Save the date: Big Bash 2014

Mark Rain (’73) and Nestor Matthews (Dennison University) at the Big Bash 2013 Psychology Reception

Coming to Big Bash this year? If so, please join us for our annual Psychology Department Reception (2-4pm) on Saturday, June 7th.

Due to summer construction, the second and third floors of Baxter Hall will be closed. So, the department has moved to temporary office space in Hays Hall. And, we will be moving the reception to Hays Hall (Room 206, on the north side of the building).

We always enjoy this chance to catch up with our recent alumni, as well as share stories with alums who were here before many of our current faculty members came to Wabash. We hope to see you there!

The full reunion schedule for Big Bash if available here:

Schmitzer-Torbert awarded Daniel F. Evans Chair

Prof. Schmitzer-Torbert at Brain Day in 2010.

Last week. Dr. Neil Schmitzer-Torbert was named the Daniel F. Evans Associate Professor in the Social Sciences. Daniel F. Evans ’43 was a longtime Trustee and Treasurer, and served as the College CEO in 1992-3.

The Evans chair was established by the Board of Trustees in 1994, and is awarded to a Wabash faculty member every three years. The award “recognizes an individual whose teaching and scholarship are admirable and effective, and whose intellectual leadership promises to affect the quality of instruction in his or her discipline and across the College.”  Previous Psychology faculty who have held the Evans chair are Profs. Robert Horton (2008-11) and Charles Blaich (1999-2002).

Prof. Schmitzer-Torbert received his bachelor’s degree from Knox College in 2000, and completed his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Minnesota in 2005. He joined the Wabash faculty in 2006, and received tenure in 2011. He teaches in the department’s Introduction to Psychology and Research Methods & Statistics courses, as well as the department’s offerings in neuroscience (Introduction to Neuroscience, Behavioral Neuroscience).  This fall, he will be travelling to Montreal with his Behavioral Neuroscience students to conduct research with a colleague at McGill University.

Psychology Awards 2014

Connor O’Rear ’14 presents his senior capstone research project at the 2014 Psychology Research Symposium

Each year, the Psychology Department gives out two awards, the Distinguished Senior in Psychology, and the Capstone Award. The Distinguished Senior in Psychology Award is given each year to the senior major who best represents the department’s ideal for outstanding scholarship, research and service, while the Senior Capstone Award is given each year to the senior major who completes the top senior capstone research project. The Capstone Award considers the scope of the senior capstone, the initiative of the major in completing it, and the public presentations that the senior makes (including our Psychology Research Symposium poster session).

At Awards Chapel last week, Connor O’Rear ’14 was announced to be the 28th Distinguished Senior in Psychology. Connor has excelled at Wabash, receiving Distinction on his Senior Comprehensive exams, and he was also named a Mackintosh Fellow at Awards Chapel. Connor came to Wabash from South Bend, and in his time at Wabash he has been very active in research (completing two summer internships, one with Dr. Schmitzer-Torbert and one with Dr. Horton) as well as three semesters of research with Dr. Horton outside of class. For his capstone project, Connor worked with Dr. Olfoson, in a study of the development of theory of mind in children. Outside of psychology, Connor also completed an area of concentration in Asian Studies and has been involved in the Chinese Club and Psi Chi and worked as a tutor at the writing center.

After Wabash, Connor will begin his PhD studies in Psychology at Notre Dame, where he will be continuing his focus on developmental psychology, in research on children’s understanding of math with Dr. Nicole McNeil (whose lab he volunteered in while still in high school).

Nathan Bryant ’14 receives the Capstone Award at the Psychology Research Symposium Keynote address.

This year, Nathan Bryant received the 2014 Capstone Award, for his project: The Effects of the Serotonin Agonist Sumatriptan on Aggression in a Neutral Cage in Adult Male Rats. Nathan is from Indianapolis and attended Ben Davis High School. He is a Senior DeMolay, and Freemason. At Wabash, Nathan served as a student senator, IFC representative, and vice-president of the Kappa Sigma fraternity.

Working with Dr. Aubele-Futch, Nathan found that infusions of sumatriptan, a serotonin agonist, into the nucleus accumbens in rats significantly increased aggressive behavior in male rats. A copy of Nathan’s poster, presented at the Psychology Research Symposium, is posted below.

Nathan Bryant’s poster summarizing his capstone research project.