College of Natural Sciences Colorado State University Department of Psychology

Department Newsletters

Fall 2016

Message from the Chair

Welcome to the Colorado State University Department of Psychology newsletter. It was my distinct honor to be chosen in January 2016 to lead this department. One of the most important agenda items I had was to re- establish communication with our alumni and friends, and this newsletter is the first to fill the gap that has existed for several years. In order to make a successful two-way communication, we invite you to share your news with us.

With approximately 1,000 undergraduate majors, the Department of Psychology is currently the second-largest major in the College of Natural Sciences and third-largest department at CSU overall. The department currently offers undergraduate concentrations in Counseling/Clinical Psychology, I/O Psychology, and Mind, Brain and Behavior. In addition, we also offer an undergraduate curriculum concentration that can lead to a Certified Addiction Counselor (CAC I) certificate with the State of Colorado.

The department also has approximately 100 graduate students, who train with faculty mentors for careers in college teaching, research, consulting, and as mental health providers. We have residential instruction programs leading to an M.S. and Ph.D. in Applied Social, Cognitive, Counseling, Cognitive Neuroscience, and I/O Psychology. Our Counseling Psychology program is APA accredited. In the past five years, we have produced nearly 100 Psychology Ph.D. degrees across our five doctoral training programs.

The department is also one of the leading campus innovators in online education. We offer one of the few online undergraduate degrees from CSU in our Bachelor of Science in Psychology program. We also offer an online Masters in Applied Industrial /Organizational Psychology (MAIOP).

Department faculty are engaged in cutting edge psychological science. Since 2010, researchers in the department have been awarded grants totaling more than $18 million dollars in funding from agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, and U.S. Department of Education (see new grant highlights, page 2). Our faculty have research interests aligned closely with our teaching mission, and we offer significant expertise in mental health disorders, relationships, meaning and purpose in life and work, behavior in the workplace, health psychology, occupational health, the neurosciences, human factors, and the science of learning.

The current year has already seen many new exciting developments for the department, much of which is highlighted in this brief newsletter. We welcome a new faculty member, Mark Prince, who brings his addictions research and teaching expertise to our department starting this fall (see profile page 3). We recently had a large presence at the annual American Psychological Association convention in Denver (page 2). This year, we continued to develop our international collaborations, particularly with South China Normal University in Guangzhou, China (page 2 story) and University of Limerick in Ireland. We are also excited to inaugurate our new Department of Psychology Speaker series with a visit from renowned memory researcher Elizabeth Loftus (see highlight this page). Please let us know if you have news you’d like to share with us and your fellow alumni and friends.

Don Rojas
Professor and Chair

Elizabeth Loftus visits CSU – Kicking off New Department Speaker Series

Speaking event Loftus

Renowned psychologist Elizabeth Loftus visited the psychology department September 8, 2016, and met with department faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students. Loftus is a Distinguished Professor at the University of California, Irvine. Her research specializations are cognitive psychology, human memory, and psychology and law. She may be best known for her work on false memories of expert witnesses. Undergraduate students in the national honors society in psychology, Psi Chi, enjoyed the rare opportunity of having lunch with her that day. In the evening, Loftus spoke to a packed audience of more than 600 attendees at the Lory Student Center Theater (pictured above). In addition to the many CSU students and faculty in attendance, there were professionals and students who drove great distances from around Colorado and Wyoming to attend the event. Loftus left the stage to a standing ovation by the enormous crowd.

The event was sponsored by Psi Chi and the Psychology Student Alliance (PSA), the Associated Students of Colorado State University (ASCU), Women in Natural Sciences (WINS), the Department of Psychology, and the College of Natural Sciences.

Story and photos contributed by Anne Cleary


Emeritus Highlight: Jerry Deffenbacher

Jerry Deffenbacher was hired at Colorado State University in August 1976 and retired December 2011. During his time on campus, he received numerous awards and recognitions including the College of Natural Sciences Professor Laureate. He has been the adviser for more than 30 Ph.D. students and has been the advisor for an equal number of undergraduate theses. He has remained committed to helping students, and this is clear in his many publications with students as co-authors. More evidence of his commitment to students and CSU was the creation of the Jerry L. Deffenbacher Scholarship for undergraduate psychology students, made possible by his generous contributions to the department. He has recently committed to further endow the scholarship, which will lead to more scholarship opportunities for undergraduates.

Recently, some of Deffenbacher’s work on road rage has been highlighted in Scientific American, specifically his research on situational anger while driving. Click here to read the article.

Psychology Faculty Visit to South China Normal University

This past June, six psychology department faculty members (Don Rojas, Anne Cleary, Carol Seger, Mike Steger, Brad Connor, and Silvia Canetto) traveled to Guangzhou, China, to meet with potential collaborators at South China Normal University and to attend and present at the International Conference on Advanced Learning Sciences being held there. Spearheaded by Carol Seger, CSU and SCNU now have a Joint International Laboratory for the Study of Mind and Brain, and this trip was part of that effort. Following the conference, faculty traveled by bus to Yangshuo, where they sampled local foods, visited the famous Silver Cave, and experienced bamboo rafting on the Yulong River.

