Departmental Honors

Wheaton College and the Psychology Department recognize and honor students who have excelled academically and experientially and who demonstrate promise in the field at Honors Convocation in their senior year. Additionally, students have the opportunity to pursue an honors thesis to work closely with a Wheaton faculty member and investigate topics of interest. The Psychology Department is a chapter of Psi Chi, the National Undergraduate Honor Society of Psychology, and inducts students who have completed the required course work and have demonstrated academic excellence in the major/minor.’

Ryan and Chloe’s Award

The David M. Wulff Prize in Psychology was established in the year 2012 by the Psychology Department to honor Professor David M. Wulff, Professor of Psychology from 1969-2012. This prize is awarded to the student(s) who has achieved the highest grade point average among all senior psychology majors and, in doing so, has demonstrated great potential for future work in the field.

Honors Thesis

Interested students should meet with their major advisors to discuss their desire to do a thesis. The department invites applicants for theses in the student’s junior year. In order to be considered for departmental theses, a students must have an overall GPA of 3.3 and a psychology GPA of 3.3 and complete a two semester honors thesis with a grade of at least B+. If you are accepted to do an Honors Thesis, you would enroll for two semesters of Psychology 500 (Individual Research Thesis) beginning in either the second semester of junior year or the first semester of senior year.

At end of your project, a committee of three (advisor, another member of psychology department and a faculty member outside the psychology department) will read your written thesis and attend a presentation in which you will describe your thesis answer questions about your work.

The following are some examples of recent Honors Theses by Psychology students:


  • Keaney, Christine V. Mental Disorders in College: A Qualitative Study of Lived Experience.
  • Callanan, Rachel. Who is to Blame?: Responsibility Attributions for the Current State of the Economy.
  • Fahey, Kristen. Symbolic Play and Pre-Literacy Development in Preschool Children.
  • Donahue, Joseph. The Modern Man: Exploring Body Image in College-Aged Males.


  • Carmody, Julia Kerins. Stress in Adolescents with Acquired Brain Injury: An Exploratory Study.
  • Moulton, Rachel. The Experience of Asexual Identity: A Q-Methodological Study.
  • Webb, Jessica Noelle. Long-term Effects of Stimulant Drug Therapies on College-Aged Students with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder.
  • Meisner, Jessica. Effects of Gender Stereotyped Children’s Literature on Pre-School Children’s Attitudes.


  • Perkins, Seth. Personality and Music: An Examination of the Five-Factor Model in Conjunction with Musical Preference.
  • Bosk, Abigail. Mating Induced Fos in Forebrain Neurons of Female Mice.
  • Skiba, Thomas. Students with Dyslexia in Higher Education: A Grounded Theory Approach.
  • Diaz, Jose. Names without Faces: The Interplay between Self-disclosure, Culture, and the Internet.


  • Rusczek, Jacob R. The five-factor model of personality: A history and evaluation.
  • Peterson, Dana Nicole. Autism and social images in change blindness.
  • Phinney, Rachael. Muslim Americans and their experiences.
  • Scrimgeour, Meghan. Empathy and aggression: A study of the interplay between empathy and aggression in preschoolers.
  • Wallace, Derron J. R. Dem a bleach out dem skin: An exploratory study of skin bleaching among urban Jamaican youth.
  • Akerman, Sean P. The tortured artist in the age of anxiety.


  • Brais, Elizabeth. Preschoolers aggression: A study of gender schemas and gender-typed behaviors.
  • Maizner, Rose Neily. The female Muslim immigration experience in the United States: A qualitative study.
  • Ganley, Colleen. Student experience of the Math MCAS test: gender, achievement, and grade level.


  • Bresler, Rebecca. Gender differences in the utilization of social support: The influence of social support in the development of depressive outcomes in first-year college students.
  • Harshbarger, Heather Ann. Breaking the silence: A review of the psychological literature on self-mutilation.


