Penn State Penn State: College of the Liberal Arts

Chang (Cecilia) Liu

Chang (Cecilia) Liu is continuing as a postdoctoral scientist and assistant research professor at George Washington University, working with Dr. Jodi Ganiban. Cecilia’s Opportunities and Infrastructure Fund (OIF) grant from NIH titled Identifying Dynamic Change Processes in Growth Trajectories from Infancy to Early Adolescence continues, with Cecilia as the principal investigator on this two-year grant that uses data from NIH’s Environmental Influences on Child Health Outcomes (ECHO) program. Cecilia is also a methodologist on another NIH-funded research grant. She has a total of five first-authored publications.

Cecilia graduated from the Penn State Developmental Psychology PhD program in 2019 under the mentorship of Dr. Jenae Neiderhiser. Her research interests focused on the mechanisms and processes underlying child development within the context of their social interactions, particularly regarding anger and aggression development in children. The title of her dissertation was, “The Static Co-Occurrence and Dynamic Co-Development between Externalizing and Internalizing Behaviors from Ages 1.5 to 8 Years at Between-Person and Within-Person Levels: Developmental Processes and Heritable and Rearing Environmental Influences.” While in graduate school, Cecilia pursued an interdisciplinary approach to her research, utilizing behavior genetics and dynamic systems analysis. By integrating the two approaches, she was able to examine the mechanisms underlying child development and the co-varying effects with other systems to help clarify possible causal pathways of the processes underlying child development. She worked on three separate projects with Dr. Jenae Neiderhiser (ECHO, PA Twins, and EGDS) examining gene-environment interplay in anger and aggression development. Cecilia received her Bachelor of Science from Beijing Normal University in China with a major in Psychology.

The Strumpf Scholar Award provided Cecilia time to practice dynamic systems analyses and to continue her interdisciplinary work with her mentors. She collaborated on two projects with Dr. Jody Ganiban at George Washington University, as well as a project with Dr. Sy-Miin Chow at Penn State. She appreciated having dedicated time to work on her manuscripts and to conduct a dissertation project integrating her knowledge of behavioral genetics and dynamic systems theories. Cecilia believes the Strumpf Scholar Award was invaluable in preparing her to be a competitive candidate for her post-doctoral fellowship and eventually a faculty position.