SURP Alumni 2016

Learn more about each SURP intern and their research project in these articles:

Karen Fernandez

Karen A. Fernandez attends Mount Holyoke College and is majoring in Psychology with a minor in Educational Policy and Practice. Her participation as a research assistant for an Assistant Professor of Psychology and Education at the college sparked her interest in educational policies surrounding English Language Learners in public education. Karen is currently developing her Senior Honors Thesis on this topic. In addition to English Language Learners and bilingual education, Karen is also interested in studying best practices for Special Education instruction and the ways in which state and federal education policies affect students with exceptionalities. Following Mount Holyoke, Karen would like to pursue a Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) in order to begin a career as an Elementary public school teacher. She hopes to then complete her Ph.D. in Educational Policy after obtaining more classroom experience. She will be working with Dr. Vivian Wong on the “Examining the Expansion of State Pre-Kindergarten Programs on Private Preschool Markets” project this summer.

Joshua Hughes

Joshua attends Claflin University where he is a psychology major with a minor in philosophy. While attending Claflin he has done a large amount of community service including volunteering at Boy's and Girl's clubs, food drives, as well as the Salvation Army. Also, he has successfully increased mental health awareness on the campus by promoting help-seeking behaviors with the help of his peers and faculty. His passion is to influence youth to pursue education and help improve their lives. He is from Cheraw, South Carolina. Joshua will be working with  Dr. Vivian Wong on the “Examining the Expansion of State Pre-Kindergarten Programs on Private Preschool Markets” project this summer.

Natalie Marks

Natalie Marks attends Syracuse University with a major in Psychology and double minor in Education Studies & Music Performance. She has served as a research assistant at the Family Behavior Analysis Practice under the supervision of Dr. Henry Roane, Ph.D., serving individuals with severe behavior and pediatric feeding disorders and coming up with treatment plans to reduce problem behavior through use of ABA principles. Currently, she serves as a research assistant in the Treatment Research in Academic Competence (TRAC) lab where she enters elementary schools and examines the effects of instructional interventions with hopes of improving academic performance of students. She was recently inducted into the Syracuse University chapter of Psi Chi and also enjoys playing violin in the Syracuse University Symphony Orchestra and String Quartet in her free time. Some of her research interests include adolescent identity formation and development, interpersonal relationships, and the intersectionality of gender, race and class. With these interests, she hopes to attend graduate school and eventually become a School Psychologist. Natalie will participate in SURP research with Nancy Deutsch, Ph.D. and Valerie Futch, Ph.D. where she will examine a longitudinal study of youth-adult relationships across various contexts named 'Who Builds the Village?”


Valerie Salcido

Valerie is majoring in Psychology at Amherst College. For the past three years at Amherst, she has tutored and mentored middle schoolers in two separate programs.  She is also President of the Outing Club as well as To Write Love on Her Arms, a club that strives to raise awareness about illnesses such as depression and bipolar disorder. Valerie is passionate about helping others, particularly kids and those suffering from mental health issues, and she is currently interested in finding better ways to provide resources in schools for kids with special needs. Valerie will be working with Dr. Michael Kennedy on the “Supporting Middle School Science Teachers’ Use of Evidence-Based Practices: Assembling a Multimedia-Based Professional Development Package That Works” project this summer.

McKenzie Stokes

McKenzie Stokes is a rising senior at Virginia Commonwealth University with a double major in Psychology and African-American Studies, and a minor in Nonprofit Management and Administration. Her research interests consist of non-traditional or unique familial structures, and how they impact social and cognitive development, as well as higher academic achievement. She intends to pursue a graduate program in psychology in the fall of 2017 following the completion of my undergraduate career. McKenzie will be conducting research with Dr. Nancy Deutsch on the  “Who Builds the Village? Examining Youth-Adult Relationships Across Contexts and Time” project this summer.

Wisa Terhune-Praphruettam

Wisa Terhune-Praphruettam attends the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) with a dual degree in Psychology and Music Education. She is from Thailand and volunteered to teach English to elementary students in Thailand. At UIUC, she worked as a research assistant in the Language Acquisition Lab where she examined how children learn their native language. She also worked as a research assistant in the Center for Parent-Child Studies to investigate parental involvement influencing children’s motivation levels. In 2015, she interned for the Illinois Summer Neuroscience Institute to explore neuroscience researches at UIUC.

Her research interest involves school environments and resources (such as technology) affecting children’s brain plasticity to learn. This summer, Wisa will serve as research intern under Dr. Kennedy. After her internship, she will student teach at Oak Grove School District 68.  Wisa plans to pursue a PhD in Educational Psychology with emphasis in Cognitive Neuroscience or PhD in Educational Neuroscience. This summer she will be working with Dr. Michael Kennedy on the 'Supporting Middle School Science Teachers’ Use of Evidence-Based Practices: Assembling a Multimedia-Based Professional Development Package That Works” project this summer.