  • Mahar, Taylor. Choice or la vida: A transatlantic study in abortion perceptions.
  • Oettinger, Catherine M. A bug crawled inÃ/ £ a bug flied out: An exploration of children’s concepts and scripts of illness.
  • Neale, Kelly Lynn. Assessing health-related quality of life of children treated for brain tumors.
  • Cristiano, Lauren. The effect of cognitive style on individuals responses to infants: Implication for non organic failure to thrive.
  • Gavett, Gretchen. There was nothing there. Nothing: An analysis of the female body, gender, and performance in the space of the prison.


  • Smith, Devon E. Risk and resilience in college students: Different pathways to success in resilient and normative populations.
  • Jones, Jessica R. Gender differences in uses of support in at risk college students: How support influences resilient and vulnerable outcomes during the transition to college.
  • Hagan, Casey. Predictors of college athletes cognitive appraisals in challenging athletic situations.
  • Litner, Lisa. Teaching social skills to children: A proposed investigation of sharing.


  • Gove, Jared Fiske. An exploration of pluralistic ignorance and a subsequent intervention to correct it: Implications for smoking on college campuses.
  • Barents, Jill M. Sex differences in predicting depression: life events and problem-solving skills.

Psi Chi

Psi Chi is the National Honor Society in Psychology. It is an academic organization devoted to “the purposes of encouraging, stimulating, and maintaining excellence in scholarship, and advancing the science of psychology.”* Psi Chi is organized into a collection of chapters in over 1,000 colleges and universities in both the United States and Canada. The benefits of membership into Psi Chi are numerous and include national recognition, a sense of community, opportunities for leadership development and student research, and the eligibility for financial aid in the form of awards, grants, and merit-based scholarships. For more information about Psi Chi see their website

The Psi Chi chapter at Wheaton College was chartered on May 4, 1987, and is currently advised by Professor Rolf Nelson, Ph.D. and Professor Meg Kirkpatrick, Ph.D. Students may be nominated to join Psi Chi in either their junior or senior year at Wheaton.


In order to be considered for selection to Psi Chi at Wheaton, you must:

  1. Be enrolled as a major or minor in a psychology program or a program psychological in nature that is equivalent to a psychology major, this includes psychobiology majors
  2. Have completed at least 6 psychology courses
  3. Have an overall GPA of 3.3 or higher
  4. Have a psychology GPA of 3.5 or higher.

Members of Psi Chi 2015-16

Alicia Alvarez ’16
Avi Anshika ’16
Zachariah Brown ’17
Camille Buffington ’17
Elizabeth Burrill ’16
Lauren Chamberlain ’17
Madison Cohen ’16
Danielle Delagrange ’17
Molly Duda ’16
Brett Fontaine ’16
Kaylin Gurnari ’17
Sarah Gould ’17
Molly Jodka ’16
Rachel Kirk ’16

Rachel Kowalski ’17
Jessica Kruger ’17
Claire McIntyre ’17
Kathleen Moore ’17
Caitlin Pieri ’17
Nora Salzberg ’17
Maya Shulsinger ’16
Linnea Smiley ’17
Dagmara Sobczyk ’16
Alexander Sugarman ’17
Kunzang Tshering ’17
Teng Wang ’17
Brynn Werner ’17
Madeleine White ’16
Phyllis Williamson ’17

Members of Psi Chi 2014-15

Kelsey Babcock ’17
Taylor Bardsley ’17
Avery Bertocci ’17
Brittany Burke ’17
Yitong Cai ’16
Catherine Collins ’17
Robyn D’Agostino ’17
Delana Eby ’17
Ellen Fossett ’17
Danielle Fournie ’17
Kate Gannon ’17
Brianna Geppner ’17
Sydney Gillis ’17
Alyssa Gilman ’17

Helen Grant ’17
Tyler Hicks ’17
Emily Johnson ’17
Shiho Kobayashi ’16
Sidra Narvaez ’17
Olivia Papakyrikos ’17
Madeline Parker ’17
Alexis Pinkham ’17
Hans Pope ’16
Jordan Silva ’17
Jennifer Smith ’16
Ruiqi Wen ’16
Deirdre Wilson ’17
Elaine Yuan ’16
Chunxiongyi Zhu ’16

