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Undergraduate | Graduate | Postdoctoral | Alumni | Staff | Faculty

Undergraduate Awards

Jum Nunnally Honors Research Award

This award is given each year to a psychology major who has completed the Honors Program. It is given in honor and memory of Professor Jum C. Nunnally, who designed and initiated the Honors Program in the Department of Psychology. This may have been the first Honors Program in the College of Arts and Science, and served as a model for those that developed later in other departments in the college. Nominations for this award are provided by Honors mentors and the winner of the award is determined by the Undergraduate Studies Committee of the Department of Psychology.

2023 Winner: Lauren Radomski

  • Catherine Rast (2022)
  • Nicole Seedarnee (2021)
  • Suemin Chung (2020)
  • Leyao Yu (2019)
  • Katherine Pulliam (2018)
  • Taylor Boothby (2017)
  • Yimin Qui (2016)
  • Alexa Curhan & Quela Royster (2015)
  • Hannah Berg (2014)
  • Michael Geoghegan (2013)
  • Amir Aschner (2012)
  • Lindsey Gilling McIntosh (2011)
  • Andrea Kirby (2010)
  • Kara Brooke Grubb (2009)
  • Bjoern Wallander (2008)
  • Madeleine Jackson (2007)
  • Amanda Sigal & Lindsay Miller (2006)       
  • Aaron Aday & Vanessa Mullen (2005)
  • Danielle Grignon & Suzanna Manrique (2004)
  • Emily Drabant (2003)
  • Rizwan Akhtar & Kate Dickinson (2000)
  • Lauren Boydston (1999)
  • Jeffrey Darst (1998)
  • Rebecca Danylchak (1997)
  • Brian Hittle (1996)
  • Amy Ihrig (1995)
  • Matthew Heisler (1994)
  • Frank Tu (1993)
  • Andrew Palmer (1992)
  • Eric Strand (1991)
  • Melissa Van Horn (1990)
  • Jett Pihakis (1989)

Undergraduate Academic Achievement Award

This award is given to the graduating psychology major with the highest GPA in the major and highest overall GPA. The winner of this award is determined by the Director of Undergraduate Studies based on the official transcript of all psychology majors. When there are multiple students who could be considered as having achieved this goal, the Undergraduate Studies Committee will choose the winner based on the academic rigor of the coursework completed and quality points earned at Vanderbilt.

2023 Winner: Ke (Taylor) Lai
2022 Winner: Alexandra Paulina Dulman

Undergraduate Overall Excellence Award

This award is given to an undergraduate student in psychology who achieved an exemplary degree of success in academics, research, teaching, and/or other domains at Vanderbilt University. Students must be nominated by a faculty member in the Department of Psychology. Nomination letters, which can be submitted by any faculty member in the department, should describe the most impressive accomplishments the student has made in their psychology studies while at Vanderbilt. Award winners are determined by the Undergraduate Studies Committee of the Department of Psychology.

2023 Winner: Maggie Xu
2022 Winner: Julia Rose Pines

Graduate Awards

Jum Nunnally Dissertation Award

The Jum C. Nunnally Dissertation Award recognizes a recent outstanding doctoral dissertation in the Department of Psychology. The recipient receives a certificate and a $500 award.

Jum C. Nunnally came to Vanderbilt in 1960. In 1961, he became the second chair of the department. He served as chair from 1961-1964 and again from 1967-1970. Under Jum’s leadership, the department grew substantially in stature, including significant increases in both the number and quality of the faculty. A memorial fund to support student awards was established in 1982 by his friends and family. Proceeds from this fund were used to establish the Jum C. Nunnally Dissertation Award in 2010.

2023 Winner: Jacob Westerberg

  • Hojin Jang & Lenie Torregrossa (2022)
  • Megan Ichinose (2020)
  • Michele Cox (2019)
  • Sonia Poltoratski (2018)
  • Rob Reinhart (2017)
  • Braden Purcell (2014)
  • Mary Baldwin & Katy Thakkar (2012)
  • Michael Mack (2011)
  • Peiyan Wong & Jennifer Richler (2010)

Pat Burns Memorial Graduate Student Research Award

Pat Burns touched generations of doctoral students during her nearly four decades of service to Vanderbilt University. In memory of her tireless efforts to help guide our students through all phases of their graduate education, the Department of Psychology establishes a Graduate Student Research Award to recognize outstanding achievement in research by our most outstanding graduate students. The recipient receives a plaque and a $500 award.

