Nine psychology students and one alumnus recognized for their academic excellence
MACOMB / Moline, IL – The 2020-2021 academic year has been atypical at Western Illinois University due to COVID-19. Despite the additional challenges over the past year, the WIU Psychology Department maintains its annual traditions.
In this vein, the department has historically celebrated the academic achievements of students, past and present, at its annual spring
CEREMONY of AWARDS. Although the traditional in-person ceremony has been put on hold for 2021, the department is pleased to recognize the following nine students and one alumnus for their many academic and professional accomplishments:
Fellow of the psychology department – Spring 2021 graduate Monika Mazela, from Winnebago, Illinois: The Department of Psychology Scholarship Award recognizes senior graduates who have excelled and achieved academic distinction throughout their undergraduate careers. Mazela has already received the Distinguished Junior Award and the Eric Ward Tutoring Award from the Department of Psychology. During his stay at WIU, Mazela was a member of the Investigative Laboratory of Psychology and Law and completed an honors thesis. She plans to pursue her PhD in Brain and Behavior at the University of
College of Arts and Sciences Honorary Recognition Nomination / Award – 2021 Spring Graduate Riley Grady, from Palatine, IL: The College of Arts and Sciences Honorary Recognition Award recognizes senior graduates with outstanding achievement during their time at WIU, who also hold promise for success beyond WIU. Applicants are identified in the fields of anthropology, liberal arts and sciences, political science, psychology and sociology to represent the field of social sciences. Grady was selected as a candidate for honorary recognition in psychology and was subsequently selected for the award in the field of social sciences. While at WIU, Grady participated in several research projects, including a cognitive-forensic psychology project under the Investigative Psychology and Law Laboratory, and completed an honors thesis on the nervous laughter. She plans to pursue her doctorate in forensic psychology at the University of Toledo.
Psychology Distinguished Juniors – Emma Holtz and Heather Wicker – The Distinguished Junior Award rewards one or two
students who exemplify superior academic and professional performance at WIU throughout their junior year. Holtz, a psychology major, from Wonder Lake, IL, is a member of two faculty-led research labs and has collaborated on several research projects, which include mating strategies, emotional intelligence, and the role of oxytocin neurohormone in trust and betrayal. After graduation, Holtz plans to continue studying oxytocin at university. Wicker, a psychology major from Hampshire, Ill., Is currently a member of the Investigative Psychology and Law Laboratory and plans to continue her training in psychology and mental health as a graduate student. She plans to pursue a Psy.D. diploma in the future.
Fulkerson Outstanding Alum Award – Dr Linda Spear
Frank Fulkerson was the fourth chair of the WIU Psychology Department (1976-1984, and also 2008). Throughout his time at WIU, Fulkerson has been a dedicated advocate for the University and the wider Macomb community, and frequently promoted the value of community service as part of a successful student experience. The Fulkerson Outstanding Alumni Award traditionally rewards psychology
graduates who demonstrate a high level of service within their community and a high level of professional achievement.
Spear received her BSc in Psychology from WIU in 1972. In 1976, she joined the faculty of Binghamton University and then founded one of the first undergraduate programs in neuroscience. A pioneer in many ways, Spear was the first woman to achieve the rank of Distinguished Professor at Binghamton University, and she has trained more than 50 graduate students for future careers in neuroscience. Spear’s academic and professional accomplishments include over 300 written or co-authored articles, numerous national honors and awards, and service to many major national and international organizations for the advancement of science and neuroscience, many of which organizations that she also helped found.
Spear returned to Macomb and WIU in 2011 and hosted a memorable symposium on the impact of alcohol use on adolescents and their developing brains. Recognition of Spear’s many service and professional accomplishments with the Fulkerson Outstanding Alum Award marks the first time such an award has been awarded posthumously, as Dr. Spear passed away in October 2020. More information on the many contributions from Spear and his legacy are available at bit.ly/2TELAQe.
Jim Joyce Psychology Scholarships
Jim Joyce was a faculty member and chair of the WIU Psychology Department when it was established in 1961. Psychology majors began to graduate two years later, and since then the Psychology Department has trained over 4,500 undergraduates, 550 master’s degrees
students and 200 specialists in school psychology. Each year, several outstanding students receive the James Joyce Awards, which recognize students who exemplify superior academic and professional performance. The Jim Joyce Award recipients for Spring 2021 include (along with tips for future graduates):
• Monika Mazela, Spring 2021 Psychology Graduate, Winnebago, IL – “Getting involved provides the opportunity to network with other students and faculty.”
• Heather wicker, majoring in Psychology, from Hampshire, IL – “Try your best not to be afraid to achieve
out of your comfort zone. “
• Sydney pryor, Spring 2021 Psychology Graduate, Sycamore, IL – “Join the hotline and research studies early.”
• Blair atherton, junior psychology student, Avon, IL – “Keeping a calendar has been one of the easiest and most useful ways to stay organized and productive.”
• Tyler jakubowski, majoring in Psychology, from Blue Grass, IA – “Don’t be afraid to reach out or ask questions.”
• Emily haynes, Spring 2021 Psychology Graduate, Woodstock, IL – “Students should get to know the faculty. They are great sources of information and are always ready to help.
• Riley grady, Spring 2021 Psychology Graduate, Palatine, IL – “Explore multiple research interests with multiple people; this is the best way to have a well.
• Lynnelle Johnson, a major junior in psychology, from Rockford, IL – “Anything is achievable through hard work, determination and a positive attitude.”
For more information on the WIU Department of Psychology, visit wiu.edu/psychology.
Sean Leary is an author, director, artist, musician, producer and entrepreneur who writes professionally from his debut at age 11 in the pages of the Comics Buyers Guide. A graduate with honors from the University of Southern California’s master’s program, he has written over 50 books, including best-selling books The Arimathean, Every Number is Lucky to Someone, and We Are All Characters.