Mandy Larsen is currently working toward a master's degree in couple and family therapy
at the Adler School of Professional Psychology.
While pursuing her graduate degree, she completed a community service practicum at
the Humanitarian Service Project (HSP). Larsen interviewed the seniors served by the
Senior Citizen Project and wrote an official "Senior Update" to update HSP's understanding
of the needs of each senior, and to better learn how the services impacted their lives.
This fall, she will start her clinical practicum as a therapist intern for Salvation
Army's Family and Community Services.
During her time at IWU, Larsen completed her senior thesis and defended it with research honors. She was the Head Research Assistant and led a group of research assistants as they collected
EEG data for a study on the neuromechanisms of social exclusion. She worked as a teaching
assistant and worked with Dr. Linda Kunce on research with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
She also interned at Chestnut Health Systems and was later hired by Chestnut.
Erin is currently a fifth-year doctoral student in social psychology at the University
of Toledo in Toledo, Ohio and is expecting to graduate this spring. Her research focuses
on how people compare themselves to others, particularly in applied contexts such
as social media and health. In graduate school, she has published work in several
peer-reviewed journals, presented at conferences, and has won research awards.
Throughout graduate school, Erin has also done a lot of teaching and mentoring. She
has been a teaching assistant for several courses and taught a few of her own as well,
enjoying the opportunity to work with undergraduate research assistants and honor
students. She enjoys the opportunity to pay the guidance she was given at IWU forward
to her students. Erin has also served as a graduate student representative in her
department for two years, and has represented graduate students on several committees
(e.g., search committee, university-wide health insurance committee).
Erine first became interested in experimental psychology here at Illinois Wesleyan
University when she worked as a research assistant in Dr. Pretz's lab running participants
through computer-based tasks. She also worked as a research assistant in Dr. Themanson's
lab helping facilitate EEG sessions. Her senior year, she completed an honors thesis
in social psychology with Dr. Vicary as her advisor.
Erin is currently applying for assistant professor positions at universities around
the country for next fall.
Psychology major, Russian Literature and Language minor.
During my Junior year I got involved with research as a lab assistant in the Neuroscience
Lab for one of the seniors' research projects. Throughout my Senior year I worked
on my own honors research project with Dr. Mandy Vicary on the topics of Life History Theory and the Sexual Double Standard. I also worked on another project with Dr. Vicary to explore the CSI Effect. Additionally,
I was the vice president of Psi Chi for the 2011-2012 year.
Outside of the Psychology department, I worked as a lab TA for the Human Biology course
for two years and I also worked as an RA during my junior year and an RCA during my
I will be pursuing a PhD in Social Psychology at New Mexico State University.
[Yuliana won the Senior Award in 2012]
Claire Karlen, Class of 2011
(currently, Psychology PhD student at Illinois State University, specialization in
As a psychology major at Illinois Wesleyan, I defended my honors research thesis that I worked on under the advisement of Dr. Jennifer Daniels. My thesis explored
how being excluded online affects an individual's ability to socially monitor and
how social anxiety impacts that ability. I was also a teaching assistant for two psychology
classes: Social Psychology and Psychology of Gender. Additionally, I served as the
secretary of our chapter of Psi Chi. Outside of the psychology department, I was a
volunteer art teacher at a local elementary school and sang in the University Choir.
I spent the summer of my junior year working as an aide in a residential treatment
center for children with autism, which led me to my post-graduate plans.
[Claire won the Senior Award in 2011]
Anna Genchanok, Class of 2011
Psychology and English double major
I was involved in many activities as a psychology and English double major while studying
at Illinois Wesleyan University. I started off as a research assistant in neuroscience
before moving on to complete my honors research thesis with Dr. Linda Kunce, studying
autism in adults. I served as the service chair in Psi Chi and as a research methods
teaching assistant. The majority of my psychology based learning came from holding
internships and jobs in various organizations throughout the community. I was involved
in crisis work, suicide intervention, domestic violence, and homeless outreach. Outside
of psychology, I competed in and taught Taekwondo, and held training seminars on women's
After I completed my undergraduate degree, I took a year off to work at Hartgrove
Hospital, a psychiatric facility in Chicago. As a Mental Health Specialist on the
Pediatric Unit, I conducted group therapy and counseling sessions with kids ages 4-12,
and was in charge of monitoring behavioral changes as a result of various implemented
treatments. Working with a minority inner-city population has been an incredibly rewarding
experience and I would highly recommend it to any student wanting to study and understand
clinical and cultural issues in treatment of mental health. In the fall, I will be
attending school to earn my PhD in Child Clinical Psychology, studying the impact
of parenting on a child's development of risk and resilience to behavioral conduct
[Anna won the Psi Chi Award in 2011]
Alyssa Schardt, Class of 2012
During my junior year at Illinois Wesleyan University I was quite active in the psychology
department. I was a teacher's assistant for both statistics and human biology in
the fall, and became the head statistics TA for the spring semester. During my spring
semester I interned at the Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery, which was a
life changing experience. I absolutely loved leading groups and working with patients
towards their recovery, and cannot wait to begin again in the fall as a case manager.
