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Elizabeth Shewark

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Elizabeth Shewark

Elizabeth Shewark is in her fifth year of the Developmental Psychology area Ph.D. program. She is currently working with Drs. Jenae Neiderhiser and Kristin Buss examining the development of children’s social and emotional competency, within the context of the family and schools using a behavioral genetics framework. More specifically, she is interested in the role of the child in the family and classroom contexts, and the mechanisms by which children impact and are impacted by their relationships via gene-environment interplay. Her dissertation work will examine genetic influences on the child and how that association may evoke different or similar responses across the family and school contexts and subsequently impact later adjustment. Elizabeth is also particularly interested in using advanced methodology and statistical techniques to further understand interpersonal relationships and children’s social and emotional development. In her work with Dr. Kristin Buss, Elizabeth is using advanced statistical techniques to examine children’s fearful behavior. During the past year, Elizabeth has spent much of her time writing papers and presenting at conferences. She has four publications, one as first author and one as second author and she is currently working on her dissertation entitled, “Parent-child and teacher-child relationships: The role of the child.”

After receiving her B.S. in Psychology, cum laude from the University of Mary Washington in 2010, she studied Applied Developmental Psychology at George Mason University, where she received her Master of Arts in Psychology in 2012. After starting her PhD program, Liz has given numerous presentations throughout the United States and was a teaching assistant for several classes. She has received many awards, including the 2012–2013 Strumpf Liberal Arts Centennial Graduate Scholarship, Psi Chi’s Teaching Assistant of the Year Award for 2014, a PSU Global Travel Award, and RGSO dissertation award for spring 2017.

Liz believes the Strumpf Scholar Award helped provide her with the time needed to publish, develop, and receive a NRSA grant. The award also helped her receive additional methodological and statistical training, as well as training in a new substantive area of behavioral genetics, in order to become more competitive for pursuing an academic position at a major research university.