Monthly Archives: November 2017

Alvin’s Masters Thesis Proposal Presentation

Alvin presentation photoRecently, first year graduate lab member Alvin presented his Masters thesis proposal. Alvin is interested in examining the impact of failure and achievement experiences, and how such experiences related to both positive and negative outcomes. Positive outcomes of interest include growth and wisdom, while negative outcomes include learned helplessness and fear of failure. He is also interested in examining if variables such as resiliency and rumination might influence the relationship between experiences and outcomes. Alvin hopes to test his hypotheses in a sample of undergraduate students as this research may be particularly beneficial to them. He hopes to use this information to help individuals who have experienced failure by motivating them to improve their goal setting strategies, while also demonstrating that outcomes of failure are not always negative, and may involve positive changes as well. In the future, Alvin would like to expand his research to broader samples in order to increase the generalizability of the findings. This research has the potential to impact intervention and therapy programs, and Alvin hopes to translate this research to his own practice in the future as a clinical psychologist.

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Congratulations to Whitney Dominick for Provost Student Research Award

Girl_playing_with_Bottlenose_Dolphin_Tursiops_TruncatusCongratulations to Whitney Dominick who received the Provost Student Research Award!

She designed her study for her doctoral dissertation, entitled “Psychological Growth, distress, and educational impact of dolphins and dolphin-assisted therapy in children”. The purpose of Whitney’s study is to examine the efficacy of dolphin assisted therapy by interviewing children. Data collection for this study will begin in 2018 in Hawaii and Florida!

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Congratulations to Jenna Duronio for Provost Student Research Award

HIS website postCongratulations to Jenna Duronio who received the Provost Student Research Award!

She designed her study for her honors independent research project, entitled “Exploring Military Experiences: Clarifying the Relation Between Resiliency and Posttraumatic Growth”. The purpose of Jenna’s study is primarily to examine the relation between resiliency and posttraumatic growth, as well as many related variables such as coping and social support in a sample of military personnel. An additional key purpose of the study is to compare two resiliency assessments in order to add clarity to the understanding of this construct and promote consistency in measurement. Data collection for this study has begun, and we are all eager to see the results!

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Congratulations to Jessica Kopitz for Provost Student Research Award.

Jess master's thesis proposal website picCongratulations to Jess Kopitz who received the Provost Student Research Award! Her project title is “Redefining negative personality traits and coping techniques after impacts of stress and trauma in veterans.”

First year graduate lab member, Jess, recently presented her master’s thesis proposal. In her research, Jess is focusing on redefining negative personality traits and behaviors as helpful in coping with trauma. In her review of the literature she discussed the link between maladaptive coping and negative personality traits following trauma, and demonstrated that traditionally deemed negative personality traits occur on a spectrum, and thus should not necessarily be classified as positive or negative. Therefore, the overarching purposes of Jess’s master’s thesis research are to demonstrate links between “negative” personality traits, maladaptive coping, and trauma, as well as to uncover positive implications of such occurrences in order to work toward redefining and de-pathologizing negative personality traits and maladaptive coping. Currently, she is working on conducting interviews with veterans who have been exposed to combat while on deployment because veterans in particular have the potential to benefit greatly from this research. If you know of someone who fits this description, and who may be interested in participating in this valuable research, please have them contact Jess Kopitz at

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The Shelby Jane Seyburn Foundation Fundraiser Event

Shelby Jane Seyburn FoundationOn Friday, November 3rd Dr. Taku, Jenna, and Lauren attended a fundraiser event at the ZiFiT Birmingham Executive Club to kick-off The Shelby Jane Seyburn Foundation. The mission of this foundation is to fund travel to psychology conferences for undergraduate and graduate students, support the PTG Lab’s Teen Parent Initiative, as well as to provide grants to further research regarding Posttraumatic Growth.

All who attended this event received T-shirts, wrist bands, and towels and were able to participate in multiple 20-minute fitness classes including boxing, cycling, yoga and more. This was a great way to start the program as Shelby was very passionate about fitness and health. In addition to psychology, Shelby studied nutrition and was known to wake up extremely early every morning to participate in rigorous workouts–sometimes even twice a day! ZiFiT had many workout videos of Shelby that were displayed on monitors throughout the facility, which served as a great motivator and example.

Shelby was an incredible individual with a great passion for helping others, and her research in the PTG Lab aimed to do just that. Shelby conducted many research projects in the lab examining PTG, resiliency, and social support, attended many conferences, published articles, and began the Teen Parent Initiative in order to assist teen parents in Pontiac, Michigan. Shelby’s family, friends, and the PTG lab are working hard to keep Shelby’s work and passions alive by continuing her projects and promoting this foundation in her honor and memory.

Donations may be made to the Shelby Jane Seyburn Foundation by following this link.

On November 3rd, together, we raised $4,605.00 for the Shelby Jane Seyburn Foundation! Shelby has been and always will be here to help OU students successful and help us conduct important research!

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