Archives

Jessica Hoffman ’13

Last October Jessica was accepted into Western Michigan University’s graduate program for counseling psychology. Jessica is a first generation college student who now is the first in her family to attend graduate school. “Her time at K was a  key chapter in this story,” wrote her friend and mentor, John Fink, professor emeritus of mathematics and computer science. At K Jessica majored in French and studied abroad in Claremont-Ferrand, France.

Allen M. Omoto ’82, Ph.D.

Allen was awarded an American Psychological Association Presidential Citation for his passionate dedication to social justice and to bringing psychological science to bear on social policy. Throughout his career, Allen has demonstrated a strong and lasting commitment to social justice and inclusion through his research, publications, teaching, mentorship and leadership. He was APA’s inaugural William A. Bailey AIDS Policy Congressional Fellow. He served on the Committee on Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Concerns, chaired the Board for the Advancement of Psychology in the Public Interest, has served on the APA Council of Representatives and has been elected president of Div. 9 (Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues) and Div. 44 (Society for the Psychological Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues). Allen has received awards for distinction in education and training (Div. 44) and service (Div. 9), as well as the Western Psychological Association’s Social Responsibility Award. Through his passion, dedication, sense of humor, and the example he sets for integrating his values into his personal and professional life, Allen inspires and leads his students and his colleagues to affect social justice through the science of psychology. He is currently a professor in the Claremont Colleges in California.

Péter Érdi, the Luce Professor of Complex Systems Studies

Péter is the co-editor of a new book titled Computational Neurology and Psychiatry. He also is the co-author—along with two K students, Takumi Matsuzawa ’16 and Tibin John ’15—of a paper included in that book. The paper is titled “Connecting Epilepsy and Alzheimer’s Disease: Modeling of Normal and Pathological Rhythmicity and Synaptic Plasticity Related to Amyloidβ (Aβ) Effects.”

Sometimes seeing more is a matter of new ways of looking. Such “new ways of looking” include the emerging scientific fields of computational neurology and computational psychiatry. The key word is “computational.” Researchers apply math and computer science to create computer models that simulate brain structures and brain activities associated with specific disorders (epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease, for example). Such simulations—and new techniques of analyzing the copious amount of data that emerges from such simulations—have the potential to reveal elements of brain structure and function associated with disease and disorders, elements that have heretofore been a mystery. In other words, these “new ways of looking” may result in seeing what’s never been seen before.

Computer modeling also offers advantages of cost and convenience compared to older ways (animal experimentation and laboratory set-up) of trying to model and see brain structure and (mal)function.

A book that pioneers these new scientific fields is exciting and important, says Péter:  “Adopting advanced computational methods such as modeling and data processing raises hopes that one day we will more effectively treat neurological and psychiatric disorders.”

In other news, Péter has been appointed Vice President for Membership of the International Neural Network Societies.

Katherine Schantz ’70

Katherine was a featured speaker at WORKTECH 15 New York, part of the international conference series exploring the latest thinking on the future of work and the workplace. Katherine is Head of School at The Lab School of Washington, a private Washington, D.C., school focusing on elementary, middle school, and high school students with dyslexia, ADHD, and other language-based learning differences. Katherine earned her B.A. in economics from K and studied education with a concentration in counseling and consulting psychology at Harvard University. She currently belongs to a consortium of heads of independent schools across the country working to develop the most effective practices and environments for students with specific learning disabilities and ADHD. Her interest and expertise is in learning from neuroscience to develop effective educational practices for students with learning disabilities and ADHD, and fostering an arts-infused educational model. She has spoken at educational and mental health conferences on topics including neuropsychology, learning strategies, executive functioning, and preparing students with learning disabilities for college.

Douglas Behrend ’81

Douglas has been appointed chair of the Department of Psychological Science at Fulbright College, University of Arkansas-Fayetteville. He has been a professor at the university since 1989. His research interests include children’s word-learning, learning and sharing of privileged information, and accent preferences. He is head of the WordPlay Lab, the department’s child language and cognition laboratory, and he is the author or co-author of many scholarly articles. He has collaborated with and mentored many students and has been involved in interdisciplinary projects with colleagues in a variety of fields. He received his bachelor’s degree in psychology and French from Kalamazoo College and a doctorate in psychology from the University of Minnesota.

Brandon Faber ’07

Brandon Brandon Faber director of community engagement at the Grosse Pointe (Mich.) War Memorial Associationis the new director of community engagement at the Grosse Pointe (Mich.) War Memorial Association. Prior to taking this new position, Brandon was executive director of the Birmingham Bloomfield Symphony Orchestra. He earned a bachelor of arts in music and psychology from Kalamazoo College and a master of music in instrumental conducting from the Cole Conservatory of the California State University Long Beach.

Mary Sauer-Games ’83

The American Psychological Association (APA) has appointed Mary to the position of senior director, PsycINFO. She manages the development and growth of APA research databases, while expanding their coverage and uncovering new product opportunities. She also is responsible for the ongoing development of APA PsycNET, the organization’s search platform that seeks new ways of strengthening the connections for students, researchers, and psychologists between the questions that they need to answer and the most relevant information available to meet that need. The APA is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States.

Michael Winkelman ’91

Michael has published a new book: A Cognitive Approach to John Donne’s Songs and Sonnets, part of publisher Palgrave Macmillan’s series titled “Cognitive Studies in Literature and Performance.” Investigations into brain function have led to recent remarkable discoveries with profound implications for interpreting literature. Donne, who wrote in the 17th century, was a contemporary of Shakespeare and one of the first Metaphysical poets. He later became a famous cleric many of whose meditations are cited today. For example, “Meditation XVII” from Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions includes the famous prose passage that begins “No man is an island” and concludes with “And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.” Donne’s probing insights, expressed in his unique Metaphysical style, make his amorous verse a ripe subject for cognitive analysis. Winkelman’s study applies recent breakthroughs from neuroscience and evolutionary psychology in order to deepen the understanding of Donne’s songs and sonnets. By applying findings from neurolinguistics to Donne’s work, Winkelman presents a test case for the cognitive interpretation of verse and, more broadly, advances the case of New Humanism.