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Events & News

CSM Faculty Host Neuroscience, Psychology Camps on Campus

Neuroscience department is running a summer camp for students dissecting eyes and brains at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, June 19, 2018.

Science at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, July 5, 2018.Associate Professor of Psychological Science Dr. Linda Jones and Assistant Professor of Neuroscience Dr. Carole Scherling organized two high school summer camps on campus during the weeks of June 18 and July 2. Students who attended were part of the National Student Leadership Conference (NSLC). While on campus for four days, the students learned about the basic building blocks of the brain, conducted their own dissections (brain and eye), toured laboratory facilities and  completed a series of activities geared to engage them and to give them a sweeping view of neuroscience and psychology.

Giordano Publishes Book Chapter

Dr. Pete Giordano Headshot

Dr. Pete Giordano, psychological science, has published a book chapter titled “Personality is Culturally Constructed and Maintained: Helping Students Think Globally about Themselves and Others” in the book Culture Across the Curriculum: A Psychology Teacher’s Handbook (Cambridge University Press, 2018), edited by Kenneth Keith.  You can learn more about the book here.

Students Present Research at Eastern Psychological Association National Conference

Twenty-five Belmont students recently presented their psychological research at the Eastern Psychological Association’s National Conference held in in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Drs. Jones, Yandell and Schoenfeld from the Psychological Science department also attended the conference. In addition to attending the conference activities, several students journeyed to the Mütter Museum to see slices of Albert Einstein’s brain and with a short walk past China Town, students toured both the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. There were plenty of cheesesteak adventures to the famous Jim’s. The conference was directly across the street from the historic Reading Terminal Market, boasting a large assortment of foods ranging from Amish danishes to German chocolate.

Dr. Jones with three students presenting their research poster two students presenting their research poster at the EPA conference
Group photo of students at the EPA conference Dr. Jones and a student presenting her research poster

The student poster presentations covered many disciplines within psychology and was the culmination of these students’ researcy. The students who attended this conference and presented their research posters were Anna Wingo, Aubry Lovell, Bailee Ficzere, Benya Paueksakon, Callie Burns, Daisha Cane, Dallas Mattern, Deja Shaikhutdinov, Eason Taylor, Hannah Johnson, Hope Fenton, John Longnecker, Jordan Hoffman, Kara Garrett, Keli Alden, Libby Day, Lily Tashie, Maddy Clarke Williams, Puti Wen, Rachel Holloway, Ragan Wilson, Reed Priest, Ryan Jensen, Seema Patel and Sielo Coleman.  Presented posters included:

“A validation study of the Belmont altruism measure,” Ryan Jensen, Daisha Cane & John Longnecker

“Dyadic meta-accuracy and perceived motivational accuracy in academic work groups,” Reed Priest

“The impact of trait and state anxiety on emotional interpretation,” Ragan Wilson

“Olfactory cues and spatial navigation in rats,” Aubry Lovell, Kelli Alden & Krista Tice

“Stress response in rats when presented with conflicting versus novel sensory stimuli,” Kara Garrett, Sielo Coleman, Scott Dietz, Benya Paueksakon & Lily Tashie

“Effects of social isolation on behavioral confidence in rats,” Savannah Meech, Hope Fenton, Kaitlin Bayus, Gabby Gonzalez, Marilyn Lauterbach & Cille Taylor

“Effects of environmental enrichment on frustrative-nonreward and subsequent anxiety-like behavior,” Eason Taylor, Bailee Ficzere, Puti Wen, Alejandra Coto, Seema Patel & Jasmine Niazi

“Validation of a new measure of social media fear of missing out,” Madison Williams, Kelli Alden, Libby Day & Callie Burns

“Effect of relaxation techniques on public speaking anxiety,” Jordan Hoffman

“Measuring college student stress response in relation to group dynamics and personality,” Kelli Alden & Madison Williams

“Assessment of physical fitness and physical self-esteem,” Seema Patel, Jasmine Niazi, Hunter Foltz & Austin Townsend

“Walking with tunes: Synchronization of pace to music tempo,” Deja Shaikhutdinov, Cassandra Canaday, Denisha Morris & Janai Todd

