative projects has already been presented at a professional meeting and publications are in progress. Vienna has also previously conducted field work on seabirds on the west coast.

For those of you unfamiliar with the Goldwater Scholarship, here’s a brief description from their website:

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation was established by Congress in 1986 to serve as a living memorial to honor the lifetime work of Senator Barry Goldwater, who served his country for 56 years as a soldier and statesman, including 30 years in the U.S. Senate.

By providing scholarships to college sophomores and juniors who intend to pursue research careers in the natural sciences, mathematics and engineering, the Goldwater Foundation is helping ensure that the U.S. is producing the number of highly-qualified professionals the Nation needs in these critical fields. Over its 30-year history, Goldwater Scholarships have been awarded to thousands of undergraduates, many of whom have gone on to win other prestigious awards like the National Science Foundation’s Graduate Fellowship, Rhodes Scholarship, Churchill Scholarship and the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship that support our Scholars’ graduate school work. Today, Goldwater alumni can be found conducting research that is helping defend the Nation, finding cures for catastrophic diseases and teaching future generations of scientists, mathematicians and engineers.


Only 396 college students from the United States were selected for Goldwater Scholarships this year, putting Vienna in very good company.

Dr. Olson nominated Vienna for the award and shared the following thoughts about her and her work:

Vienna came to the [research] work with ideas, a fantastic ability to organize and trouble shoot, and most importantly had the drive to see the work through. … I have been impressed by her poise, focus, and clear professionalism when it comes to both her classes and certainly her research. …. Vienna has an inquisitive nature, and my conversations with her have revealed a deep passion for wildlife conservation.

personal communication from Z. Olson

We congratulate Vienna for this amazing accomplishment and look forward to her work over the next two years here at UNE!

For more information about the Animal Behavior major and the research projects that faculty and students within our department are conducting, please visit https://www.une.edu/cas/psych

Congrats to Mackenzie Deveau (PSY, ’19) and Dr. Peterson

Be sure to check out the amazing work that Mackenzie Deveau and Dr. Julie Peterson, Associate Professor of Psychology and Director of the Women and Gender Studies Program, have been conducting!


To learn more about the research experiences in which students in the Psychology, Animal Behavior, and Neuroscience program can get involved, check out our faculty descriptions: https://www.une.edu/cas/psych/people

The Importance of Self Care in College Students

A guest post by Ashley Moore, Visiting Assistant Lecturer, Department of Psychology, UNE

Professor Ashley Moore is a full-time, visiting lecturer here at UNE as well as a mental health clinician.  Prof.  Moore’s clinical specialization is in Behavioral Medicine by training, but by practice she has carved out a niche working with emerging adults and college students.  College students are a joy to work with, as they are often filled with hope, motivation, and incredible insight.  However, they also face some unique challenges.

Survey data from universities and colleges across the United States suggest that mental health issues in college students appear to be on the rise, and have been for the past ten years (Oswalt et al., 2018).  Why, you ask?  Well it isn’t hard to guess.  Ask any college student you know what their schedule is like, and they will likely present you with a mini-monologue that includes classes, work schedules (for sometimes more than one job), internships, research labs, and club/organization meetings. Not to mention they’re also trying to maintain some sort of a social life!  When it comes down to it, college students have some pretty packed schedules, and they are experiencing burn out because of it.

“Burn out” is a very real phenomenon that occurs when someone’s job or lifestyle leaves them feeling physically and/or emotionally exhausted.  Someone experiencing burn out likely will not have the sort of reserves that others will have for coping with stressors, and this leads to increased risk for many different mental health concerns.  How do we cope with burn out and exhaustion due to busy schedules? Professor Moore believes that self- care is one of the most important strategies we have.  Self-care does not need to look like bubble baths, Netflix binging, and pints of ice cream (although appropriate portions of ice cream are never a bad thing…) Self-care can be split into two major categories; the first containing actions such as going to the gym, eating healthy foods, and seeing a therapist, and the second containing actions that are meant to sooth, nurture, and “fill one’s cup.” 

Try this exercise to create your own self-care plan, and remember the most important part:  self-care is most effective when it is practiced BEFORE we feel exhausted, burnt out, and as though we are struggling. Self-care is prevention, and it is absolutely necessary.

Self-Care Exercise:

  1. Take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle. 
  2. On one side of the line, list all the strategies you know that are important for your physical and mental well-being.
    1. EG: going to the gym, going for an annual physical, eating healthy foods, etc.
  3. One the other side of the line, list (healthy) things that you like to do that bring you joy.
    1. EG: going out to dinner with friends, coloring or painting, watching a favorite show on Netflix.
  4. Now make your personal self-care plan! Choose 2-4 things from each side that feel manageable and most important to you, and list them on a new piece of paper.  Remember, you don’t want to list so many things that self-care feels like a chore! 
  5. Commit to practicing one self-care strategy from your list each day for one week. When your practice your self-care strategy, try to really focus on the fact that you are doing something just for YOU.  Because you deserve care and nurturing too!
  6. Post your self-care plan somewhere you can see it, and pay attention to how you feel over the next week.  Remember, you can always change or adjust your self-care plan.  This is all about taking care of yourself, in whatever way works best for you.


