Brian Iwata Honored as Distinguished Professor
In a rare action, the university has promoted Brian Iwata to the rank of Distinguished Professor. As noted in the university guidelines, “The title of Distinguished Professor acknowledges an exceptional record of achievement in the areas of teaching, research and publication, and professional and public service that is recognized both nationally and internationally.” This is indeed an unusual honor because Brian is the first Distinguished Professor in the history of our department.
Brian came to UF in 1986 from Johns Hopkins University, where he taught in the departments of Pediatrics and Psychiatry and pioneered experimental approaches to behavioral assessment, which have changed the course of treatment for a wide range of behavior disorders in pediatric populations, especially those diagnosed with intellectual disabilities and autism. As a member of the Behavior Analysis area, his record of preparing students for future leadership in the field has been exceptional. For example, 124 undergraduate students from his lab have gone on to graduate studies over the past 10 years. Even more impressive is the fact that nine of the 20 recipients of the B. F. Skinner young investigator award from APA have been his former Ph.D. students. Research from his lab has resulted in over 240 publications and has been supported by grants from the ARC, Developmental Disabilities Planning Council, NIH, and the Pew Memorial Trust.
Brian is the former chief editor of the major research journal in his field, the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, president of five societies, including a division of APA, and chair of review panels for both NIH and NIMH. In addition to receiving awards from every major organization in the field of behavior analysis, he has been the recipient of research awards from APA and the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
Robin West Selected as 2014 Recipient of APA Distinguished Contribution Award for Applied Gerontology
Robin West, Professor of Psychology, has been named the recipient of the 2014 American Psychological Association Division 20's M. Powell Lawton Distinguished Contribution Award for Applied Gerontology. The Distinguished Contribution Award in Applied Gerontology is presented in honor of the memory of M. Powell Lawton to recognize those whose contributions have improved the quality of life of older persons. The award Dr. West receives is in recognition of her work in Applied Gerontology in the areas of memory training and everyday memory research. Dr. West is honored for her extensive community involvement in training workshops and public speeches for lay audiences on the topic of aging and memory and how to improve memory.
Celebrating our International Students
When’s the last time you wrote a grant proposal….in your second language? By day you are dynamically engaged in high-level research – but sometimes after work at a restaurant you don’t quite understand the menu. This describes the lives of about a dozen students in the Department of Psychology: our international PhD students. We admire these students who have made the journey from their homes around the globe…Mumbai, Istanbul, Seoul, Perth, Beijing and more, to pursue their academic goals at UF. The contribution of international students to our departmental research profile is outstanding. Their diverse perspectives broaden our thinking and enrich our intellectual world. International students are invested in research across several areas (Counseling, Developmental, and Behavioral and Cognitive Neuroscience). Their research represents diverse creative interests, from investigating neural mechanisms of behavioral sensitization to qualitative analysis of autobiographical memories. In Counseling, students are broadening our horizons through research on therapeutic practices sensitive to individuals across cultures.
International students face challenges studying in the US. These include negotiating differences in cultural and social norms, overcoming language barriers, and dealing with bureaucratic and financial constraints. When asked about life at UF, students mentioned such issues as “struggling with understanding my cultural identity”, “feeling like I am not grounded”, and “making connections with people”. Though realistic about challenges, our international students also had lots to say about the richness of their UF experience: the wonderful training opportunities, freedom to conduct exciting research, and guidance from great mentors and colleagues that fuel their professional growth. Students also mentioned enjoying meeting new people and being inspired by the natural landscape of North Central Florida. Our international students are here to learn from us….and to teach us. A perfect match.Our current international PhD students are:
Counseling: Meenakshi Palaniappan: Chennai, India; Hanna Suh (서해나): Seoul, South Korea;
Developmental: Tian Lin: Beijing, China; Jingwen Liu: Chengdu, China; Hsiao-Wen: Kaohsiung, Taiwan; Yao Guan: Qingdao, China; Aylin Tasdemir: Istanbul, Turkey
BCN: Sridhar Srinivasan: Madras (Chennai), India; Xiaomeng Yuan: Changsha, China; Inkyung Song
Bluck Wins Exemplary Research Award
Dr. Susan Bluck (Director, Life Story Lab) is the recipient of the Robert Butler and Myrna Lewis Exemplary Research Award from the International Institute for Reminiscence and Life Review. Dr. Butler was a physician, Pulitzer-winning author and first director of the National Institute on Aging. Dr. Lewis was a leader in gerontology at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Butler and Lewis’s early clinical and theoretical work denounces ageism, suggesting that older individuals have rich life stories that can be used to understand the aging process and inform clinical practice. This award recognizes scholars who have carried on this tradition, making major contributions to the field by extending concepts and theories concerning personal memory.
Dr. Bluck’s nomination and selection was based on her scholarly contribution to understanding the functions of remembering the personal past across the lifespan. Her nomination letter describes her as a "bridge-builder" whose “record of research is truly impressive in terms of both its scope and its influence on other scholars in the field" She is described as “a model researcher because of the exceptionally high quality of her scholarship and its purposeful relevance to…addressing both theoretical and practical questions.”
Dr. Bluck has been dedicated to personal memory research across her career, from some of her earliest published work, Reminiscence as Autobiographical Memory: A Catalyst for Reminiscence Theory Development (1998) to her most current, Remembering the Historical Roots of Remembering the Personal Past (in press). The Life Story Lab consists of a multidisciplinary research team interested in adult development, aging, and autobiographical memory. The Lab welcomes people of all ages to get involved in ongoing research. If interested, please contact the lab at (352) 273-3813.