The Dorothy and David Cooper Summer Research Fellowship was designed to enhance undergraduate students' access to research opportunities and in particular, to ensure equitable access to such opportunities. This endowed summer undergraduate research fellowship provides financial support for undergraduate students to engage in 250 hours of active supervised research effort (approximately 10 weeks, 25 hours per week) under the guidance of a faculty supervisor during the summer. The application process involves writing a proposal and successful applicants complete a written research paper in the format of an article in a peer-reviewed scientific journal or a grant proposal. This experience often serves as a funnel into our honors program, providing undergraduates with an intensive research experience before graduation. Many of our Cooper fellows have moved on to research careers including receiving their PhDs or MDs. Read about our alumni below:
Fellowship Awards: Funding in the amount of $4,000 - $5,000 (depending on the size of available funds) will be awarded to outstanding students majoring in psychology who are completing a research project in the summer of 2023.
Jessica Philip graduated with honors from Rutgers University in 2022 as a Psychology major. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Clinical Psychology at Northern Illinois University. She is working with Dr. Laura Pittman in the Families and Development in Context Lab to study how different aspects of parenting (e.g., racial socialization) serve as protective and risk factors for psychological health outcomes (e.g., racial trauma) in racial/ethnic minority children and adolescents.
Her Cooper project was titled, “Identity cues in therapy: The effect of the perceived link between race, personality, and prejudice on the therapeutic relationship.”
Grace Grmek, 2021 Cooper alumna is currently a Clinical Research Coordinator at the Loggia lab at Harvard University. Her project was titled, “The Impact of Reducing Numerical Uncertainty in Children on their Information Seeking Behavior.”
Heta Patel, 2021 Cooper alumna is an Undergraduate premedical student at Rutgers. Her project was titled, "Pro-inflammatory Cytokine Modulation in Response to Chronic Fentanyl Self-Administration in Rats."
Jake Rattigan, 2021 Cooper alumnus is currently a Fullbright Fellow, teaching English to students in Spain. His project was titled, "Effects of Conflicting Health-Related Information Exposure on Attentional Processing Speed: The Moderating Roles of Trait Anxiety and Openness."
Gabriela Rivera, 2021 Cooper alumna is currently a Lab Coordinator with the Rutgers ABUSA Lab and a Behavior Technician at Shape to Success. She is applying to Clinical Psychology PhD programs this year. Her Cooper project was titled, She submitted her paper, “Coping Through Comparative Gratitude: Expressing Gratitude in Comparison to Others as Emotion Regulation Amidst COVID-19-Related Stressors.”
Maxine Shvachkin, 2021 Cooper alumna is a Physical Therapy Aid/Patient Care Technician at a rehabilitation clinic. Her project was titled, "Brain Activity and Immune Functioning of Rats During Self-Administration of Fentanyl."
Olivia Worthington, 2021 Cooper alumna, and School Psychology graduate. Olivia is pursuing an Education Specialist and Masters of Education degree at Temple University. Her Cooper project was titled, “Picture This: Perceptual Exaggeration of Threatening Visual Information as a Self-Control Strategy.”
Suhani Yerapathy, 2021 Cooper alumna is a Undergraduate Research Assistant in the Psychoneuroimmunology Laboratory of Dr. Alex Kusnecov, Department of Psychology, Rutgers University. Her project was titled, "Cytokine Response to Fentanyl Self-Administration in Rats."
Nick Zambrotta, 2021 alumnus is a Rutgers psychology and Cooper Fellowship alumni who graduated in 2022. His project was titled, "Attributional Complexity and Perceptual Preferences."
Nick is currently attending Columbia University, where he is receiving a masters in Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences. Following his masters at Columbia, Nick plans to get a PhD in Social Psychology, with research focuses in attribution, sexism and feminism, and social cognition.
Simon is a former undergraduate RA from Dr. Elias' SECD Lab. He submitted his paper, "Observing the Demographic Factors of Peer-Nominated Leaders in Urban Middle Schools" as part of the Cooper SURF program in Summer 2020. He was also able to publish this manuscript in the Rutgers Aresty Undergraduate Research Journal (link to article).