Oswalt, S. B., Lederer, A. M., Chestnut-Steich, K., Day, C., Halbriter, A., & Ortiz, D. (2018). Trends in college students’ mental health diagnoses and utilization of services, 2009-2015.      Journal of American College Health.

Prof Perazio spends time with humpback whales in the Gulf of Tribugá

A guest post by Professor Christina Perazio, Assistant Lecturer

When I’m not teaching students about killer whale ecotypes, tool use in animals, or how to design a valid research study, you can find me recording and analyzing the acoustic behavior of humpback whales. This past 2019 summer field season marked the 7th and final year of data collection towards my dissertation investigating long-term and global changes in humpback whale song.

Through collaborations with Macuáticos Colombia and the PHySIC Project (Ports, Humpbacks, y Sound in Colombia), I have been recording humpback whales since 2013 in their breeding grounds along the Pacific coast of Colombia. This distinct population segment (DPS) of humpback wales migrates north from Antarctica and southern Chile to breed in waters off the coast of Colombia and Panama. Song has long been suggested to be a complex vocal display used by males to increase mating success, although many specific hypotheses have been proposed and debated in the literature. Along with my colleagues, our team has been the first to publish on the song of stock G in the Colombian Pacific using over-the-side and bottom-mounted hydrophones (underwater microphones used to record vocalizations of both whales and dolphins).

The Gulf of Tribugá is one of the remaining pristine marine habitats for humpback whales and has recently been listed as a Hope Spot by Mission Blue due to its biodiversity. With the proposed construction of a marine port in the locality of Tribugá by the Colombian government, this habitat is being threatened. Along with my colleagues I am trying to better understand how humpback whales might be able to flexibly change their acoustic behavior in response to inevitable changes in their environment by understanding the role that song plays in their lives.

Check out @physicolombia or @macuaticos for more information!

You can learn more about whales, other marine mammals, and other animals in general as part of the Animal Behavior major and minor. Check out our webpages at https://www.une.edu/cas/psych/animalbehavior/program

Psychology Faculty and Students Present (at NEPA)

This month (November 2019) faculty and students from across New England gathered to share their work and learn about psychology. Ten current UNE students, two alumni, and two faculty members from the Psychology Department attended the New England Psychological Association to present the work they have been conducting at UNE.

Olivia Kudas, Julia Beebe, Kristin Macek, Alexus Campobasso, Katelynn Paul, Benjamin Katz, and Dr. Trish Long (Clinical Professor & Chair, Department of PSY) presented their project from the Life Experiences lab entitled Sexual Assault and Bystander Behavior: The Role of Feminine Ideology, Rape Myth Acceptance, Exposure to Sexism, and Modeling of Appropriate Responses.

Dr. Long and alumni Benjamin Katz also presented a poster on Childhood Maltreatment and Parental and Friend Emotional Socialization.

Students from the Self and Close Others Relationship lab spoke with attendees about work entitled Women Decrease Mental Overlap with Same-Sex Friends and Family Members after Recalling Gender-Based Mistreatment, authored by Kana Colarossi, Ashley Karpowicz, Mackenzie Deveau, and Dr. Julie Peterson, Associate Professor of Psychology.

Work entitled Experimental Incorporation of Others into the Self-Concept: Does It Hurt More than It Helps? was presented by Hannah Christian, Sara Authier, Eric Lederman, and Dr. Peterson.

Students from the Reading Comprehension and Cognition lab were also well represented at NEPA. Work authored by Aubrey Sahouria, Nicole Martin, Ellie Leighton, and Dr. Jennifer Stiegler-Balfour, Associate Professor of Psychology, entitled Can Font Change How You Read? Exploring Font Type’s Effect on Recall and Reading Speed on E-Readers was presented as was a project entitled An Investigation of Reading Comprehension Ability Measures and Text Type, by Genna Companatico, Courtney Parent, and Dr. Stiegler-Balfour.

Dr. Stiegler-Balfour also presented a paper co-authored with aluma Ellie Leighton entitled An Investigation into the Effects of Structure Building Ability on Comprehension on E-readers for Expository and Narrative Text.

UNE undergraduates who are interested in exploring research opportunities in these three labs can contact the faculty supervisors. A list of all faculty in the department and their research programs can be found here: https://www.une.edu/cas/psych/contact. Click on faculty member’s names to learn more about their interests and work.