“Impression management in assortative mating,” Ryan Jensen

“Personality judgement accuracy on Instagram and Twitter,” Rachel Holloway, Daisha Cane, Ragan Wilson, & Rose Prophete

“Obedience to authority scale: A new self-report measure of obedience,” Hannah Johnson, Daniel Mata, Puti Wen, Dallas Mattern & David Tronsrue

“Criticism instructions and social desirability on grammatical edits,” Anna Wingo, Reed Priest, & Aubry Lovell

Brain Awareness Week
Brain Awareness Week logoBrain Awareness Week is the global campaign to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research. 

"Brain Awareness Week is a great opportunity to showcase the talented neuroscientists we have at Belmont along with fascinating speakers from our community"  said Dr. Lori McGrew, professor of biology.

Neuroscience is a growing field, including a wide range of subdisciplines such as cognition, behavior, cellular neuroscience and computational neuroscience. Belmont's neuroscience major combines foundational courses in biology, chemistry, psychology and physics with upper level coursework in biology and psychology and culminates in a student-driven research project in neuroscience. The program prepares students for careers as research assistants and animal behavioralists among others or for entry into medical school or graduate school.

The Psychological Science and Neuroscience programs at Belmont will be hosting numerous events to celebrate Brain Awareness Week.  A listing of all of the events that are being held is shown below:

Flyer for Brain Awareness Week events

Students Inducted into Psi Chi, Psychology Honors Society
photo of new psi chi inductees

A number of dedicated students with exemplary academic records were recently inducted into Psi Chi, the International Honor Society for psychology. The keynote speaker for the event was Dr. Timothy Schoenfeld, a new faculty member in the psychology department with a specialization in neuroscience. He gave an inspiring talk to the students, encouraging them to learn from failure, persevere, continue to be involved in research and take advantage of opportunities provided by the psychology department and psychology faculty.

The list of inducted students includes Shaylynn Bradbury, Elise Cloffelter, Rachelle Clousing, Christiana Duerksen, Bailee Ficzere, Dorothy Hicks, Jordan Hoffman, Dani Jackson, Hannah Johnson, Gracie Kelly, Daniel Mata, Mariah Meads, Alyssa Peacock, Heather Ribolla, David Sturges, Lillian Tashie, Molly Tatum, Eason Taylor, Alysson Webb, and Anna Wingo.

Schoenfeld Published in Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology

Dr. Timothy Schoenfeld at BelmontDr. Tim Schoenfeld, assistant professor of psychology, recently had an article published in Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology, the official journal of the International Neuroendocrine Federation. The article, titled “Behavioral and structural adaptations to stress,” can be found here.

Schoenfeld said, “In the review, we talk about how stressful experiences affect both behavior and the structure and plasticity of the brain. Although we normally consider the effects of stress to be ‘negative,’ these changes in behavior and brain are adaptive for the organism. What we talk about then is how adult-born neurons in the hippocampus might mediate these adaptive changes, and without them both, behavior and the brain might be less adaptable to the environment.”


Gilbert Published in Psychology in the Schools Journal

Headshot of Lauren Gilbert

Dr. Lauren Gilbert, assistant professor of psychology, recently had an article accepted for publication in the Psychology in the Schools Journal. The article is entitled, “Latino immigrant parents’ financial stress, depression, and academic involvement predicting child academic success.” The current study examines Mexican-heritage immigrant parents’ financial stress, English language fluency, and depressive symptoms as risk factors for parental academic involvement and child academic outcomes. Participants were 68 Latino immigrant (from Mexico) third and fourth graders and their parents.

The second author on the article, Christia Spears Brown, a psychology faculty member at the University of Kentucky, received her undergraduate degree in psychology at Belmont.

Here is a link to the full publication:

The Psychology in the Schools journal, which is published ten times per year, welcomes theoretical and applied manuscripts, focusing on the issues confronting school psychologists, teachers, counselors, administrators, and other personnel workers in schools and colleges, public and private organizations.