2023 Winners: Saman Abbaspoor and Jason Chow

  • Phillip Newman (2022)
  • Kelly Knowles (2021)
  • Jacob Westerberg (2020)
  • Rebecca Cox (2019)
  • Mackenzie Sunday (2018)
  • Kacie Dougherty (2017)
  • Michele Cox (2016)
  • Rob Reinhart (2015)
  • Pooja Balaram (2014)
  • Braden Purcell (2013)
  • Michael Treadway (2012)
  • Rankin Williams McGugin & Thomas Armstrong (2011)
  • Katy Thakkar (2010)
  • Peiyan Wong & Stephenie Harrison (2009)
  • Michael Mack & Jennifer Richler (2008)
  • Darryl Schneider (2007)

William F. Hodges Teaching Assistant Award

This award recognizes outstanding achievement as a teaching assistant by a graduate student in the Department of Psychology. William Hodges was an undergraduate and a graduate student at Vanderbilt who received his doctorate in 1967. He subsequently went to the University of Colorado where he ultimately became a full professor and director of graduate studies. He was well known for his research on the psychological impact of divorce, but he was also recognized as a great teacher. After his untimely death in 1992, family and friends established the William F. Hodges Teaching Assistant Award at Vanderbilt to honor outstanding teaching assistants.

2022 Winner: Saman Abbaspoor

  • Ting-Yun Chang (2021)
  • Michael Budianto (2020)
  • HyeonSeung Lee (2020)
  • Jisoo Sun (2020)
  • Steven Errington (2019)
  • Jonathan Parillko (2018)
  • Jennifer Coppola (2017)
  • Taha Bilge (2016)
  • May Shen & Yao Jiang (2015)
  • Pooja Balaram (2014)
  • Doug Godwin (2013)
  • Neal Morton (2012)
  • Rebecca St. Clair (2011)
  • Mary Baldwin & Phil Ko (2010)
  • Christine Cerkevich & Daryl Fougnie (2009)
  • Peiyan Wong (2008)
  • Michael Mack (2007)
  • Darryl Schneider (2006)
  • Lisa de la Mothe & Jinghua Xiong (2005)
  • Kerstin Blomquist, Chai-Youn Kim, & Bjoern Rump (2004)
  • Kim Curby & Bradley Folley (2003)
  • Sabine Schmid & Duje Tadin (2002)
  • Emily Grossman (2001)
  • Marci Flanery & Sang-Hun Lee (2000)
  • Carol Bilbrey (1999)
  • Hilary Taub (1998)
  • Jonathan Stadler (1997)
  • Amy Shelton (1996)
  • Preston Bost (1995)

Lisa M. Quesenberry Foundation Award

The Lisa M. Quesenberry Foundation Award, at the Community Foundation of Louisville, was established by Irvin and Mary Ann Quesenberry and Kathryn Quesenberry to memorialize the accomplishments of their daughter and sister, Lisa M. Quesenberry. It is designed to provide research or study awards to motivated graduate students. Preferably, the awards will be made to female graduate students who are studying the field of psychology and who have overcome significant personal challenges to pursue their education.


2022 Winners: Katrina Rbeiz and Evgeniia Diacheck
2019 Winner: Pietra Bruni

  • Rebecca Cutler (2018)
  • Lénie Torregrossa (2017)
  • May Shen (2016)
  • Jennifer Coppola (2015)
  • Laura Hieber (2014)
  • Kacie Dougherty (2013)
  • Pooja Balaram (2012)
  • Melonie Williams (2011)
  • Stephenie Harrison (2010)
  • Christina Cerkevich (2009)
  • Hilda Fehd (2008)
  • Rankin Williams (2007)
  • Kerstin Blomquist (2006)
  • Cathryn Freid & Kim Curby (2005)
  • Julia High (2004)
  • Monica Franklin (2003)
  • Emily Grossman (2002)
  • Marci Flanery (2001)
  • Jinghua Xiong (2000)
  • Carol Bilbrey (1999)
  • Jeanine Miller (1998)
  • Laurel Brown (1997)
  • Dorothy Tucker (1996)

Department of Psychology Topping Up Award

The Department of Psychology Topping Up Award is awarded to new incoming graduate students to recognize their outstanding academic record. The amount awarded and the length of the award are variable.

  • Josh McCluey (2013)
  • Kacie Dougherty (2012)
  • Kaitlin Ryan (2012)
  • Hyunyoung Park (2011)
  • Dan Miller (2011)

Vivien Casagrande Neuroscience Travel Award

In recognition of outstanding research by a graduate student or postdoctoral scholar. This award honors the outstanding scientific achievements of Professor Casagrande and her dedication to the career of young scientists at the graduate and postdoctoral stages of their career. This was award was established in 2017.

