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Mental Health Stigma

Victoria Vertilo '12 and Janet Gibson presenting research during poster sessionVictoria Vertilo ’12 and psychology professor Janet Gibson have published a paper, “Influence of character strengths on mental-health stigma,” in the Journal of Positive Psychology.

“The paper presents correlational and experimental data of individual differences measures on character strengths (e.g., hope, open-mindedness, and kindness) and mental health stigma,” says Gibson.

Vertilo completed the research in a Mentored Advanced Project with Gibson in 2012. They presented the research at a professional conference in May 2013, and then wrote and submitted the paper later that the year. The journal accepted it in January 2014.

Vertilo is now a graduate student at Claremont Graduate University. She is pursuing a master's degree in positive organizational psychology and evaluation.

“Positive psychology is a relatively new field in psychology that emphasizes the strengths people have,” says Gibson. “There is an increased interest in practical methods for using positive psychological interventions to enhance well-being,” she adds. Vertilo’s research is part of the growing field of research on promoting positive qualities within individuals, says Gibson.

The paper abstract says, “Stigma – a process that objectifies and dehumanizes a person who has mental illness – diminishes people’s ability to control their behavior as coping with stigma requires self-regulation. Exploring mental health stigma through the lens of character strengths allows for understanding individual differences and kinds of characteristics that help decrease the ramifications associated with stigma of mental health.”

They found that “character strengths of social intelligence and kindness were indicative of less stigma of mental health. More open-minded individuals tended to not hold individuals diagnosed with a mental health disorder personally responsible for acquiring that disorder.”

Psi Chi Chapter 2013-2014 Inductees

Spring 2014 Inductees:

  • Rebecca Carpenter '15
  • Elizabeth Gillig '15
  • Dongye Lu '15
  • Stella Oh '16
  • Dan Teng '15
  • Emily Twedell '15

Fall 2013 Inductees:

  • Lorraine Blatt ’14
  • Miriam Clayton ’15
  • Benyamin Elias ’15
  • Jessica Flannery ’15
  • Ashlee Hulbert ’15
  • Iulia Iordache ’15
  • Laurie Polisky ’15
  • Morgan Sullivan ’15
  • Julianne Toia ’15
  • Allison Walker ’15
  • Fanchao Zhu ’15

Students Earn Gilman Scholarships to Study Abroad

Tracy Pa ’15 and Isaiah Tyree ’15 have been awarded federally funded Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships to support their study abroad during the spring 2014 semester.

  • Tyree is a history and psychology major from Taos, New Mexico. He will study at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. Tyree is involved in soccer and track. He plans to pursue a career in counseling and is considering serving in the Peace Corps after graduation.
  • Pa  is a sociology major with a concentration in East Asian studies from San Francisco, Calif. She plans to study at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan, in order to continue her education in the Japanese language and feed her passion for Japanese literature. She is a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow and is conducting a research project on Asian-American literature.  After graduation, she plans to travel and volunteer abroad for a few years, before returning to the United States for graduate school.

The Gilman Scholarship is a federal grant program that provides awards for U.S. undergraduate students receiving Federal Pell Grant funding to participate in study abroad programs worldwide. The program aims to diversify the kinds of students who study abroad and the countries and regions in which they study by supporting undergraduates who might otherwise not participate due to financial constraints. Doug Cutchins, assistant dean and director of post-graduate transitions, is Grinnell’s campus representative.


Walkers Raise Funds for Alzheimer's Association

Participants enjoyed beautiful weather on Saturday, Oct. 5 for psychology’s walk to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association


The two-mile walk through downtown Grinnell was a psychology service project to raise awareness of the national Alzheimer’s Association's program of Walks to End Alzheimer’s.

Our successful event was organized by Psi Chi, our chapter of the national psychology honor society, and Grinnell’s psychology Student Education Policy Committee (SEPC), an organization of majors. 

Thanks to the walkers and sponsors who raised over 300 dollars to support research in finding a cure for Alzheimer's disease, in which Iowa has the third highest death rate in the nation..   See more photos in our album.

SURE III Information for Faculty Members and Research Directors

Initial information on each participating research program and institution will be collected from a faculty member or program director known in the SURE as the Corresponding Program Coordinator (CPC). The information collected from the CPC will be used to create the lists of participating institutions, research programs, and sources of funding to use in the student survey. Other data will remain confidential and will be used to communicate means and aggregates back to the participating institutions. CPCs will receive a summary report of their student responses, including averages.


Welcome. The three surveys described below - the Preflection, the SURE III, and the Follow Up - are supported by funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Each survey takes about 10-15 minutes. The surveys are being conducted by Professor David Lopatto of Grinnell College, and the surveys are hosted by a commercial site, Vovici. The data are analyzed by Prof. Lopatto and Ms. Leslie Jaworski, Electronic Survey Data Analyst for the project.


The Science Education Alliance Classroom Undergraduate Research Experience (SEA CURE) pre-course survey is an instrument for student assessment of their experience with the National Genomics Research Initiative (NGRI) funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Students in this program are participating in a inquiry-based introductory biology course modeled from the work of Dr. Graham Hatfull (e.g., Hatfull, et al. 2006). The outcomes include both new knowledge and, as Hatfull et al.

RISC Survey

The Research on the Integrated Science Curriculum (RISC) surveys (there are 3) are part of a research program initiated by the Interdisciplinary Learning Consortium, whose founding members represent Carleton College, Grinnell College, Hope College, St. Olaf College, and Whitman College. The Interdisciplinary Learning Consortium is funded by grants from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The methodology follows the successful methodology of Prof. Lopatto's current survey project, Classroom Undergraduate Research Experiences (CURE). As with the CURE methodology, there are three surveys.