I also enjoyed working as a research assistant to Professor Nebel-Schwalm, as well
as assisting senior, Hannah Jones, with her thesis. I served on the executive board
for the honors psychology society, Psi Chi, and was honored to be elected president
for the 2011-2012 school year. I am anticipating a year full of service activities
and fund raisers with Psi Chi. I am looking forward to working on my thesis with
Dr. Themanson next year. I plan to study the effects of exercise and body image,
which is a topic I am very interested in and hope to continue once I enter graduate
school. Outside of the Psychology department, I play the violin in the Illinois Wesleyan
Civic Orchestra, as well as teach private violin lessons.
[Alyssa won the Jim Dougan Junior Award in 2011 and the Senior Psi Chi Award in 2012]
Peter Rosen, Class of 2010
Psychology and Art double major
While at Illinois Wesleyan University I was involved in many activities both in and
out of the psychology department. I became involved in psychology research as a freshman
while helping other students complete their thesis work. I was also a teaching assistant
for the Behavioral Conditioning Lab, as well as the research assistant for the EEG
Lab on campus. I completed my honors research thesis with Dr. Jason Themanson working with event-related brain potentials. Outside of
psychology I was an art student, and a coach for a youth soccer league in the community.
I am currently pursuing my Ph.D. in the Experimental Psychology program at Washington
State University to work on a collaboration between the Cognitive Neuroscience Lab
and the Sleep and Performance Research Center. In addition to school, I work as a
teaching/research assistant on campus.
[Peter won the Senior Award in 2010]
Ashley N. Czworniak, Class of 2011
Psychology and Biology double major
As a junior, I was fortunate enough to begin research with Dr. Williams exploring
the effectiveness of pulsed radio frequency in the treatment of pain, which I found
fascinating. Outside of the Psychology department, I am involved in Global Medical
Brigades, as well as International Justice Mission which works to end sex trafficking
in foreign countries. Additionally, I have been fortunate enough to work at Shriners
Hospital for Children in Chicago for about two years which has been an absolutely
enlightening opportunity. After graduating from IWU in December, I began working at
a residential facility for adults with developmental disorders as a part time caretaker/mentor.
Each day working there has been more fulfilling than the one before. Fortunately,
I am still volunteering at Shriners Hospital for Children in Chicago, and was even
able to co-author an abstract on patient outcomes. In my free time, I teach martial
arts at the local park district. Aside from that, I am excited to apply to MD/MPH
programs this summer.
[Ashley won the Jim Dougan Award in 2010]
Kerry Gremo, Class of 2010
Psychology major, Spanish minor
I was a psychology major and Spanish minor at IWU. Within the department I participated
as a teaching and research assistant for Dr. Sheese. During my sophomore year I completed
an internship in the Intervention Strategies Team of the North DuPage Special Education
Cooperative. I'm a member of Psi Chi, the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance, and
serve as Vice President of Kappa Delta Sorority. I'm currently in my 2nd year in the
PhD program in school psychology at the University of Kansas. I work as a graduate
research assistant at the Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation at KU working
on developing alternate assessment measures in English-language arts for students
with significant cognitive disabilities.
[Kerry won the Jim Dougan Award in 2010]
Melanie Essayens, Class of 2009
I am currently in the Industrial/Organizational Psychology Ph.D program at Central
Michigan University. I'm doing my research on occupational stress and am helping a
professor with a book on women leaders in the workplace from an evolutionary psychology
standpoint. In addition to school I'm working as a general psychology teaching assistant
and as a research consultant for CareerBuilder.
[Melanie won the Psi Chi Award in 2009]
Melinda Mallory, Class of 2009
At Illinois Wesleyan University I was involved in many activities both in and out
of the psychology department. I was involved with psych research both as a research
assistant my sophomore and junior years as well as doing my own thesis with Dr. Dougan my senior year. I was a member of Psi Chi and was president of the
organization my senior year. I also did an internship at BroMenn on the Mental Health
Unit. Outside of psychology I played the oboe in the Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra.
I was a member of Colleges Against Cancer and the Philosophy Club and I worked as
a tour guide at Admissions. I am currently finishing some necessary prerequisite
courses and applying to Nursing School. I will hopefully be entering an accelerated
program this May to receive a Bachelor's degree in Nursing.
[Melinda won the Senior Departmental Award in 2009]