Simon graduated from Rutgers with a BA in Psychology and Cognitive Science in May 2022, and now is a Ph.D. student at the University of Virginia's School of Education and Human Development in their Clinical and School Psychology program.
Yufan Li, Cooper alumna 2020, 2021 graduate, and currently a doctoral student in Pharmacology at Rutgers.
Her project titled, "The Relationship between Culture and Emotion Regulation through Mental Imagery and Autobiographical Memory," explored relationships among culture, emotional regulation, and autobiographical memory. We collected data in 2020 and 2021. In the picture, she is presenting a poster describing her research at the 2022 convention of the Eastern Psychological Association.
Alice Molodan, 2020 Cooper alumna is currently a Senior Sales Development Representative at BrightEdge. Her Cooper project was titled, “Stereotype Exemplars: The Influence of Mental Representations in Target Evaluations.”
Ariana Morgan, 2020 Cooper alumna and current student at Rutgers. Her Cooper project was titled, “What’s On Your Plate?”: A Literature Review of Social Comparison and Eating.”
Anushka Sagar, Cooper alumna 2020, 2021 graduate, now employed as a Market Research Associate.
Her project explored student perceptions and attitudes about concussion. Within Dr. Margaret Ingates' lab she collected data in 2020 and 2021. She presented her research at a virtual poster session at the 2021 convention of the Eastern Psychological Association. An extended report of the research has been submitted for publication.
Tamar Dubin, 2019 Cooper alumna is a Clinical Compliance Data Specialist at BK Behavior Ventures. Her Cooper project was titled, “What Do Bisexuals Look Like? Mental Representations of the Gender-Typicality of Bisexual Women.”
Silvia Hammer, 2019 Cooper alumna is currently a Graduate student at the University of Hartford's Graduate Institute of Professional Psychology, working as a Clinical Research Coordinator as the Northeast Regional Epilepsy Group.
Silvia's Cooper project was titled, "Analysis of Affective State During Chronic Fentanyl Use and Withdrawal in Rats."
Carlos Storck-Martinez, Cooper alumnus 2019, 2020 graduate, received an MSW from Rutgers School of Social Work, now employed as Executive Director of Operations at Family Empowerment Associates.
His project titled, "Picture Memory," explored ERP responses to briefly presented images during encoding and recognition. Within Dr. Margaret Ingates' lab he collected data in 2019 and Carlos' virtual poster was accepted for the 2021 convention of the Eastern Psychological Association.
Bushra is a third-year medical student at the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine and is currently completing her clinical rotations in New York. She will apply for a psychiatry residency in the 2024 Match, and her career intentions are to become a child and adolescent psychiatrist. Her areas of interest include social determinants of health, accessibility to mental health services, and cultural sensitivity in psychiatric practices.
Her past work includes researching and conducting school-based mental health interventions for school districts in New Jersey, notably consulting for West Windsor-Plainsboro Regional School District. She was awarded the Cooper Research Fellowship in 2018, and her paper is titled “The Impact of Asian Status on the Relationship of Social-Emotional Competence and Mental Health in Early Adolescents.”
Emily Kadosh graduated with a Honor Research Scholar in Psychology distinction from Rutgers University in 2019 as a Psychology major and Cognitive Science minor. After graduation, Emily briefly worked at a staffing agency before transitioning to NBCUniversal as a Media Analyst where she developed consumer and category insights to support marketing opportunities based on audience delivery, consumption trends and consumer profiles. She is currently a Category Strategy Analyst at Mars Wrigley where she looks at how the confectionery category (candy industry) is performing using panel data, scan data, and consumer insights. She works with convenience store chains to optimize their confectionery assortment & merchandising and improve their confectionery strategy (for all candy, not just Mars products!).
She was awarded the Cooper Research Scholarship in 2018, and her paper is titled, "Mapping -Isms: Creating a cognitive map of prejudice."
Siddarth Siddabathula, 2018 Cooper alumnus is a Clinical Information Manager at Emergency Medical Associates. His Cooper project was titled, “Shared Laziness: Recalling Joint Exercise Self-Control Failures.”