Gilbert Published in the Sleep Health Journal

Dr. Lauren Gilbert, Assistant Professor of Psychology, recently had an article accepted for publication in the Sleep Health Journal.  The article is entitled “Earlier school start times are associated with higher rates of behavioral problems in elementary schools.” Keller, P.S., Gilbert, L.R., Haak, E.A., Bi, S., & Smith, O.A. (2017). Sleep Health, 3(2), 113-118. Here is a link to the article:

Sleep Health Journal of the National Sleep Foundation is a multidisciplinary journal that explores sleep's role in population health and elucidates the social science perspective on sleep and health.



High Schoolers Experience Eclipse on Belmont’s Campus

Photo of Dr. Patrick Morse presenting a talk about the Solar Eclipse

A number of high school students from the region also came to Belmont’s campus this morning to hear lectures from College of Science and Mathematics faculty and to experience the totality event.

~~Dr. Patrick Morse, Psychology, presented "Does the Full Moon make us (werewolves) Weird?"
~~Dr. Scott Hawley, Physics, presented "Celestial Mechanics and Solar Physics" and even performed a song he wrote for the Eclipse!
~~Dr. Ryan Fox and Dr. Brad Schleben, Mathematics, presented “Well, isn't that special: The mathematics of measuring celestial objects”


PC2 Members Read to Children for 17th Annual Family Literacy Day

Photo of the Psychology club members at Rose Park getting ready for Literacy DayBelmont University’s 17th annual Family Literacy Day was held on Saturday, April 8th.  It brought 155 student volunteers to E.S. Rose Park to read with local children. Belmont students hosted reading circles, each with their own theme and book options. The purpose of Family Literacy Day is to foster and celebrate a love for reading in children ranging from pre-kindergarten through the 6th grade.

There were five members of Psi Chi and the Psychology Club (PC2) who participated in Family Literacy Day.

Dr. Morse Presents at the College of Sciences & Mathematics Research Seminar
Dr. Patrick Morse at the board discussing his research
The College of Sciences & Mathematics hosts several Research Seminars during the semester where speakers from different disciplines discuss their current research projects.  During the February 3rd seminar, Dr. Patrck Morse in Psychology discussed "Interactionism & Volitional Personality Change". 

Pete Giordano
Giordano Has Article Published in Culture & Psychology Journal
Dr. Pete Giordano (Psychological Science) has published an article titled "Individual Personality is Best Understood as Process, Not Structure:  A Confucian-Inspired Perspective" in the journal Culture & Psychology.  Culture & Psychology is a leading international peer reviewed journal of scholarly contributions, integrating various aspects of the general notion of culture with scientific psychology.  You can access an abstract of the article here:


Jones Has Article Published in Psychology Teaching Review Journal

Linda JonesDr. Linda Jones (chair of Psychological Science) recently had an article published in the journal Psychology Teaching Review.  The article is titled “Psychology Educators of Tennessee (PET):  A Regional Learning Community for Psychology Teachers”. For over five years, Dr. Jones has been one of the coordinators of the annual fall PET conference, working with psychology faculty from MTSU and TSU, as well as the AP Psychology teacher at Brentwood High School.  The conference is attended by college, community college, and high school psychology faculty from TN and surrounding states.

Morse gives Invited Talk at Psychologists meeting

Dr. Patrick MorseDr. Patrick Morse, Assistant Professor of Psychology, recently gave an invited talk at the Society for Southeastern Social Psychologists in Asheville, NC. This was an opportunity for new faculty in the region to provide an overview of their work in the interest of promoting research    collaboration.  The title of his talk was "Interactionism & Volitional Personality Change." The Society of Southeastern Social Psychologists (SSSP) boasts a membership of over 400 students, faculty, and professional psychologists throughout the United States. 

Dr. Pete GiordanoGiordano Appointed to Editorial Board of Cultural Psychology

Dr. Pete Giordano, Professor of Psychology, has been appointed to the Editorial Board of Cultural Psychology, a specialty of Frontiers in Psychology.  Founded by scientists in 2007, Frontiers is a community- rooted open-access publisher, driving innovations in peer review, article-level metrics and research networking. The "Frontiers in" journal series hosts 54 journals covering more than 350 academic specialties, with a network of over 200,000 leading researchers worldwide. Frontiers is a registered member of the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association ( and was recognized by the ALPSP Award for Innovation in Publishing in 2014. 


