Participant News

How are participants from the SMEP-QTUG* conferences doing?

*From 2004 to 2006, we had the name Society of Multivariate Experimental Psychology (SMEP) Minority Student Conference. Beginning in 2007, we changed our name to Quantitative Training for Underrepresented Groups (QTUG) to reflect our broader focus and support base. The project was funded by the National Science Foundation (2008 through 2010 with no cost extensions for 2011 and 2012), with additional support from APA, SMEP, Taylor & Francis and other donors.

 Please send us your own updates so that we can post them here. 

Thanks to all of you for your participation and interest over the years:

2004: Morehouse College, Atlanta, GA

2005: Howard University, Washington DC

2006: Southern University, Baton Rouge, LA

2007: University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA

2008: Northeastern University, Boston, MA

2009: Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

2010: University of San Diego, San Diego, CA

2011: Howard University, Washington, DC

2012: University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL

Jalen Alexander (QTUG  2011) I wanted to send you an update on things here at Wesleyan. As you know, I'm a senior, and will be graduating in a few months! I'll be completing degrees in both Psychology and Sociology. Next year I plan on returning to Wesleyan to complete the 5th year Masters program in Psychology. I will also be instructing one of the Applied Data Analysis courses in the fall through the Quantitative Analysis Center. While completing my masters thesis I plan on serving as a graduate fellow in the Office of Equity and Inclusion here at Wesleyan. Before the end of this semester I hope to have my first published research article! I've been working on a paper using Latent Class Analysis in hopes to identify typologies within a population of participants with a high risk of contracting HIV and other STIs. The goal is to be able to better inform intervention strategies in the field based on sexual network characteristics. 

Amyn Abduk-Khaliq (QTUG 2007) graduated from Fayetteville State University with an M.A. in Experimental Psychology. His Thesis:  "The role of perceived consensus in reactance" (January 1, 2008).ETD Collection for Fayetteville State University. Paper AAI1484511. 

He is the second author of a published paper (African American's political attitudes, party affiliation, and voting behavior)  Journal of African American Studies (2009) 13: 139-146, April 03, 2009 By  Wallace, David S.Abduk-Khaliq, AmynCzuchry, MichaelSia, Tiffiny Lee

Great news!


A. Nayena Blankson (SMEP-QTUG 2005) earned her Ph.D. from the University of Southern California. Dr. Blankson then spent two years as a Post-Doctoral Research Associate  at the Family Research Center in the Department of Human Development & Family Studies at The University of North Carolina, Greensboro. She is now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at Spelman College. Dr. Blankson was a featured speaker at the 2008 QTUG at Northeastern University in Boston, and again at the 2009 QTUG meeting in Toronto. She presented at Howard in 2011 and at UCF in 2012. Yay for Nayena!


Dr. Keisha Bentley-Edwards (QTUG 2006) is now an Assistant Professor (Area II Human Development and Culture) in the Department of Educational Psychology, School of Education, University of Texas at Austin. Her academic interests include: Resiliency in African American adolescents; racial socialization; class and upward mobility; racism and development/well being; altruism and community investment. Her research examines the processes by which young people understand their cultural selves and how this meaning making influences relationships, academic achievement, well-being and a sense of social responsibility. I have a strong belief that research should provide the theoretical framework and empirical evidence to guide practice and intervention. Using an action-research approach, I explore resiliency and cultural competence in the context of 1) the processes of racial socialization, 2) community vs. individual investment in the Black community, 3) risk and protective factors in coping with racism, 4) academic and social outcomes and 5) class and upward mobility.

Melissa Rena Boone (QTUG 2009) is now a National Science Foundation (NSF) Research Fellow. She won the NSF Award in April 2010, partly because of the statistical concepts she learned at QTUG and was able to weave into her proposal. Way to go, Melissa!

Steve Brown (QTUG 2004, 2006) received his PhD in 2007 from Fuller Theological Seminary. His first article (A Particular Peace: Psychometric Properties of the Just Peacemaking Inventory) was published this year in the APA Peace and Conflict Journal. A second article (Sacred Violation, Perceptions of Injustice, and Anger in Muslims) was recently accepted for publication in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology. Currently, Steve is studying to take the Examination for Professional Practice in Psychology. Three cheers, Steve!


Janice Cheng (QTUG, 2008) presented her paper at the 2009  APA Annual Convention to Division 45: Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues, on " Reconsidering the Existing Model for Depression Classification for Hmong  Immigrants". Great job!

Shannon Chiles (QTUG 2012) will be presenting, "Effect of Breast Cancer Treatment on Employment" at the 2013 APA convention.