Shreya Bajpai, 2017 Cooper alumna currently works in the wealth management division at Merrill Lynch. Her Cooper project was titled, “Does This Burger Make Me Look Fat? GoalInconsistent Behavior and Biased Self-Perceptions.”
Vivian Chen, 2017 Cooper alumna is a Formulations Senior Technologist at Chembio Diagnostic Systems, Inc. in Queens, New York. Her project was titled, "Differences in Neural Activity in the Nucleus Accumbens of Sign vs. Goal Tracking Rats."
Brooke Schleyer, 2017 Cooper alumna is currently a Clinical Psychology PhD student at Temple University. Her Cooper project was titled, “Co-Failing at Self-Control: Perceived Guilt and Goal Progress Following Shared Indulgences.”
Anuj Thakkelapally, 2017 Cooper alumnus is an Emergency Medical Technician at Bergen New Bridge Medical Center. His project was titled, "Nucleus Accumbens Single Neuron Activity Involved in Cue-induced Relapse to Drug Seeking."
Amanda Autore, Cooper alumna 2016, 2017 graduate. Her project involved an extensive literature review of ERP responses during encoding and recognition of visual images and words, and development of a stimulus set for later experiments.
Alex Bachert, M.A., 2016 Cooper alumnus is currently a Corporate Recruiter, Prudential Financial. His project was titled, "Attentional Biases during an Emotional Stroop Task in Young Adults."
Mansi Joshi, 2016 Copper alumna is a behavioral scientist who received her PhD in Social Psychology from Indiana University in 2022. In 2017, she graduated from Rutgers University with a bachelor's in Psychology with honors. During her time at Rutgers she collaborated across multiple labs investigating prejudice and person perception. Mansi's program of research examines 1) how people form impressions of STEM roles based on their group identity and 2) how these impressions predict their interest in pursuing STEM careers. Her work bridges social, organizational, and developmental perspectives to understand when and how beliefs are formed. Mansi is currently a senior research associate on the University Recruiting Syndicated research team at Veris Insights where she conducts research on how to help University Recruiters across Fortune 500 companies retain and engage top talent with an emphasis on diversity and inclusion.
Her project was titled, "Effect of Environmental Cues on Women in STEM."
Samuel Klein, 2016 Cooper alumnus, is currently a PhD student in Clinical Psychology at the University of Minnesota. His Cooper project was titled, “Self-Derived Goals: Exploring the Link Between Goal-Centrality and Self-Control.”
Caitlyn Smith, 2016 alumna received her MS degree in Occupational Therapy from Kean University in 2020 and is currently an Occupational Therapist with Atlantic Health System. Her Cooper project was titled, “The Influence of Temporal Linguistics on the Future-Oriented Intentions of Mandarin-English Bilinguals.”
Steffany Conyers, 2015 Cooper alumna is currently an OB/GYN Resident at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Her project was titled, "Attentional Bias During an Emotional Stroop Task: Relationship with Family History of Cancer."
Matt Habel, 2015 Cooper alumnus is a Graduate Student, M.I.T Sloan School of Management. His project was titled, "Understanding the Impact of Mental Stress on Cardiovascular Function through Impedance Cardiography."
Ari Lisner, 2015 Cooper alumnus is a Custom Insight Manager with the New York Times. His Cooper project was titled “Criterion Shifts in Signal Detection.”
Saif Rahman, 2014 Cooper alumnus is a practicing physician resident, Summit, NJ. His project was titled, "Influence of Acute Mental Stress on Heart Rate Variability."
Solangel Troncoso graduated with honors from Rutgers University in 2015 as a Psychology and Women's & Gender Studies major. After graduation, she worked as a New Jersey SEEDs guidance officer to provide equitable college access to children from low-income households. She is currently a 4th year PhD candidate at the University of Michigan in the Personality and Social Contexts and Women's and Gender Studies Joint PhD program. She works primarily with Dr. Susan Gelman and is currently studying how use of gendered language reflects and shapes gender essentialist thinking.
Her 2014 Cooper title was, "Gender Ambiguity and Gender Essentialism: An Extension to the Social Categories Ambiguity Model (SCAM)."