Vaughn Science Lecture
The annual Vaughn Science Lecture, in conjunction with the College of Sciences and Mathematics, was held on Thursday, September 29, 2016 in the Janet Ayers Conference Center.  Dr. Christa Spears Brown, a Professor in the Psychology department at the University of Kentucky, was the guest speaker.  Dr. Brown presented a talk on “The Wide Lens of Discrimination: How a range of negative interactions similarly shape developmental health.”  Her research, broadly speaking, examines the how children's and adolescents' academic, psychological, and social lives are shaped by the social groups they belong to.  More information on Dr. Brown’s research can be found on her website:

vaughn science lecture vaughn science lecture
Dr. Brown with the Belmont Psychology
Department faculty and Dr. Tony Vaughn

Psychology Club Participates in Out of the Darkness Suicide Prevention Walk

On Saturday, September 10th, a total of 18 walkers, both students and faculty, representing the Belmont University Psychology Club participated in the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention's Out of the Darkness Walk. The walk took place in the Music Row community, starting at Owen Bradley Park. The Psychology Club donated $250 dollars to the walk fundraising goal, and that amount allowed them to be a sponsor for the event. The walk had over 800 participants and raised over $73,000.
According to the AFSP website: The core of the Out of the Darkness Walks, the Community Walks, created a movement. Held in hundreds of cities across the country, they give people the courage to open up about their own struggle or loss, and the platform to change our culture’s approach to mental health. 

Giordano Presents Workshop in Denmark


Pete Giordano (Psychological Science) presented a workshop on June 1, 2016 at Aalborg University in Denmark.  The workshop was titled "Personality is a Process: Culturally Assembled and Maintained" and was held at the Centre for Cultural Psychology at Aalborg University.  

You can read more about the workshop at

Psychology Club/Psi Chi (PC2) Members Participate in Family Literacy Day


Belmont’s 16th annual Family Literacy Day, an event that invites families from the Nashville community to read with Belmont students and promotes literacy for the whole family, brought nearly 230 student volunteers together on Saturday, April 9. With more than 200 community members registered for the event, 2016 Literacy Day was the largest one to-date.

The theme for the PC2 group was animals and they gave various stuffed animals to the children (generously donated by Dr. Jones) and read books about animals to them.

The PC2 members that participated are: Jacob Huffman, Christina Sorentino, Kathryn Dickenson, Madi Lausten, Sielo M. Coleman, Krystal Smith, Austin Sellinger, Leah Rose, and Tony Owen.

Click here to read the full story.

Alumni Speaks About her Work as a Youth Therapist
psyAs a continuation of "Careers in Psychology" week, the Psychology Club had Youth Therapist, Anna Claire Lowder, Belmont 2010 graduate, come speak to the group about her work as a Youth Therapist.  Lowder works at the non profit organization TN Voices for Children and is the Youth MOVE Program Manager. 

McAnally Hired to Teach English at Zhengzhou University
(story published in Belmont University News & Media communication)

Belmont 2015 alumnus Eric McAnally recently moved to China to teach advanced writing, oral communication and movie appreciation to third-year English majors and postgraduate non-English majors at Zhengzhou University. McAnally earned his Bachelors in Psychology and Chinese, and Asian Studies professors Dr. Qingjun (Joan) Li and Dr. Ronnie Littlejohn helped him secure a one-year teaching contract at Belmont's host institution.

McAnally says teaching is a challenge he is aggressively tackling. "I had been planning on coming here to China for a while, but I wasn't sure how. Teaching English seemed to be the ideal choice to make that happen. It was a long shot, but it has happened", he said. "I encourage everybody to follow their dreams because they can definitely come true. It was a challenge transitioning from being a student for my entire life and then becoming a teacher (though, I am still a student and learner as I am teaching). It's a beautiful and mind-expanding phenomenon to be a part of. I'm fortunate to be able to engage with the various dynamics of learning and education."

