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RIC grad Nicholas Urban receives New England Psychological Association's Undergraduate Scholars Award


Nicholas Urban
Nicholas Urban ‘09 was one of six students to receive the New England Psychological Association’s (NEPA) Honorary Undergraduate Scholars Award at a conference at Worcester State College on Oct. 9 and 10.

Urban was a member of the Psychological Society and vice president of Psi Chi at RIC, and the only undergraduate student invited to participate in the May 2009 RIC faculty research conference titled, “Engaging Conversations: The Subject of Happiness.”

At the NEPA conference several RIC alumni and professors presented research posters:

Ashley Carlone, ‘08 and Tiffany Plourd ‘08, both of RIC, presented “Effects of the HPV Vaccine Media Campaign on HPV Knowledge, Perceived Risk, and Perceived Susceptibility,” along with Randi I. Kim, associate professor of psychology at RIC, and Mary O’Keeffe, associate professor of psychology at Providence College.

Rosalie Berrios-Candelaria ‘06, Tiia Nurmikko ‘08, Peter Murphy ‘90 and Thomas E. Malloy, professor of psychology at RIC, presented “Differentiation of Out-Group Members: Relative Intergroup Status and Familiarity”

Beth Lewis, assistant professor of psychology at RIC, and Malloy presented “Weight and Partner Effect: Rapid Stereotyping with Increasing Weight.”

For psychology honors credit, Urban’s thesis focused on the relationships among cell phone users, both normal and problematic, academic self-regulation, GPA happiness and loneliness. Under the assistance of Joan Rollins, professor and chair of the psychology department at RIC, Urban designed the original research and relied on a self-report questionnaire. Urban said the data yielded many significant relationships between the variables, and he has successfully defended his results to a committee of psychology faculty.

Academically, Urban graduated magna cum laude and with college honors, departmental honors in psychology, and general education honors. He also enrolled in a graduate course the first semester of his senior year to challenge himself at a higher level, he said.

Urban has worked as a research assistant on two multi-year NIH-funded research projects with the Transdisciplinary Research Group at Butler Hospital, led by Dr. Lawrence Sweet. The projects examine the potential effects of cigarette smoking and cardiovascular disease of cognitive functioning.

For his second research project, which began in May of 2009, Urban is working in Memorial Hospital’s Neurodevelopment Center, examining the potentially detrimental effects of antipsychotic drugs used for the treatment of behavioral problems and attention deficits in children and adolescents.

Urban is currently preparing for the GREs. He intends on working in clinical practice and research, and he is also interested in teaching at the collegiate level. Urban is moving to New York where he plans to continue research in the fields of cognition and neuropsychology.