2023: no award
2022 Award Winner
: Jennifer Zachary

  • Leighton Durham (2021)
  • Gabriella DiCarlo (2019)
  • Jacob Westerberg (2018)
  • Jocelyn Sy (2017)

Postdoctoral Awards

Bob Fox Award of Excellence in Postdoctoral Research

This award, which is granted to a postdoctoral fellow in our department who has demonstrated outstanding achievement in research, is named in honor of Robert “Bob” Fox for his essential role in guiding the evolution of Vanderbilt’s psychology department over a five-decade period starting in the mid-60’s.

Bob enjoyed a highly productive research career, with publications in major journals and continuous grant funding for decades, and he trained a number of students and postdoctoral students who went on to successful careers themselves. Bob has served as an inspiration to generations of subsequent faculty members. This award not only serves as a humble note of appreciation for Bob’s numerous accomplishments, it also acknowledges the critical role that postdoctoral fellows play in the scientific vibrancy of our department. Postdocs are not only highly skilled, accomplished and dedicated young scientists, they also are reference models for our graduate students and are the first to represent Vanderbilt at the next academic level. The award, established in 2014, is accompanied with a $500 check and a certificate.

2023 Award Winner: Sisi Wang

  • Oakyoon Cha (2021)
  • Amirsaman Sajad (2020)
  • Kacie Dougherty (2019)
  • Mathieu Servant (2018)
  • Kevin Dieter (2017)
  • Keisuke Fukuda (2016)
  • Josh Cosman & Jennifer Richler (2015)
  • Michael Pratte (2014)

Alumni Awards

Distinguished Alumnus Award

To recognize and honor the distinguished psychological sciences alumni, we have established the Distinguished Alumnus Lecture. The recipient is a former undergraduate, graduate student, or postdoctoral fellow from the Department of Psychology in the College of Arts and Science or the Department of Psychology and Human Development in Peabody College at Vanderbilt who has made major contributions to the psychological sciences. The recipient receives a $500 award and will be invited to give the Distinguish Alumnus Lecture.


2023 Award Winner: Jenn Richler
2021 Award Winner: Ken Catania

  • Barton Anderson (2020)
  • Duje Tadin (2019)
  • Steve Manuck (2013)
  • Mriganka Sur (2012) 
  • Leah Krubitzer (2010)
  • Bob Levenson (2009)
  • Nicki Crick (2008)
  • Randolph Blake (2007)

Randolph Blake Early Career Award

The Randolph Blake Early Career Award recognized exemplary alumni of our program in the early stages of their career. The recipient receives a plaque, a $500 award, and an invitation to give a research colloquium at Vanderbilt. The nominee must have been an undergraduate, graduate student or postdoc. This award honors Randolph Blake as a distinguished Vanderbilt alumnus, as an outstanding researcher and mentor, and as a former chair of the Department of Psychology who served in that role during some of the most important years of its growth.

2023 Award Winner: Kate Humphreys
2021 Award Winner:
Michael Mack
2020 Award Winner: Michael Treadway

  • Gregory Samanez-Larkin (2019)
  • Janneke Jehee (2018)
  • Frederick Verbruggen (2014)
  • Xiangmin Xu (2013)
  • Paul Dux (2012)
  • Gabriel Dichter (2011)
  • Emmy Grossman (2010)
  • David Lyon (2009)
  • Tom James (2008)
  • Sang-Hun Lee (2007)

Staff Awards

Trisha James Outstanding Staff Award

In recognition of outstanding performance by a departmental staff member. This award honors the exceptional contributions of Trisha James to the Department of Psychology. For more than 20 years, Trisha exhibited the utmost integrity, intelligence, compassion, leadership, dedication and hard work to her various positions in the business office of the department. She set an exemplary standard for all of the department’s staff members. This was award was established in 2016.

2023 Award Winner: Savannah Crutchfield

  • Bianca Castellon (2022)
  • Beth Clark (2021)
  • Michelle Schall (2020)
  • Angel Gaither (2019)
  • Jerry Hager (2018)
  • Mary Feurtado (2017) 

Faculty Awards

Psychology Department Award for Innovation in Teaching: Instruction and Course Design.

This award recognizes a faculty member (continuing track, tenure track, or tenured) in the Psychology Department in the College of Arts and Science who models intellectual risk-taking for their (undergraduate and/or graduate) students by effectively employing creative approaches in course design or innovative pedagogical practices. This award was established in 2024.