While at Belmont, McAnally traveled to China with a study abroad program, visiting many places including Beijing, Xi'an, Zhengzhou and Dunhuang. Each place produced memories that McAnally says he will never forget and will forever appreciate. "These memories helped fuel the drive to come back", he said.

McAnally said his three years studying Chinese in America with professors like Littlejohn, Dr. Li and Dr. Pete Giordano (Psychology) prepared him well for his current position. He said the Zhengzhou faculty and students have shown him great kindness and are very helpful and well organized. The program began with introduction classes, so McAnally has spent time getting to know the students and observing their writing and communication skills. For some of them, it is their first time having a foreign teacher or even speaking to a foreigner, in general.

McAnally said he owes much of his success to the opportunities Belmont afforded him. "Belmont has given me many experiences and connections. I was able to leave the country and travel the world for the first time because of Belmont. I have found myself in part because of Belmont. Most importantly, I've been enabled to further my education because of Belmont", he said.

Once his teaching contract is over, McAnally hopes to advance his career in psychology,earning a PhD in industrial organizational psychology within the next five to 10 years. And because he has recently developed a passion for traveling, he hopes to work in the field on an international stage.

Moving to China to teach right after graduation has provided McAnally with a global perspective he would encourage all students to develop. "Do not fear the unknown. Embrace it. One will be able to understand the self and others in a far more metaphysical and humanitarian manner. We are not alone in this world. Take risks. Make mistakes. Learn from them", he said. "This is why I think my story should be told. I come from an impoverished and broken home. If I can follow my dreams and make rational decisions to get there, I know everybody else can, too. Find a way to be granted the opportunity. You are in control of your life."


Psychology Club/Psi Chi (PS2) Volunteers at Cottage Cove
 cottage coveThe Belmont Psychology Club and Psi Chi (PC2) members volunteered at Cottage Cove on October 23, 2015. The Belmont students that participated were Kathryn Graeff, Bianca Flury, Katy Coffer, Candace Hearn, Diana Neculcea, Krystal Smith, Kayla Evans, Emily Boyd, and Iris Chiang. Cottage Cove, located in Nashville, TN, provides an after-school program with an expanded program during the summer and many school breaks.  This program is offered free of charge, by full scholarship, to children living in “at-risk” neighborhoods of Nashville. Their goal is to see children learn rise above their circumstances and to thrive, to be become givers in society and not takers. Cottage Cove’s programs exist to provide children with the keys necessary to unlock their future.
Giordano Publishes Psychological Science Article

Dr. Pete Giordano (Psychological Science) has published an article in the journal Integrative Psychological and Behavioral Science.  The title of the article is "Being or Becoming: Toward an Open-System, Process-Centric Model of Personality" and you can read the abstract here.

This journal explores the cultural nature of human conduct and its evolutionary history, anthropology, ethology, communication processes between people and within -- as well as between -- societies. 


Belmont Psychology Students Complete Field Portion of Research in China

The photo is taken at the Imperial Academy in Beijing. Belmont Psychology majors, pictured L to R: Madi Lausten, Katy Coffer, Joseph Kenkel, Emily Boyd, Iris Chiang, Matthew Maloney, Scarlet Sanders, Seth Schrader, Heather Dudley, and Dr. Giordano.

Belmont’s China study abroad program has a record of innovating new components for short-term study abroad, and the summer 2015 trip was no exception.  A team a psychology majors, including Iris Chiang, Heather Dudley, Joseph Kenkel and Matthew Maloney, collected data for a psychology research project while at Zhengzhou University in Zhengzhou, China.

The research team has been working with Department of Psychological Science Professor Dr. Pete Giordano on developing and validating questionnaires to measure two constructs. The Global Dominance Inventory assesses social dominance orientation and domineeringness, while The Traditional Gender Roles Inventory measures beliefs about traditional masculine and feminine gender roles.

The team has worked together for a year and a half and has collected data for two semesters from Belmont study participants. The chance to cross-culturally validate the questionnaires with a sample of Chinese students at Zhengzhou University was a unique and challenging opportunity. Students worked with Dr. Giordano, as well as Assistant Professor of Chinese and Asian Language Dr. Joan Li to translate the questionnaires into Chinese.

