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Psychology department wins national award for commitment to service

At the annual Kids Judge Neuroscience Fair, Connecticut College students teach local elementary students about how the brain works with hands-on activities.
At the annual Kids Judge Neuroscience Fair, Connecticut College students teach local elementary students about how the brain works with hands-on activities.

For its commitment to service both on campus and off, Connecticut College's Department of Psychology has been honored with the 2013 American Psychological Association's  (APA) Culture of Service Award.

The award recognizes departments that consistently support service by faculty at all levels, encourage students to engage in service and demonstrate a commitment to service in the psychological sciences. The annual award is given to a maximum of two departments per year.

The 11 full-time faculty members in the department, which includes neuroscience, have accrued an impressive record of service as leaders on campus, in the community and within the discipline.

In addition to professional service, Ruth Grahn, associate professor of psychology and chair of the department, said she and her colleagues are committed to “giving psychology away” by advocating for a better understanding of psychology and neuroscience outside of academia. Members of the department give presentations to local, state and federal agencies about the ways that psychological research can inform public policy, for example. Faculty have also participated in a Congressional Briefing regarding psychiatric diagnosis; given talks about psychology to community groups; hosted workshops for local science teachers; and served as consultants to schools and agencies in the region, including group homes, a teen peer hotline, diversity initiatives, programs for social and emotional development and community health services.

Faculty and students also bring science to elementary schools with demonstrations for Brain Awareness Week and with the annual Kids Judge Neuroscience Fair, in which Connecticut College students teach elementary students all about neuroscience with engaging hands-on activities. 

In their application for the service award, faculty in the department said they also take pride in mentoring undergraduate students and pointed out that more students from Connecticut College than any other institution have been honored by the New England Psychology Association as Honorary Undergraduate Fellows for their outstanding records of scholarly achievements and service.

In bestowing the award, the APA’s Board of Scientific Affairs noted, “The Department of Psychology at Connecticut College exemplifies what a culture of service to the discipline should be through its support of faculty serving on national boards and committees, editing journals, mentoring students, participating on academic committees, becoming involved in the local community, and promoting the value of psychological science in the public eye.”

The award includes a $5,000 stipend, which the department plans to use to support student-faculty research projects.

For media inquiries, please contact:
Deborah MacDonnell (860) 439-2504,

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