The goal of the University of Tennessee Psychology Graduate Student Association (PGSA) is to bring together students from across the department working with a diverse faculty and with a variety of interests to improve the academic and social climate from within. In addition to fundraising to support student travel, professional development, guest speakers, and other academic activities, PGSA plans social events for all students in the department. These vary from year to year, but in the past have included tailgate parties and grouped seats for football games and other sporting events, hiking and camping trips in the Smokies, BBQs and cookouts, and much more, not to mention our monthly “happy hours” at local pubs.
More than just a social organization, PGSA is here to help you navigate Knoxville, your graduate program, your department, the university, and grad school in general. We also proudly serve our fellow graduate students as a liaison to the faculty and administration, both in the department and out. If you have any concerns or suggestions, please contact any of us directly or submit something anonymously via the portal at the bottom of this page. You can also find out about upcoming events on our Facebook page and, coming soon, on our webpage. And as always – Go Vols!!!
Alex Grizzell – President
I am in my 3rd year here at UT studying behavioral neuroscience with Dr. Matt Cooper in the Biological branch of the Experimental Psychology PhD program. I am primarily interested in better understanding the neurobiology of stress resilience, specifically what neural substrates allow some to be less affected than others by traumatic social stress. Having served as the Vice President for PGSA last year, I hope to continue its growth and success during my term as President, ushering in more opportunities for incoming speakers, professional development, inter-departmental connection and cohesion, rewards and acknowledgement, and… shall we say… “modes of decompression”!
Brittany Coppinger – Vice President
I am a 4th year experimental (biology) PhD student working with Dr. Todd Freeberg. I study animal behavior, specifically animal communication and social behavior. My dissertation investigates the different social variables that influence the way groups of Carolina chickadees (and related birds) communicate with each other. Last year, I served as Secretary for PGSA, and I am excited to continue to work towards enhancing the graduate student experience in our department. Go Vols!
Katie Fritzlen- Treasurer
I am a 3rd year graduate student studying social cognition in Dr. Michael Olson's Social Cognition and Attitudes Lab in the Social area of the Experimental Psychology program. My research interests primarily revolve around attitudes; specifically, I have projects related to attitude formation and longevity, negative attitudes such as prejudice, and political worldviews that affect prejudice. When I am not working on my research I spend my time traveling, watching the NBA, and sleeping.
Danielle L. Graham
I entered the Counseling Psychology Program in 2013 after completing my M.A. in I/O Psychology at the University of Akron in Ohio. While completing my Master's, I completed research on feedback in the workplace. Here at UT, I am developing my interests in career, vocational, and workplace matters. I have had the opportunities to teach undergraduate psychology and be a team member of PiPES: Possibilities in Postsecondary Education. I currently hold a graduate assistantship at the Student Counseling Center where I provide brief therapy services to students at the university. I am also continuing to provide career services to a community served by PiPES. In my spare time, I enjoy spending quality time with friends, watching movies, and exploring the outdoors of Tennessee.
I'm a 4th year student in the Clinical Psychology program studying with Todd Moore. I'm primarily interested in researching the role that risk factors like gender norms, relationship dynamics, substance use, mental health and physical health have in intimate partner violence. As PGSA Social Chair, my focus over the next year will be to provide opportunities to engage in fun and fulfilling activities in order to help students maintain a positive work/life balance. We all know it, but it helps to be reminded that self-care and social interaction are important for stress reduction, physical health and overall productivity. But, we also know that for graduate students, it's sometimes really hard to maintain a healthy balance. With that in mind, we hope that you will join us at some of the several PGSA organized events that will be held during the upcoming Fall and Spring semesters.