News

Ibrahim Dahlstrom-Hakki ‘08PhD

Alumni Spotlight
Ibrahim Dahlstrom-Hakki
Ibrahim Dahlstrom-Hakki

Making STEM education more accessible and effective for diverse learners

A Senior Research Scientist at TERC, Ibrahim Dahlstrom-Hakki develops alternative approaches to mainstream education that benefit neurodiverse learners. He designs innovative curricula and assessments utilizing neurocognitive tools, game-based learning, and even virtual reality. He also shares his educational knowledge through professional development workshops for teachers, improving the accessibility of STEM education for students with disabilities.

PBS mentors promising students during summer programs

Each summer, PBS department members mentor students, helping them perform specialized research projects. The William Lee Science Impact Program (Lee SIP) is a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program designed to expand and broaden participation in undergraduate research. Lee SIP scholars are mentored directly by research faculty, work within a research team, and participate in professional development workshops.

The Summer Pre-College Research Intensives place high-achieving high school students in professional working labs alongside distinguished faculty, graduate and undergraduate students. Participants gain valuable UMass experience and complete a research project of their own. Check out these posters from some of our talented student researchers, summing up their awesome projects!

Lee SIP

Sari Saint-Hilaire and Alexis Edozie posing with their posters
L-r: Alexis Edozie (Mathematics and Statistics) and Sari Saint-Hilaire (PBS)

Sari Saint-Hilaire

Evaluating Correlations Between Riskiness, Risk-Assessment, and Risk-Taking Measures Across Different Pubertal Ages

Individual Differences in Development Lab directed by Kirby Deater-Deckard

poster
Click to enlarge poster

Daniel Anderson Comments on the Aesthetic of Nickelodeon

double dare gameshow contestants runningIn the 1970s, the term “couch potato” had become a popular buzzword when describing kids zoning out in front of the TV. According to Daniel Anderson, a professor of psychological and brain sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, the prevailing thought was that kids were turning their minds off and being sucked into “a really effective kaleidoscope.” Over the next decade, however, Anderson pushed back against that general theory, studying the way preschoolers up through preteens watched and interacted with television. “When you get to older kids watching Nickelodeon game shows, if there was another kid in the room, they’d be constantly discussing what was going on,” Anderson says. “In ways that are not unlike adults, they’d be talking about the content and speculating about characters and so on.”

Advisor-Student Pair Win Gilliam Fellowship

Mélise Edwards
Mélise Edwards

Neuroscience and behavior Ph.D. student Mélise Edwards and her advisor, Professor Agnès Lacreuse, are among the 50 winners of this year’s Gilliam Fellowship for Advanced Study for dissertation adviser–graduate student pairs. The award is part of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s (HHMI) program to promote diversity and inclusion in science.

“I am really thankful for the few really incredible mentors, including peer mentors, who reminded me that my GPA was not indicative of my intelligence and that I would excel in graduate school,” says Edwards, a biracial Black woman from North Carolina. “I’m so glad I listened to them instead of the countless naysayers who tried to convince me not to pursue science or graduate school.”

Agnès Lacreuse
Agnès Lacreuse

Lacreuse says she’s “thrilled and honored” to have received the award with Mélise. “The Fellowship recognizes Mélise’s excellence in neuroscience, anti-racism activism, and mentorship leadership,” she says. “In the two years I’ve had the pleasure to mentor her, I have been thoroughly impressed by her insatiable drive to answer big scientific questions, her enthusiasm for neuroscience, and her creative mind.”

In-person human subjects research resumes

Effective August 11, 2021, all members of the UMass community ­­— students, faculty and staff —as well as contractors and visitors are required to wear face coverings in public indoor spaces on the UMass Amherst campus. The requirements applies to vaccinated and non-vaccinated individuals. Face coverings must be worn in nearly all indoor public spaces, including classrooms, hallways, elevators, restrooms, break rooms, entries and exits to buildings, laboratories, meeting rooms, shared offices and work areas.

Ervin Staub, creator of the Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement (ABLE) program

In the Media

Ervin Staub, professor emeritus of psychological and brain sciences, is interviewed about the program he developed to teach police officers how to intervene in stopping unnecessary harmful behavior by fellow officers. Staub says he initiated this training after the police beating of Rodney King in 1991 and the Active Bystandership for Law Enforcement (ABLE) program he developed is now training more than 100 police departments. He says, “Having a law that requires intervention is not enough.” WBUR

Brooke Burrows awarded NSF funding for cutting edge internship at Elite Learners

Brooke BurrowsBrooke Burrows, a Ph.D. student in in the psychology of peace and violence program in the department of psychological and brain sciences, was recently awarded funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to support a six-month internship. Part of NSF’s INTERN program, the award is designed to provide non-academic research experience and training to graduate students.

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