Dr. Li coordinated with administrators in the School of Foreign Languages of Zhengzhou University to set up the research project on site. The students were able to collect data from 101 Zhengzhou University students, who completed eight questionnaires. The Belmont research team also gave a brief presentation to the students after they completed the questionnaires. The statistical analyses from this cross-cultural study thus far are very promising and provide further support for the validity and reliability of the questionnaires.  The research project was funded in part by a Bass Asian Studies Research Grant.

Psychology Faculty, Alumna Participate in Book Project


Dr. Peter Giordano, Psychology Professor, has published an edited book titled Your Career in Psychology: Putting Your Graduate Degree to Work. Edited with Stephen Davis and Carolyn Licht and published by Wiley- Blackwell, the book targets early career psychologists or those about to complete graduate training in psychology and are entering the job market.

One of the chapters in the book ("The Life of a College Professor: Teaching, Research, and Service") is authored by Dr. Lonnie Yandell, professor of Psychology at Belmont. Another chapter ("Negotiating the Application and Interview Process") is written by Dr. Christia Spears-Brown, an alumna of Belmont's Psychology Department who is now a faculty member at the University of Kentucky.


The Tennessean

Thursday, 11/15/07

Belmont's Giordano is chosen Tennessee's professor of the year

Staff Writer


Belmont University professor Pete Giordano could be described as unassuming. His demeanor is affable; his clothing, a vintage jacket and slacks, is simple and scholarly; his students call him "Dr. G." Giordano also could be described as the best professor in Tennessee, thanks to an award from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education recognizing its annual U.S. Professors of the Year. Today, Giordano, along with 40 other state and four national winners, will be recognized at a reception in Washington, D.C.

In typical fashion, he downplayed the honor's significance."It's something that might bring some positive attention to things I've done over time," Giordano said. "It's just nice to be validated, I guess." Giordano, 50, has served as the chairman of Belmont's psychology department for the last five of his 18 years at the school. He has also served as the director for the school's Teaching Center, which nominated Giordano for the award this year.

According to the Web site for the awards, CASE, a Washington-based international higher education organization, and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching select state and national winners. The criteria for professors: involvement with students, a scholarly approach to learning, contributions to the institution and support from colleagues and students.

In September, the two organizations notified Giordano he was the Tennessee Professor of the Year, after he had already given up hope of winning. "I thought it was water under the bridge and that it didn't happen, which was kind of what I expected," Giordano said. "I was totally surprised.

Letter helped him win

A student-turned-colleague directly helped Giordano win the award. Two years ago, Giordano's recommendation letter helped Radha Dunham gain admission to the University of Miami as a graduate student. She returned the favor to Giordano, writing a letter to CASE to support the Teaching Center's nomination. "He's really invested in the growth of his students," said Dunham, who's studying to become a clinical psychologist. "He's interested in not just being a good teacher, but a good mentor."

Giordano is one of six Belmont professors, all from different disciplines, who have met monthly for the last 18 years to talk about teaching. The conversations have spawned some interesting ideas, Giordano says, including when the professors enrolled in each other's classes "just to remember what it was like to be students again." "He's often the one with the comment that sparks everyone's discussion," said math and computer science professor Joyce Blair Crowell, a 20-year professor at Belmont and member of the group. "He's an excellent teacher, and he's also an excellent reflector about his own teaching."

Aside from his loves of writing, hiking and University of North Carolina basketball, it's obvious Giordano's passion lies in interacting with his students. "It's the students — that's what keeps me coming back," Giordano said. "As the department chair, there are administrative hassles you have to deal with, but I get to talk every day with college-aged kids."

Senior psychology major Shandus Valentine has been meeting with Giordano every week since her sophomore year. Through their conversations, Giordano helped Valentine earn an internship in Alberta, Canada, that aided her honors thesis on student affairs. "If he sees you in the hallway or on campus, he's asking students how they're doing, what's going on in their lives," said Valentine, a Paris, Tenn., native. "With me, I feel like he's a colleague just as much as he's a professor."