Members of Psi Chi 2013-14

Andrea Balagur ’15
Elysha Bosworth ’15
Lauren Corigliano ’15
Kaylyn Dorsey ’15
Wyll Everett ’14
Emily Galos ’15
Jennifer Gibson ’14
Catherine Gilbert ’15
Xue Gong ’15
Leslie Gould ’15
Nicholas Hebda ’14
Ariel Hoadley ’14
Kelly Jochems ’15
Benjamin Kupper ’14

Dana MacDonald ’15
Kathryn Mason ’14
Melissa McCann ’15
Rayne McGlamery ’15
Leila Mills ’14
Jessica Moore ’14
Chloe Sarapas ’15
Kristin Skelton ’14
Alexandra Strawbridge ’14
Michaela Tietz ’15
Sarah Varney ’15
Lauren Vicik ’15
Alix Voyajopoulos ’14
Ryan Ward ’15
Hannah Whitley ’14

Members of Psi Chi 2012-13

Tara Caney ’13
Patrick Crane ’14
Amanda Daigle ’14
Elyse Doherty ’13
Vanessa Fuchs ’13
Shoshana Kruskal ’14
Megan Ludwig ’14
Alexandra Lund ’13
Ali McCarthy ’14

Megan O’Toole ’13
Christopher Panzini ’14
Cassandra Peltola ’14
Allison Rainville ’13
Michael Richard ’13
Nina Sasser ’14
Emily Stoddard ’14
Emily Swalec ’14
Blair Usedom ’14
Kara-Jane Walker ’14

Members of Psi Chi 2011-12

Christiana Dodd Butera ‘12
Emily J. Chadwick ‘11
Julie C. Comart ‘11
Emily E. Davisson ‘12
Liza G. Detenber ‘12
Kelsey G. Dorwart ‘11
Elizabeth L. Hughes ‘12
Mary E. Howell ‘12

Michelle Jamie Lipkin ‘12
Jennifer Y. Park’12
Craig P. Polizzi ‘12
Samantha A. Salamack ‘12
Elizabeth L. Salner ‘11
Jocelyn C. Saltzman ‘12
Lauren N. Schmidt ‘11
Colleen K. Smith ‘12
Heather A. Sykes ‘12

Members of Psi Chi 2010-11

Julia Chandler Atwood ‘11
Michael B. Brickley ‘11
Tess A. Cunard ‘11
Joshua M. Fisher ‘11
Kathleen A. Nelson ‘11
Katherine M. Lavoie-Mayer ‘11

Emily Lynn Parker ‘11
Sara M. Hollar ‘11
Julia C. R. January ‘11
Ryan K. McCaffrey ‘11
Lacresha L. Simpson ‘11
Shannon M. Witter ‘11

Members of Psi Chi 2009-10

Stefana Maria Albu ’10
Rachel M. Arbesfeld ’09
Elise L.Barrar ’10
Heidi-Carolyn J. Bedard ’10
Rachel Callanan ’10
Julia K. Carmody ’09
Sherri L. Conklin ’10
Joseph M.Donahue ’10
Kristen L. Fahey ’10
Molly R. Galdston ’09
Sara C. Green ’09
Ayelet Grunes ’09
Alexandra M. Hyszczak ’09
Morgan S. Jamiel ’09
Christine V. Keaney ’10
Ashley D. Kuhn ’09
Catherine E. Lawrence ’10
Anna L. Littlehale ’10
Hillary Thompson Magruder ’09

Jessica E. Meisner ’09
Liana E. Merrill ’09
May Michaely ’09Sarah R. Moreland ’09
Rachel T. Moulton ’09
Elizabeth G. Mundy ’10
Emma L. Musselman ’09
Kayla E. Rack ’10
Claudia L. Rodezno ’09
Hannah R. Roosa ’09
Kailyn M. Schmidt ’09
Lucy I. Sole ’09
Anastacia M. Spang ’09
Gretchen M. Stearns ’09
Paul W. Thomas ’09
Elizabeth H. Walk ’09
Jessica N. Webb ’09
Stacy E. Zickl ’09