Story and photos contributed by Anne Cleary

 SCNU’s Aitao Lu with CSU’s Silvia Canetto and Anne Cleary at the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall pictured left. Group photo of CSU faculty delegates and SCNU pictured in front of the School of Psychology building in Guangzhou below

China Normal VisitChina Normal Visit image

APA Annual Convention 2016

APA imageWith the APA Convention conveniently located in Denver, CO, this year, many CSU psychology department faculty and students were able to attend.

Several faculty members were involved in the convention including Jessi Witt who chaired a session and Matt Rhodes and Anne Cleary who co-chaired sessions. Faculty and students alike presented posters including graduate student Julie Prosser, and faculty members Jennifer Harman, and Ed DeLosh.

Richard Suinn, past APA president, former Chair and Professor Emeritus of the CSU psychology department, received the 2016 APA Austria-Robinson Distinguished Award for Mentoring based upon his exceptional mentoring contributions.

Matt Rhodes views a poster. In the background, Ed DeLosh can be seen presenting his poster to Bob Bjork. Photo contributed by Anne Cleary.

Recent Grants

The National Science Foundation-funded Colorado Wyoming Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation in STEM has been recommended for support for five years at $4.6 million. Ernest Chavez, Kim Henry, and Matt Rhodes from the department have funding on this grant with Chavez overseeing the project. Additionally, the National Institutes of Health-funded Bridges to the Baccalaureate grant is in the second of five years of funding, focusing on increasing the number of underrepresented students in STEM disciplines.

“Promoting resilience through trauma-informed assessments for system-involved youth” Pharos Fund: One year, $15,000; P.I. Bradley T. Conner, Ph.D., Co-P.I. Deborah Pratt, M.S.

“Adapting a social norms approach to the prevention of cannabis misuse among college students” Colorado State University Prevention Research Pilot: one year, $15,000; P.I. Nathanial Riggs, Ph.D. Co-Investigators: Audrey Shillington, Ph.D., Bradley T. Conner, Ph.D., Melissa George, Ph.D., Lucy Troup, Ph.D., and Mark Prince, Ph.D.

“Promoting one health and conservation through student internships” National Parks Service; Dates: May 2016-December 2019; $181,261; PI Lorann Stallones, Ph.D.

“The effect of action on perception and action” The National Science Foundation; September 2016 - August 2019; $354,603; P.I. Jessica Witt, Ph.D.

Faculty in the News

Jessi Witt garnered international media coverage with her “study that suggests overweight people suffer a ‘vicious circle’ of perception and behavior.” For more information, check out the articles from The Guardian (quoted) and New York Magazine. This study was touched on by a joke performed by Stephen Colbert on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.

Source covered Lucy Troup’s research on how cannabis use affects one’s ability to process emotions. The article can be found here. You can find the study that the Source sites published in the journal PLOS ONE.

New Faculty Member: Mark Prince

The department is very pleased to welcome Mark Prince, who joined our faculty in August 2016. Prince obtained his clinical psychology Ph.D. at Syracuse University and just finished a postdoctoral fellowship at University of Buffalo. His overlapping clinical and research interest is in substance use disorders, particularly alcohol and marijuana. His treatment research involves application of motivational interviewing to college age drinkers as well as a more recent interest in mobile health technology for experience sampling methods related to substance use and abuse. In addition to his doctoral degree in psychology, he also obtained an M.S. in applied statistics and brings new expertise in multivariate methods, path analysis and structural equation modeling to the Department. We look forward to working with our newest faculty colleague in the coming years.

Recent Publications

Harman, J. J., & Biringen, Z. (2016). Parents acting badly: How institutions and societies promote the alienation of children from their loving families. Fort Collins, CO: Colorado Parental Alienation Project, LLC.

Graham, D.J., & Roberto, C.A. (2016). Evaluating the impact of U.S. Food and Drug Administration-proposed Nutrition Facts Label changes on young adults’ visual attention and purchase intentions. Health Education and Behavior, 1-10.

Fisher, G. G., Matthews, R. A., & Gibbons, A. M. (2016). Developing and investigating the use of single-item measures in organizational research. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 21(1), 3-23.

Editorial and Journal Service

• Silvia Sara Canetto was appointed to the Editorial Board of Psychology of Women Quarterly, where she now serves as consulting editor. Psychology of Women Quarterly is the journal of the Society for the Psychology of Women. It is among the top five journals in women's studies.
• Dan Graham was recently named to the editorial board for the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
• Lorann Stallones was awarded Reviewer of the Year 2016 Journal of Agromedicine for excellence in assuring high scholarly quality of the journal’s publications and mentoring authors toward effective scientific communication.

Calling all Alumni & Friends:

Share news about yourself, fellow alumni, and friends of the department. Please submit the following information to the email address below:
Your name
Your degree
The year you graduated from CSU
Personal or professional activity that you would like to share!

Please send questions and submissions to:


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If you would like to donate, please visit: Or contact Simone Clasen for additional information on giving: or 970-491-0997


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