Stephanie Cook (QTUG 2009) Update (2014) Stephanie Cook, DrPH, MPH

Postdoctoral Research Fellow
, University of Michigan,
Health Behavior Health Education Department, School of Public Health
Department of Psychology, College of Literature, Sciences, & Arts

Ellen-ge Denton (QTUG, 2004) completed her doctoral degree in School Psychology at St. John’s University. Her clinical experience includes applying Cognitive Behavioral Therapies to children, adolescents, families, and psychiatric inpatients. Ellen has also mentored inner city youth through local church groups, and has arranged and chaperoned college tours, advised youth in spiritual and academic council, and tutored in statistics. She gave an inspiring presentation at the 2009 QTUG meeting. Ellen is currently working as an Associate Psychologist (Post Doc), at the Center for Behavior and Cardiovascular Health, in the Department of Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center. Specifically, She is a NHLBI Postdoctoral Diversity Supplement (PDS) Awardee, funded to investigate the mechanisms by which patients with the neurotic depressed phenotype are protected from Major Adverse Cardiac Event/All-Cause Mortality, and supported by parent grant P01 HL088117, entitled “Depression, Biobehavioral Mechanisms, & CHD/Mortality Outcomes." In the Summer of 2011, she became a PRIDE Scholar, completing the Columbia Summer Research Institute. She will also receive ongoing mentorship and grantsmanship training until 2013, with the goal of NIH grant submission in 2012. Ellen will continue research methods and data analytic training Fall 2011, as she has been accepted to the Clinical Research Methods Track, MS Degree in Biostatistics. Incredible work!

Sabrina E. Des Rosiers, Ph.D. (QTUG 2006) is currently working as a post-doctoral research fellow at the Center for Family Studies, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Miami Miller Medical School.

Nedra H. Francis (QTUG 2007) presented at the APA 116th Annual Convention (Boston, 2008). Nedra is also the co-author of a paper published in the Texas Public Health Association Journal. Superb!

Dr. Juana Danae Gatson (QTUG 2010) received her PhD from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2011. Her dissertation was titled: Racial Socialization, Racial Discrimination and Mental Health among African American Parents. Dissertation Description:  My dissertation explored how messages we communicate to children about race effect how they respond as adults to experiences of racial discrimination, including their emotional reactions and coping strategies for dealing with those experiences.

Tamika D. Gilreath (QTUG 2005, 2006, 2007) earned her Ph.D. from the Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Gilreath served for two years as a National Institute on Drug Abuse Postdoctoral Fellow for the Consultation Center, Division of Prevention and Community Research, Department of Psychiatry at the Yale University School of Medicine. Dr. Gilreath is now a tenure-track faculty in the School of Social Work at the University of Southern California and has given two inspiring presentations at QTUG. Wow, Tamika!

Angela D. Glymph (QTUG 2005) recently completed her Ph.D. Great news!

Georges Han (QTUG 2004) is the co-author of a paper that will be published in Developmental Psychology. He studied the association between cortisol and aggression. Wow!

Paul R. Hernandez [QTUG 2010] (Ph.D., 2011, University of Connecticut) received his doctoral degree in Educational Psychology – Measurement, Evaluation, and Assessment. He is a postdoctoral research fellow in the School of Education and The STEM Center at Colorado State University and an affiliate faculty member in the Department of Psychology. The theme that runs throughout his research agenda is a focus on maximizing the potential and impact of psychological science through the application and advancement of sophisticated quantitative methods.  His dissertation addressed the underuse of appropriate multivariate statistical methods in meta-analysis by comparing traditional multivariate meta-analytic regression to a novel multivariate extension of SEM based meta-analysis. As a postdoctoral fellow, he is investigating applications of longitudinal models to advanced theory concerning the mediating role of psychological processes (e.g., motivation and social influences) in the academic persistence of underrepresented minority students in STEM disciplines. His current research projects include: a longitudinal quasi-experimental evaluation of a national science training program aimed at broadening participation in STEM; an investigation of psychometric methods of modeling science mentor-mentee relationship quality; and scale development for measuring STEM content connections across science, engineering, and mathematics. In addition to his research, Dr. Hernandez teaches graduate level statistics courses (e.g., HLM) in both the School of Education and the Department of Psychology at Colorado State University.

Pascal Jean-Pierre (QTUG 2005) earned his Ph.D. in 2005 from the University of Rhode Island. Dr. Jean-Pierre is now an Assistant Professor o f Pediatrics at the Miami Miller School of Medicine in Florida where he just received an official Gubernatorial letter of appointment as a member of the Florida Cancer Control and Research Advisory Council. Pascal will advise the Governor, the state legislature and state agencies on cancer control issues.  Incredible honor!

