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2018 Strumpf Scholar Award recipients announced

The Strumpf Scholar Award, provided by the Linda Brodsky Strumpf Liberal Arts Centennial Graduate Endowment, recognizes outstanding achievement and promise in areas of research supported by the Child Study Center.

The Strumpf Scholar Award, provided by the Linda Brodsky Strumpf Liberal Arts Centennial Graduate Endowment, recognizes outstanding achievement and promise in areas of research supported by the Child Study Center. Students who receive the Strumpf Scholar Award show innovation and promise in their own research, often have multiple lines of research, and have begun the process of sharing this work with the child psychology research community via presentations and often publications. Selected graduate students are provided with two years of summer support, as well as additional funds for research-related costs.

We are pleased to announce the 2018 Strumpf scholars: Alex Busuito, a Child Clinical Psychology graduate student, and Alicia Vallorani, a Developmental Psychology graduate student.

Alex’s research focuses on examining the consequences of early adversity and impaired parenting for child self-regulation during infancy and early childhood, and, more recently, identifying self-regulatory deficits that underlie impaired parenting. In 2011, Alex received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, cum laude from Eastern Michigan University. At Penn State, Alex’s mentors are Drs. Ginger Moore and Erika Lunkenheimer. Alex has received numerous awards, including a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, a Linda B. Strumpf Liberal Arts Centennial Graduate Scholar Award, and the Doris Duke Fellowship for the Promotion of Child Well-Being. In 2015, Alex received their Master of Science in Child Clinical Psychology with a specialization in Developmental Science. They are first author on two publications and have co-authored several. Alex has substantial clinical experience, and has provided mental health training in the community and works as a graduate student clinician. The Strumpf Scholar Award will allow Alex the opportunity to focus on participant recruitment, data collection, and data organization for their dissertation research, which will identify self-regulatory deficits in parents at-risk for maltreating their children. Alex hopes that their research will be used to improve the effectiveness of interventions and to guide a new generation of interventions that work for the highest risk parents. After graduation, Alex plans to pursue a career as a developmental scientist, expanding the frontiers of developmental science and improving the lives of the most vulnerable children.

Alicia’s research centers on the development of social engagement in childhood, and the neural processes underlying the development of social engagement. In 2011, she received her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois and in 2016, her Master of Science in Experimental Psychology from Western Illinois University. Her mentors are Drs. Koraly Pérez-Edgar and Kristin Buss. In her two years as a graduate student, Alicia has authored or co-authored 18 posters and presentations. She works in three labs enabling her to expand her research knowledge in a number of relative areas. In particular, she is examining how temperamental profiles during infancy predict social engagement during early childhood, and how attention tethers infants and children to developmental trajectories leading to social anxiety. She is a teaching assistant and has received several awards, including a Linda B. Strumpf Liberal Arts Centennial Graduate Scholar Award for promise in research related to child development. Alicia is honored to receive the Strumpf Scholar Award as it will allow her to focus exclusively on her research. She plans to expand her training in longitudinal data analysis and neuroimaging techniques and continue her work on an NIMH NRSA grant proposal. As a result of this award, Alicia will be well on her way toward her goal of becoming an independent developmental scientist.

Please join us in congratulating Alex and Alicia!