29th Greater New York Conference on Behavioral Research

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On November 19, 2017, student and faculty researchers from over 19 institutions converged on Fordham University (Lincoln Center) for the 29th Greater New York Conference on Behavioral Research. This annual Greater New York Conference on Behavioral Research originated in 1989, when professors at two schools-sociologist Olga Scarpetta at John Jay College and psychologist Harold Takooshian at Fordham - wanted to give the many student researchers in their two schools a chance to present their findings. But since 1989, the Conference expanded rapidly into an annual event involving dozens of schools, and attracting student researchers from other regions and nations1, 2. Each November it has been hosted by a different school - including St. Francis College, City University of New York, Hofstra, Touro, and Marymount Mannhattan. The Conference is actively endorsed by a dozen organizations and institutions which encourage student research3. Since 2010, the Association for Psychological Science (APS) has kindly offered all participants a free one-year membership in APS4. Over the years, the Conference has drawn over 60 Guests of Honor from as far as Moscow and presents awards for student research. This Conference included 39 presentations by 50 presenters in 12 panels of scientific presentations, selected by a review committee of faculty from 11 area colleges. About one-quarter of these presenters were student researchers delivering their first conference presentation. The Conference Committee for this 29th Conference was chaired by Assistant Dean Mica McKnight, MA of Fordham University, with Fordham Dean Elaine P. Congress. Conference Director is Harold Takooshian, PhD of Fordham University. It is endorsed by a dozen professional organizations and institutions that promote student research. This year’s conference was hosted by Fordham University, with kind support from several sources--including SPSSI and the Fordham Institute. Thanks to APS Executive Officer Sarah Brookhart, the Association for Psychological Science offered all participants a gratis one-year membership in APS. The conference theme for 2017 was “Promoting social justice, locally and globally”. Since one aim of this annual conference is to give students and faculty a chance to meet and mingle with some distinguished experts in their field, the conference’s gala day’s-end reception saluted five Guests of Honor for their leadership (Fig. 1): 1) Musician John Dull, a pioneer linking folk music with neuropsychology and social justice; 2) Attorney Dora Galacatos, the Executive Director of Fordham Law School’s Feerick Center for Social Justice; 3) Diplomat Bruce Knotts, an author, and Chair of the United Nations DPI NGO Executive Committee; 4) Psychologist Deborah Martinez, the Executive Director of NYSPA, the New York State Psychological Association; 5) Educator Carey Weiss, an innovator, and Director of Sustainability Initiatives, Gabelli School of Business. Fig. 1. Participants offer a “thumbs-up” salute to Conference Guests of Honor (l to r): Assistant Dean Mica McKight, diplomat Bruce Knotts, attorney Dora Galacatos, educator Carey Weiss, musician John Dull, and Dean Elaine Congress Another aim of this annual conference is to encourage excellence in behavioral research, so the conference presented six annual awards to outstanding student researchers (Fig. 2): 1. The Conference’s 2017 Scarpetta Award for outstanding undergraduate research was presented to Rosaura Dominguez of John Jay College; “Are moms special: Perceptions of lie acceptability”. 2. Sowmya Kshtriya of Teachers College, Columbia University, received the 2017 Guzewicz Award for outstanding cross-cultural research; “Adverse childhood experiences and suicide-related outcomes”. 3. Sara Matsuzaka of Fordham Graduate School of Social Service received the 2017 Hanson Award for outstanding research on social justice; “Trans and in Alcoholics Anonymous: A qualitative study”. 4. Flora Markaj of Fordham University received the 2017 Wexler Award for outstanding research in Industrial-Organizational Psychology; “Lack of civics knowledge connected to the well-being of citizens”. 5. Sydney Y. Wood of John Jay College of Criminal Justice received the Witmer Award for outstanding forensic research; “Effects of phenotypic bias and lineup construction method on lineup fairness”. 6. Madeleine Lee of Fordham Graduate School of Social Service received the 2017 Parker Award for outstanding neuropsychology research; “Methadone treatment during hurricanes: A social justice framework”. Fig. 2. Student research awardees: Dean Congress with (l to r): Rosaura Dominguez (Scarpetta Award), Sowmya Kshtriya (Guzewicz Award), Sydney Y. Wood (Witmer Award), Flora Markaj (Wexler Award), Madeleine Lee (Parker Award), Dean Mica McKight, Sara Matsuzaka (Hanson Award) All student awards were determined by ratings by an independent Awards Committee of 12 faculty from 11 institutions. These seven awards are named for seven revered behavioral scientists: 1. Professor Olga M. Scarpetta, PhD (1938-1992), a gifted teacher at John Jay College, co-founded this Greater New York Conference in 1989; 2. Tony D. Guzewicz, MA (1954-2002), a prolific cross-cultural researcher and U.S. Fulbright Scholar to Japan; 3. Meredith Hanson, DSW (1936-2016), the beloved Director of the Doctoral Program of the Fordham Graduate School of Social Service; 4. Richard H. Wexler, PhD (1944-2014), a visionary leader who inspired www. Psychology21c.org; 5. Lightner Witmer, PhD (1867-1956), a founder of forensic psychology in the USA; 6. Rolland S. Parker, PhD (1928-2010) was an esteemed author and President of the NY Academy of Traumatic Brain Injury; 7. A. Vincent Toth, MS (1948-1995), a revered researcher at Cornell Medical College. Fordham Provost Stephen Freedman noted: “The 29th Greater New York Conference on Behavioral Research brought a distinguished group of scholars to Fordham UniversityLincoln Center on November 19, 2017 to highlight outstanding student research in the field. The conference effectively promoted interdisciplinary and inter-school collaboration among our faculty and students, including undergraduates, and advanced critical themes of global social justice. I commend the fine work of conference committee members who organized this forum and wish them success in future endeavors”. The location of the 30th Conference in November of 2018 will be announced in spring of 2018.


About the authors

Harold Takooshian

Fordham University

Author for correspondence.
Email: takoosh@aol.com

PhD, Professor of Psychology, Urban Studies, and Organizational Leadership at Fordham University (New York, USA)

Elaine P Congress

Fordham Graduate School of Social Service

Email: congress@fordham.edu

DSW, MA, Professor and Associate Dean, Fordham Graduate School of Social Service.

Mica J. McKnight

Fordham College at Lincoln Center

Email: mmcknight4@fordham.edu

MA, Assistant Dean, Fordham College at Lincoln Center.


  1. Takooshian, H., Pipinelli, A., & Congress, E.P. (2013, Winter). Ten years in New York City: International Conference at Fordham). Retrieved: https://div52.org/index.php/publications/40-pastissues-ipb
  2. Photos from 2011: https://get.google.com/albumarchive/109891726967304025021/album/ AF1QipNAiC99jaGWAknI7c2v-QHip9w3gmC5TZFD0elY?source=pwa
  3. Takooshian, H. (2011). New York Conference thanks APS. Retrieved: www.psychologicalscience. org/index.php/publications/observer/obsonline/23rd-annual-greater-new-york-conference-onbehavioral-research-thanks-aps.html
  4. Takooshian, H. (2016). APS encourages student researchers for sixth year. APS Observer. Retrieved from: www.psychologicalscience.org/publications/observer/obsonline/aps-encourages-studentresearchers-for-sixth-year.html#.WO5JeoWcHIU

Copyright (c) 2017 Takooshian H., Congress E.P., McKnight M.J.

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