SURP Alumni 2014


Learn more about each SURP intern by reading the articles and bios below:



Bianka Charity

Caitlin Brown

Bianka Charity attends Spelman College with a major in Psychology and a minor in Comparative Women’s Studies. Her participation as a research assistant for an Assistant Professor of Social Psychology at the college sparked her interest in exploring the ability for adolescent youth to develop positive and motivational relationships. Bianka is currently working on her Senior Honors Thesis on this topic and also volunteers at a local secondary school in Atlanta, Georgia where she mentors middle aged girls on self-esteem, wellness and academic achievement. She has also conducted research on interracial interactions and has presented research on two specific lines of research at the Society for Personality and Social Psychology Conference (SPSP) and at her college sponsored research day. Following Spelman, Bianka would like to attend a graduate school program for Clinical Psychology. In order to become a rigorous applicant, Bianka will participate in SURP research with Nancy Deutsch and Valerie Futch where she will examine a longitudinal study of youth adult relationships across various contexts named ‘Who Builds the Village”.


Keya Chilka

Charity Crowell

Keya Chilka attends Mount Holyoke College and is majoring in Psychology. She is a tutor at Valley Opportunity Council, an ESL center, and a board member of Familia, a group supporting LBGT youth of color. She also works at Ramapo for Children, an organization dedicated to supporting youth with special needs, as a camp counselor and mentor, in the summer. Her research interests lie in trauma and intersectionality within marginalized groups through a social psychology and educational psychology lens. Her summer research, with Dr. Nancy Deutsch and Dr. Joanna Williams, evaluates the success of the Young Women Leader’s Program, a program which serves to support at-risk middle-school girls, by analyzing qualitative and quantitative data provided by the girls and their mentors within the program.


Kellie Choy

Chi-Hang Au

Kellie Choy attends The Pennsylvania State University with a double major in Psychology and Advertising and a minor in Business. She has experience working in an undergraduate research lab with a focus in leadership and innovation, where she will be the president of the Industrial & Organizational Psychology Society in the upcoming 2014-2015 school year. Kellie is also involved in the creation of a new transition program to streamline the adjustment process of change-of-campus students from smaller commonwealth campuses to the larger main campus. Her research interests center on industrial organizational psychology with a specific interest in employee selection and performance management, but she is also interested in learning more about adolescent development and programs that can better foster adolescent growth. This summer Kellie will be working with Dr. Noelle Hurd investigating how mentors can better facilitate academic success among unrepresented first year college students.


 Taelor Clay

Johanel Caceres

Taelor Clay is a rising senior at Morgan State University with a major in Psychology and a minor in Screenwriting. She previously interned with Virginia State/Cambridge University, Colorado State University, and Stanford University. Some of her research experience includes examining the relationship between de ja vu and divided attention, the impact of stereotype threat on women in business, and the impact of a chess-based academic intervention on academic outcomes in elementary school students. Her research passion lies in academic and behavioral interventions for girls and young women, and intends to pursue this research full time at a graduate institution in the fall of 2015. 


 Keena Jones

Krystal Thomas

Keena Jones attends Clark Atlanta University where she is a Senior Psychology major. She has worked as a research assistant on various projects including U Can Do It!, a self esteem and leadership building project for middle school students as well as a applied research project centered on the effectiveness of  a series of mental health education seminars and events targeted towards  college student populations . She has also served as program developer within the (The Salvation Army) Boys & Girls Club of America, helping to create engaging, educational and active programming for school age children. Keena's research interests include the study of educational achievement in regards to individual differences among racial groups, socioeconomic strata, and siblings. This summer, Keena will serve as an intern within the Young Women Leaders Program under Drs. Nancy Deutsch and Joanna Williams.


   Yessenia Magana

Mariela Castro

Yessenia Magana attends California State University, Dominguez Hills where she is majoring in Psychology. She works as a research assistant in the Social & Health Psychology Lab at CSUDH where she examines illness beliefs regarding the causes of diabetes and obesity related behaviors among at-risk Latino College students. In the Spring of 2014 she presented her findings at the Western Psychological Association Conference. She also has experience as a teaching assistant and tutor for the Theories of Personality Psychology Course. Currently, she serves as President of the CSDUH Chapter of Psi Chi Honor Society and is a cabinet member of the Psychology Club to lead in the coordination of events. As a McNair Scholar, Yessenia is aiming to obtain a PhD in Educational Psychology. Her research interests are in students’ social and cognitive development, learning and motivation, the technology integration in schools, and educational reform. Her McNair research proposal examines electronic and print book format differences in 2nd grade children’s reading progress. This summer, Yessenia has worked with Dr. Elizabeth Cottone and Dr. Christopher Hulleman to study the link between children’s fine motor skills and cognitive skills, particularly in math achievement.


     Lidia Monjaras-Gaytan

Micah Melia

Lidia Monjaras is a senior at San Diego State University where she is majoring in Psychology.  She has worked as a research assistant in the Youth Violence Research Lab, where she has examined the risk factors and implications of dating violence among adolescents and young adults.  Her current research projects focus on the Commercial and Sexual Exploitation of Children and she is currently looking at risk factors in adolescents who engage in sex exchange.  Additionally, she is involved in various educational outreach and mentoring programs on campus.  She also serves as a Peer Advisor for the Psychology Department and psychology tutor for students in the Equal Opportunity Program.  Her research interests include exploring the factors that contribute to student success in higher education, specifically underrepresented students in the area of STEM. She intends to pursue a doctoral degree in Social or Educational Psychology.


Gloria Selva

Samantha Angell

Gloria Selva attends Florida International University where she is majoring in Psychology with a minor in Education. She has worked as a research assistant in the Health Disparities and Cultural Identities Lab at FIU, where she has examined issues such as intimate partner violence, sexually transmitted infections, and sexual messaging amongst minority college students. Her long-term research interests include exploring the relationships between children/adolescents and adults as well as exploring the school-to-prison pipeline. She intends to pursue a Ph.D. in school psychology along with a specialist degree in the same field. This summer she has worked with Dr. Nancy Deutsch and Dr. Valerie Futch to explore youth-adult relationships across different settings and taken an in-depth look at the ways adults provide instrumental and emotional support to youth and the qualities of relationships and adults that youth find most supportive.