Deborah Laurin-Linares (QTUG 2010)  recently completed a master's in psychology at CSU Los Angeles last fall and will be starting a doctoral program in community health at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign this fall. I am so grateful for the wonderful experience that I had last year at QTUG! It was such a great and unique opportunity to learn about different quantitative methods and statistical approaches which has been very beneficial to my research. 

Erica Lizano (QTUG 2010) Last year I was fortunate enough to attend QTUG in San Diego and the experience was truly incredible. The exposure to quantitative methods that I received was excellent and truly motivated me to continue my quantitative research. I was able to attend statistics camp in Kansas just last week and took a longitudinal SEM class with Dr. Little. The level of training and the supportive learning environment that Dr. Little and his students provided was truly exemplary. I want to thank you and SMEP for providing me the opportunity to attend the course and facilitating the process through the funding as part of the minority fellowship program. Aside from the rich material and quantitative training that I was exposed to, I was able to meet a number of future colleagues that I hope to collaborate with in my research and as I progress in my academic career.

Donald E. Knight (QTUG 2009) "Just wanted to share that I plan to attend APA this summer, as I am treating myself to a vacation - especially after having completed the Ph.D. at Western Michigan University, under the guidance of Dr. Lonnie Duncan! I am currently adjunct teaching at the University of Maryland Baltimore County and doing therapy in DC at Re-New Psychological Services."

Jesse Mason (QTUG 2005) completed his Ph.D.  and has a faculty position at St. Catherine's College in St. Paul, MN. Great job!

Tabitha McKinley (QTUG 2006, 2007) completed her PhD with Deborah Bandalos at the University of Georgia in 2010!

Tanya Nichols (QTUG 2005) "It's been a while since I attended what was SMEP 4 years ago just after I graduated with my master's degree. I really learned a lot, and I'll never forget Dr. Byrne's lecture and getting a signed copy of her book and meeting you and Dr. Eber. I presented my master's thesis at SMEP and 4 years later, I'm proud to say that after getting feedback from the SMEP conference attendees and a one revise and resubmit, I have my first first-authored publication (in the Journal of Black Psychology).  I'm also really grateful for the new QTUG website and facebook page that listed some resources that I have recently pursued such as presenting for the first time at the Diversity Challenge at B.C. and passing on some opportunities to others. Now that I am in my PhD program in Clinical Psychology at the University of Virginia and will be embarking on my 4th year, I will attend SMEP again [QTUG 2011] and learn some additonal statistical techniques since I'm considering a research career. I would love to present some of the work from my research lab here at UVa and make some new professional connections." Great update!

Kendra Northington (QTUG 2010, 2012) ..."I will be heading off to graduate school this fall to get my Master’s in Counseling Psychology at George Washington University in DC. ... . I know I couldn’t have made it to grad school without QTUG."

Elizabeth Oliva (QTUG 2009) "now for my “quick update” lol I graduated in 2009 with my PhD in Developmental Psychopathology and Clinical Science from the University of Minnesota. I did my clinical psychology internship from 2008-2009 at UCSD/San Diego VA and was offered a tenure track position at Sonoma State while on internship (my husband had his dream job in the San Francisco bay area so I was geographically restricted; there were only 3 positions that year in the area and the Stanford position went to a woman from my grad school lab who was a few years ahead of me; so not too bad considering the crazy job market and getting a job offer without a post-doc). Anyway, my mentors from the VA—where I did my post-undergrad research before grad school—created a position for me at the Palo Alto VA because they were worried about me feeling desperate and wanted to make sure I had the opportunity to continue doing research (which would’ve been VERY DIFFICULT with a 4-4 teaching load).
I took their offer and have been here since, working for the VA Office of Mental Health Operations’ VA Program Evaluation and Resource Center (responsible for evaluating and supporting implementation of mental health policy)J Most of my initial work focused on data analysis of national substance use disorder data (SMEP training came in VERY handy and I referred to the books I received from the conferences quite frequentlyJ) but for the past few years I have become the VA expert in Opioid Overdose Education and Naloxone Distribution (OEND), serving as the VA National OEND Coordinator. OEND is a life-saving intervention that provides laypersons/patients with OEND training and naloxone kits to reverse opioid overdose. I supported the initial VA OEND pilot programs and since January 2014 have chaired the VA OEND National Support & Development Workgroup. We developed a national program in Spring 2014 and have dispensed almost 19,000 kits to Veterans nationwide and have over 172 reported opioid overdose reversals! I have even been invited to speak to the FDA about our program. While coordinating this national program (developing patient training materials [including in Spanish!], accredited provider education, national SharePoint, “How to” YouTube videos, etc.) I also got my first PI grant—VA equivalent of an R03—in Spring 2014 and have another grant under review—VA equivalent of an R01—to evaluate the program. So, I’m trying my best to keep up with research, but it’s definitely challenging and I definitely think I could be doing more. But, despite feeling like a research failure at times, I was just invited (and accepted) to be an Associate Editor of the journal Substance Abuse—which is a nice fit with my interests and background.
A few other highlights from the past 7 years:
·         I created a Junior Investigator group for our research center
o   Focused on supporting early career researchers (e.g., topics included funding mechanisms for junior investigators, negotiation [had a bunch of folks who were getting job offers] etc.)
·         I started an annual Research Assistant conference for our research center (in combination with the National Center for PTSD’s Dissemination division and the VA Health Economics Resource Center)
o   Provided our RAs an opportunity to present their research contributions, to create a sense of community and to provide a forum to share best practices (since it’s really the RAs who drive research or get it doneJ)
·        I was the Executive Director of our research center for 1 year
o   Surveyed staff to identify their needs and addressed them throughout the course of the year (e.g., organized sessions on mixed methods; workshops on qualitative methods)
·         I was the Co-Leader for the VA Substance Use Disorders Quality Enhancement Research Initiative’s Specialty Care Workgroup
·         I had a son who is now 3 and a half!
o   Last but not least! He’s the best!