What is the best way to study?

Dr. Mike Burman answered this question for the Bangor Daily News. Take a look at the article here: https://bangordailynews.com/2019/09/22/bangor-metro/6-scientifically-proven-ways-to-improve-your-study-habits/

Be sure to also check out UNE’s coverage of the publication of this article here: https://www.une.edu/news/2019/psychology-professor-offers-science-based-study-tips

Dr. Zach Olson publishes on free-roaming cats in the journal Wildlife Research

Congratulations to Dr. Zach Olson who recently published a journal article in the journal Wildlife Research (http://www.publish.csiro.au/wr/WR18029). Dr. Olson and his collaborators studied free-roaming house cats – both where they occur on the landscape and how numerous they were. Free-roaming cats are important to study because they are one of the leading killers of birds and small mammals where they exist (here’s a popular press article describing ‘outdoor’ cat impacts: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/outdoor-cats-kill-between-14-billion-and-37-billion-birds-a-year-study-says/2013/01/31/2504f744-6bbe-11e2-ada0-5ca5fa7ebe79_story.html).

The study found that the most important predictor of free-roaming cat presence in a given natural study site was that site’s proximity to human housing and not more natural measures of habitat quality. We can draw two conclusions from that information: 1) free-roaming cats aren’t existing on the landscape like a wild population or a wild species. Rather, they are likely being subsidized (either fed or housed) by people, and 2) the problem that outdoor cats cause in the ecosystem is not likely to be solved using traditional tools of wildlife conservation. Instead, if we want to solve the feral cat problem, we need to convince people to change their behavior and keep their house cats inside.

Be sure to check out the article at the link provided above for more information. If you are interested in learning more about Dr. Olson’s work, check out his bio at: https://www.une.edu/people/zachary-h-olson

UNE undergraduates who have interested in engaging in research with Dr. Olson can contact him at zolson@une.edu. Learn more about the Animal Behavior major and minor (Dr. Olson is the program coordinator for these programs at https://www.une.edu/cas/psych/animalbehavior/program

You can also read the university’s press release about this at https://www.une.edu/news/2019/zach-olson-co-authors-article-wildlife-publication-free-roaming-cats

Students present at SURE symposium

Mariah Berchulski talks to Samia Pratt about her SURE project

On September 28th, 2019, the College of Arts and Sciences hosted the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) Symposium. Three neuroscience majors and two psychology majors presented work that they completed over the summer, with supervision from UNE faculty, in their areas of research.

Nicole Martin discusses her summer research with an audience member

Nicole Martin (PSY, ’21), working with Dr. Jennifer Stiegler-Balfour, presented on Investigating reading comprehension on digital devices in younger and older adults.

Kayla Looper presents about her experiences during SURE

Kayla Looper (NEU, ’21), working with Dr. Mike Burman, presented on Behavioral testing in transgenic rats: An investigation on the effects of inhibited CRF expression.

Mariah Berchulski (NEU, ’21), working with Dr. Mike Burman and Dr. Seth Davis, presented on Modulating anxiety and fear response in neonatal pain treated rats via CRF receptor 2.

Samia Pratt (NEU, ’20), working with Dr. Clotilde Lagier-Tourenne, presented on Detection of abnormal stathmin-2 mRNA processing in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) patient samples in cells with TDP43 depletion.

Hannah Christian stands at her poster presentation at the symposium

Hannah Christian (PSY, ’20), working with Dr. Julie Peterson, presented on the self and daily life in older adults.

You can learn more about the opportunities for undergraduate research in the college at: https://www.une.edu/cas/undergraduate-research

Descriptions of faculty research programs which students in ANB, NEU, and PSY can join can be found at: https://www.une.edu/cas/psych/psychology/people

Nicole Martin has also written about her own experience with the SURE program. Check out her post on Dr. S-B’s lab web pages: https://sites.une.edu/rcclab/2019/09/30/rcc-lab-member-presents-at-the-unes-2019-sure-symposium/

Congratulations to all of our students for their great work this summer!

Ice Cream Social a hit!

Wednesday, September 25th, the department welcomed back our Neuroscience, Animal Behavior, and Psychology majors and welcomed all our new first year students. The event, co-sponsored by our student groups, was held outside (in beautiful weather!) and fun was had by all.

If you weren’t able to attend, be sure to connect with our four departmentally affiliated clubs/organizations:

Animal Behavior Club: Meagan Thompson, mthompson12@une.edu

Psychology Club: Emily Mott, emott@une.edu, or Kana Colarossi, kcolarossi@une.edu

Neuroscience Club: Taylor Paquin tpaquin@une.edu

PSI CHI: Nicole Martin nmartin5@une.edu