Giorgia Picci continues her Postdoctoral Scholar position at the Center for Healthy Children in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Penn State. In 2019, Giorgia received the Best Research Article Award from the Society for the Study of Emerging Adulthood, and a FLUX travel award. She works with Dr. Emma Rose and has a total of five first-authored publications.
Giorgia graduated from Penn State’s Developmental Psychology PhD program in 2018. Her primary mentor was Dr. Suzy Scherf. While in graduate school, Giorgia’s research interests focused on the unique vulnerability of adolescence as a developmental period for individuals with autism. She studied the behavioral and neural basis of the processes of social reorientation toward peers in typically developing adolescents in order to eventually determine how these processes may be altered among individuals with autism. Her dissertation was titled, “On the Way to Becoming an Adult: The Behavioral Basis of Face Processing as it Changes with Adolescent Romantic Relationships.” As both an undergraduate and graduate student, she received many honors and awards, including the 2015 College of Liberal Arts Raymond Lombra Award for Excellence in Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences, awarded to the graduate student with the best first-author publication. She was also awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (2013-2016) and a Social, Life, and Engineering Sciences Imaging Center Dissertation Award (2016). After receiving her teaching certificate in 2015, she taught a developmental psychology course. Giorgia participated in many outreach initiatives emphasizing brain awareness and health in children and adolescents, was invited to give presentations, reviewed manuscripts professionally, and belonged to many professional organizations. Giorgia received her Bachelor of Arts summa cum laude, honors, from George Mason University in 2012, with a major in Psychology and a minor in Women and Gender Studies.
Giorgia is grateful for the Strumpf Scholar Award since it allowed her dedicated time to pursue her research. She was able to collect data for her dissertation project and advanced training in fMRI methodology, as well as submit manuscripts. All of these opportunities helped her achieve her goals as a graduate student and in attaining a competitive post-doctoral position.