Regional Faculty Advisor 2001-02 Award Winners
The Psi Chi Awards Committee is pleased to announce the winners of the 2001-2002 Regional Faculty Advisor Awards. Listed below is a summary of the backgrounds and accomplishments of these worthy winners.
Eastern Region (tie)
Jeanette Altarriba, PhD (bio | letter of nomination)
University at Albany, State University of New York
Luis Garcia, PhD (bio | letter of nomination)
Rutgers University Camden
James L. Spencer, PhD (bio | letter of nomination)
West Virginia State University
Michael Hall, PhD (bio | letter of nomination)
University of Nevada, Las Vegas
|| BIOGRAPHIES OF WINNERS:
Jeanette Altarriba, PhD, is an associate professor of psychology at the University at Albany, State University of New York. She completed her PhD in psychology at Vanderbilt University in 1990, specializing in cognitive psychology. A former president of the Florida International University Chapter of Psi Chi, she has been faculty advisor of the SUNY-Albany Chapter since 1993. Through her leadership, the chapter received a Community Service Award for three years of outstanding service to the Capital District Psychiatric Center in Albany, N.Y. Dr. Altarriba was the recipient of both an Excellence in Teaching Award and the Chancellor's Award for outstanding teaching from SUNY-Albany. She is also the recipient of numerous Department of Psychology awards and a Presidential Undergraduate Leadership Award for her role as advisor and mentor to several undergraduate organizations.
Dr. Altarriba conducts research in the areas of bilingualism, second language acquisition, and memory and cognition. Her work has been reported in numerous scientific journals and local, national, and international conferences, and she is the editor of two volumes of research, the most recent, Bilingual Sentence Processing (Elsevier), is currently in press. She routinely involves undergraduate students in her research work and has often published her findings with students as coauthors. Her work on advising and mentoring has led to two publications in Eye on Psi Chi on improving student involvement in Psi Chi chapters and on choosing a mentor. The latter work was published along with a recent copresident of the SUNY-Albany Psi Chi Chapter. Dr. Altarriba also currently directs the doctoral program in cognitive psychology at the University at Albany.
Luis Garcia, PhD, is a professor of psychology at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey-Camden Campus. He received a bachelor's degree from Wichita State University and a PhD in personality and social psychology from Kansas State University. He has been a professor at Rutgers for 23 years and has served as the Psi Chi advisor for 12 years.
Dr. Garcia has published over 20 manuscripts in professional psychology journals and has made numerous presentations at professional conferences. Last year, Dr. Garcia was the recipient of the Outstanding Faculty Award from the Alumni Association. In addition to his scholarly work, Dr. Garcia has been very involved in the application of psychology in the community. He was president of the Hispanic Mental Health Association--a community-based clinic that provides services to the Hispanic population--and the vice-president of the Camden County Mental Health Association. For his service to the community, Dr. Garcia was awarded the university's Public Service Award by the president of Rutgers in 1994.
James L. Spencer, PhD, grew up in a small town in western New York, about a 30-minute drive from Niagara Falls. A 1976 psychology graduate of Canisius College, he entered Ohio State University in 1977, earning his master's degree from OSU in 1979 and his PhD in 1984, both in comparative psychology. In 1983, he came to West Virginia State College (WVSC) as instructor of psychology, working his way slowly to chairperson (1993, a position he still holds) and full professor (1994). Shortly after arriving at WVSC, he founded the college's chapter of Psi Chi and has served as its advisor since inception. Always involved with students, he also was instrumental in the founding of the school's chapter of Phi Eta Sigma (National Freshman Honor Society) in 1986, and still serves as its advisor. Dr. Spencer's research has focused on the history of the psychology department at WVSC, resulting in several professional presentations and a book, Recollections and Reflections: A History of the West Virginia State College Psychology Department, 1892-1992. Among his other research interests are parapsychology and animal behavior.
Dr. Spencer's hobbies include juggling (which he incorporates into many of his classes), chess, and collectibles.
Michael Hall, PhD, has been an assistant professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas since the fall of 1998. He graduated summa cum laude with a BS degree from the University of New Mexico, and earned his MA and PhD degrees in experimental psychology from the State University of New York at Binghamton. He also accepted a postdoctoral research position in speech and hearing sciences at the University of Washington before moving to his current position in psychology at UNLV. His primary teaching areas are in sensation and perception, research methods, and cognitive psychology. A trained psychoacoustician, his research focuses on understanding how information is integrated in the identification of common auditory events (such as speech or musical sounds), and often examines the bases for auditory illusions. He is actively involved each term in the training of several undergraduate and graduate research assistants.
Since the fall of 1999, Professor Hall has served as faculty advisor to the UNLV Psi Chi Chapter and its sister organization, the Psychology Club. He currently is a member of Psi Chi's Western Regional Steering Committee, which coordinates and participates in Psi Chi events at the annual WPA convention, including an annual symposium on careers, student presentation awards, an information exchange session on graduate programs, and advisor meetings about how to increase the benefits to student members.
The primary mission of UNLV's chapter is to provide interested students with information about careers in, or related to, psychology. As an advisor, Professor Hall works with students to develop and execute an array of career-related activities throughout the academic year. These activities include frequent presentations by faculty in the Psychology Department or related departments, as well as by professionals from the local community. The chapter also has sponsored UNLV's subscription to a tier-I psychology journal, has received several tours at local mental health facilities that have led to valuable volunteer opportunities, has sponsored promotional talks for the graduate program, and has been involved in a variety of community service activities (e.g., assisting the local homeless population, holiday visits with terminally ill children in area hospitals, participating in fundraisers to support charitable organizations). Professor Hall feels privileged to be involved with the chapter, particularly since it allows him to work closely with extremely talented and well-motivated students at a seminal time in their careers.