Esha Vaid, 2014 and 2015 Cooper alumna is in her 5th year of Penn State’s Child Clinical Psychology doctoral program. She is passionate about research that addresses issues of equity and social justice in the development and success of youth. Esha has been working with Dr. Martha Wadsworth in the Coping and Regulation of Environmental Stress Lab to explore mechanisms that drive disparate trajectories of mental and physical health, particularly for those faced with marginalization. Her master’s thesis examined how experiences of poverty-related stress and racial discrimination impact Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC), and low-income youth’s mental health. She recently began to examine first-generation undergraduate student stress and the contributing stress that may alter paths of academic achievement and attainment. Her long-term goal is to continue supporting research that is devoted to promoting a more equitable trajectory for youth throughout development.
Her projects were titled, "Participation in the Arts as Potential Buffer for Test Scores in Low SES High Schools (2014)," and "Impact of School Climate and Bullying on Academic Achievement (2015)."
Olivia Kim, 2013 Cooper alumna is currently a postdoctoral researcher studying human motor learning in the Intelligent Performance and Adaptation Lab at Princeton University. Her Cooper project was titled, "Behavioral Changes and Waveform Properties of Accumbens Neurons in Rats Undergoing Extended Cocaine Self-Administration."
Hemal Trivedi, 2013 Cooper alumnus is currently a Doctoral Candidate, Doctor of Philosophy in Theological & Religious Studies, Georgetown University. His project was titled, "Anxiety, Behavioral Inhibition, and Psychological Stress."
Carla Ralston, 2012 Cooper alumna is the Founder and President of Ralston Press & Editorials.
Her Cooper project was titled, "Skill Learning in Dorsolateral Striatum Neurons During Cocaine Self- Administration."
Emily Vargas is a program officer at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine with the Board on Behavioral, Cognitive, and Sensory Sciences located in Washington D.C. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine provide independent, objective advice to inform policy with evidence, spark innovation and progress, and confront challenging issues for the benefit of society.
Prior to joining, Emily earned her bachelor’s degree with honors in Psychology from Rutgers University in New Jersey. Following graduation, she earned her MS and her PhD in Psychology from the University of Michigan in the area of Personality and Social Contexts. After graduation, she completed a 2-year T32 Postdoctoral Research Fellowship in Cardiovascular Disease Epidemiology and Prevention at Northwestern University, Feinberg School of Medicine. Emily continued working at Northwestern University as a Research Assistant Professor in Preventive Medicine, funded through a National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant until February 2022. Throughout her research career, Emily’s research was focused on examining the intersection of individual’s marginalized identities & psychosocial factors, and how they impact well-being as well as inform disparities and equity.
Her 2012 Cooper project title was, "Intersection of socioeconomic status and biracial ancestry: Implications for affirmative action".
Holly Weisberg, 2012 Cooper alumna is currently working as a Behavioral Analyst at the New York Behavior Analysis and Psychological Services. Her project was titled, "Does Being High or Low in Approach Motivation Contribute to Cardiovascular Reactivity to Emotional Stimuli?"
Amoha (Bajaj) Mahajan, 2011 Cooper alumna is a Clinical Psychologist at the Manhattan Center for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Her project is titled, "Gender, Emotion, and Cardiovascular Reactivity to Stress."
Danielle (Bercovicz) Mushaweh, 20211 Cooper alumna is currently working as an Educational Coordinator as the Sargent Rehabilitation Center in Warwick, RI.
Her Cooper project was titled, "Ultrasonic vocalizations during contextual reinstatement."
Steven Simmons, 2011 Cooper alumnus is currently is a postdoctoral researcher at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. His Cooper project was titled, "Investigating the Role of Drug Level on Affect during Cocaine Self-Administration in Rats."
Brendan Striano, 2011 Cooper alumnus received his MD from Harvard Med School, and is an Orthopedic Surgeon at Robert Wood Johnson in Piscataway. His Cooper project was titled, "Simultaneous Neural Recordings of the Nucleus Accumbens and Dorsolateral Striatum during Self-Administration of Cocaine."
Trishala (Parthasarathi) Shah, 2010 Cooper alumna is an Associate Director of Scientific Services at OrtleyBio. Her project was titled, "Predicting Reward Delivery from Learned Cues: Nucleus Accumbens Firing Patterns."