SURP Alumni 2015


SURP Interns 2015

 

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

 

Jasmine Alexander-Brookings

 Jasmine Alexander-Brookings
 

Jasmine Alexander-Brookings attends the University of Connecticut with an Individualized Major in Urban Youth Development and a minor in Africana Studies. She hopes to work as a community organizer focused on engaging, educating, and empowering at-risk-youth who may fall through the cracks of educational and social services. Through her mentoring work at First Star Academy, Jasmine works one-on-one with students in the foster care system to help them remain persistent in their educational pursuits. She also serves as the Founder and President of the UConn Hip Hop Collective, which plans and coordinates community events to encourage positive creative expression, support honest dialogue on social issues, and promote community and awareness among diverse student groups. Her upcoming senior thesis examines culturally relevant pedagogy and specifically how incorporating the principles of Hip Hop culture affect student motivation, educational engagement and student outcomes. Her summer research, conducted with Nancy Deutsch, PhD and Valerie Futch, PhD, examines how the size, quality, and composition of youth’s networks of relationships with adults shift as they transition to new grades and schools and how this is related to youth outcomes.

 

Alaysia Brown

 Alaysia Brown
 
 
 
 

I attend the University of San Diego and am a Psychology major and English minor. I have been a member of the volleyball team at the university for the last 4 years, as well as a McNair Scholar for the last two years, which allowed me to conduct a sports psychology based summer research project alongside my mentor Nadav Goldschmied. The research focused on comparing and contrasting the meanings of both the underdog and top-dog using the Semantic Differential Scale, the results of which were presented at the 16th annual Society for Personality and Social Psychology Conference. My long-term research interests include parenting styles and family structures and how they differ culturally and across contexts. I intend to pursue a Ph.D. in Clinical-Counseling Psychology and to eventually work with married couples and families. My summer research conducted with Dr. Patrick Tolan will explore how adolescents develop in healthy and effective ways, focusing primarily on inner-city youth and their family and neighborhood influences.

 

Manju Connolly

 Manju Connolly
 
 
 
 
 

Manju Connolly attends the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a major in Psychology and Mathematics and a minor in Spanish Studies. At her institution she serves as a teaching assistant in the introductory psychology course and volunteers at the University YMCA, mentoring youth in literacy development and positive self-image. She studied abroad in Ecuador during Fall 2014, completing classes and an internship focused on education while experiencing cultural learning with host families. Manju currently participates in the Prepare2Nspire research program, tutoring underserved minority students in mathematics and motivating them to prepare for education beyond high school. She has also conducted research in undergraduate physics education at North Dakota State University in the summer of 2014, analyzing how faculty perception of student feedback affects pedagogical decisions and in turn student learning. Her long-term research interests include understanding student motivation and barriers to student success, particularly how teachers can overcome discrepancies in student opportunities and access to resources through intentional classroom practices.

 

Nazia Denese

 Nazia Denese
 
 
 

Nazia Denese attends the Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College (CUNY) and is majoring in Psychology. With the help of the National Science Foundation, she completed her honors thesis at Baruch College during her junior year and presented at several conferences. Her research was on the relationship between memory and fluid intelligence tests as predictors of academic achievement. She has been a research assistant in an industrial/organizational psychology lab at Baruch College and a social psychology lab at New York University, working on projects related to various topics including memory, implicit attitudes, bullying, neuroscience of learning, and effective teaching methods. Her main passion lies in helping children succeed academically, socially, and emotionally. This interest increased after she interned with children with autism at AHRC and worked with disadvantaged youth in clinics and schools through a Global Medical Brigade in Panama. Currently, she volunteers for the Trevor Project as a Lifeguard workshop facilitator, teaching youth about suicide prevention and self-care. This summer, she is working in Dr. Kennedy's lab developing technology that will hopefully decrease the achievement gap in the STEM field seen with students who have learning disabilities.

 

Virnaliz Jimenez

 Virnaliz Jimenez
 
 

Virnaliz Jimenez attends the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a major in Psychology and a minor in Hispanic Studies. She has volunteers as a writing coach at a local bilingual elementary school. She is also a counselor for Healthy Girls Save the World a non-profit organization in which she mentors young girls. As a research assistant she works in the Language Cognition and Brain Lab examining how lexical and contextual factors affect how words are recognized during reading. She also volunteers in a developmental psychology lab that examines race and the physiological effects stereotypes and discrimination have on college students. Her research interests involve child/adolescent psychopathology, intervention programs, poverty and race. In the future she plans on pursuing a PhD in applied developmental psychology.

 

Beverly López-Cancel

 Lopez-Cancel
 
 
 

Beverly López-Cancel attends the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus with a dual major in Psychology and Modern Languages. She has served as a research assistant in the Biopsychosocial Research Training Program (PAIB), at the Psychological Research Institute (IPsi). Her research project focused on “The Relationship between the Sense of Belonging and Mental Health of Adolescents”. Beverly volunteers as a tutor at “Ai se eu te pego” an educational project that supports students learning Hispanic and Lusophone languages. She has also been involved in “Light for Parents”, a community based program that serves children and parents during their stay at hospitals through the creation of recreational and educative activities. Some of her research interests include emotional learning, children & youth positive development, interpersonal relations among families that are cultural minorities and their social inclusion. Her passions towards understanding people, education and culture motivates her towards pursuing professional goals in psychology. This summer Beverly will be working with Dr. Patrick Tolan, an internationally recognized researcher at Youth-Nex Center, a center focused on research, practices, and policies about positive youth development. She will be an intern for SURP investigating on the “Positive Development of Adolescents” project.

 

Ashley Metelus

 Ashley Metelus
 
 
 

Ashley Metelus attends the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee with a major in Interdisciplinary Social Science. Her concentrations are History and Psychology. She was first introduced to educational research, when she traveled to Lira, Uganda with a professor and conducted research on the educational challenges that adolescents face after the Joseph Kony Lord Resistance Army conflict had ended. She wanted to take a step further in educational research and wrote her honors thesis on second-generation immigrants, focusing on Haitian-Americans, and if they pursue post-secondary education because of their parents’ low wage immigrant occupations. Aside from conducting her own research, she has served as a research assistant for several different professors at her university, primarily research in the educational and psychological sciences. Her interest in educational research is more so targeted to the social and cultural perspective of educational research. This would include focusing on the challenges that students face when they are from a low socioeconomic status background and solutions to aid those students. She is very passionate about research and hopes to obtain an occupation in research.

 

Amber Williamson

 Amber Williamson
 
 

I am originally from Aiken, SC and am currently a Psychology major at the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC. I became interested in working with children after volunteering in an after-school program to teach social and emotional learning skills to at-risk youth. I am currently researching how parental support can affect memories of novel events for children and how the delivery of educational information can affect learning outcomes with my research advisor at CofC. I aim to create a non-profit organization that promotes educational achievement and leadership skills in at-risk youth in an after-school setting.