Okay, sorry for the incredibly long email! But thanks again for all of your support—your program really has made a difference and it is an honor to have been a part of it!"

Marva Robinson (QTUG 2004, 2004) earned her Psy.D in 2008 from Nova University. She was hired for a position in her hometown of St, Louis, MO. Super!

Anika E. Sandy-Hanson (QTUG 2005) earned her Ph.D. from Howard University and is now working in the Office of the Director of Teacher Education at the Howard University School of Education. Wonderful!

Marimer Santiago-Rivas (QTUG 2005) has a PhD (to be awarded Dec. 2012) from the University of Rhode Island. Marimer  was the QTUG Assistant and Webmaster from 2008 - 2010. Her career includes being recipient of the URI-Minority Fellowship and a mini-grant, being a teaching assistant and an instructor for undergraduate and graduate courses, and a research assistant at the Cancer Prevention Research Center (URI), where she worked with Dr. Wayne F. Velicer. Her primary research interests include the application of multivariate statistics for the study of health promotion, disease prevention, and the enhancement of the academic careers of minority groups in science. She has also co-authored several peer-reviewed articles, and presented at national and international conferences regarding these topics.  She also served as a Psychology Instructor at Rhode Island College. Three cheers!

Susan Troncoso Skidmore (QTUG 2010) Brief update (2014): Currently I am Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at Sam Houston State University, going into my 5th year. I am teaching the research method doctoral course sequence (Research Methods, Univariate Stat, Multivariate Stat). I have attended numerous workshops since QTUG. Most recently I attended the MLM workshop by Patrick Curran and Dan Bauer in June. Last summer I attended the complex survey design workshop with Laura Stapleton. Both were absolutely wonderful. I want to return to take some of the other great workshops they offer.

Peter Noonan Squire (QTUG 2008, 2009) finished his PhD from George Mason University. Congratulations, Peter!

Michael Stanton (QTUG 2009) at this point is a 5th year Clinical Psychology student in the Behavioral Medicine track at Duke University. He is currently applying for pre-doctoral internships, and has defended his prelims and dissertation proposal. Using a pre-collected dataset, he will analyze and write-up his dissertation. He is looking forward to a research and clinical career.

Jesse Steinfeldt (QTUG 2005) completed his Ph.D. and is now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Counseling and Educational Psychology at Indiana University- Bloomington. Superb work!

Jasmine Tilghman (QTUG 2012) has successfully defended her dissertation proposal titled "Culturally Validating Hardiness with Black Students:  A Mixed Methods Study." She is in the data collection stage and plans to analyze the data late summer/early fall.  Her  plan is to use Confirmatory factor analysis, latent profile analysis, and multiple regression for the quantitative portion of her study.

Lovey Walker (QTUG 2012) is on the convention planning committee for AAPA (Asian American Psychological Association) and will be attending this conference prior to APA in Honolulu. At APA I will be serving as a volunteer for the CE programming. Brief update: Just presented  findings from my research project at the Society for Research on Identity Formation (SRIF) conference in St. Paul, Minnesota. The title of my presentation was: Integration within an identity domain: Measurement invariance and the multigroup ethnic identity measure among mixed ancestry samples. I am also just starting work at a local hospital (Gillette Specialty Clinic) in St. Paul, MN as a practicum student.

 Please send us your own updates so that we can post them here. Thanks to all of you for your participation and interest over the years.

  QTUG Students & Faculty University of San Diego 2010

                    QTUG Students & Faculty Howard University
                                          Washington, D C 2011