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Student Committee

The Student Committee works to promote the interest of SPSP's student members. This includes producing helpful student content, organizing events for student members at the annual convention, and much more.

2016-2017 Student Committee :

Leigh Smith, Chair (email)

Leigh SmithHello! My name is Leigh Smith, and I graduated from San Francisco State University in 2011 with a BS in Physics & Applied Mathematics and a BA in Psychology. I completed an MA in Human Development at The University of Texas at Austin, and I am currently enrolled in a Social Psychology PhD program at the University of California at Davis. Broadly, I am interested in questions concerning the mind-body connection. Specifically, I investigate how people differentially rely on internal cues (such as physiological sensations and affective experiences) versus external cues (such as interaction partners and the social environment) to guide behaviors in close relationships. I am also a statistics and computer programming enthusiast! You may email me at


Eric Russell, Vice Chair (email)

Eric RussellHi everybody! My name is Eric Russell, and I am a 4th year Ph.D. student studying social and personality psychology with Dr. William Ickes at the University of Texas at Arlington. My general research interests include close friendships/relationships, initial interactions, evolutionary psychology, and consumer behavior. Currently, I am developing a line of experimental research examining the close friendship between straight women and gay men. Specifically, I am interested in applying an evolutionary psychological perspective to better understand and examine the unique behavioral patterns exhibited within straight female-gay male friendship dyads. Within my program of research, I have used a variety of different methods to test my hypotheses including taking audio/video recordings, conducting transcript/text analyses, and experimental manipulation of visual stimuli (e.g., components of social media profiles). I look forward to the upcoming year! It is our goal to make the 2017 SPSP convention in San Antonio, TX a fun and rewarding experience for everyone. If you have any suggestions regarding the upcoming convention, or have questions about graduate school more generally, please feel free to shoot me an email at


Nick Brown, Past-Chair (email)

Nick BrownHi! My name is Nick Brown, and I'm serving as the SC Past President for 2016-2017. In previous years, I have served as President (2015-2016) and the Member-at-Large for Undergraduate Affairs (2014-2015). Making sure that student members have the tools they need to succeed professionally is very important to me, and I'm confident that SPSP provides is a greatly needed resource! My research interests are in personality psychology, specifically, identifying the psychological properties of situations and developing tools to measure them. Generally speaking, I'm interested in how personality interacts with our everyday situations to produce the psychological triad (i.e., cognition, affect, and behavior). More recently, I have become interested in combining cutting-edge technology, such as lifelogging devices, with deep learning (neural networks, machine vision), to analyze images captured from participants' situations. I received my Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology (Personality/Social Psychology emphasis) from Florida Atlantic University (2016), my M.S. from Villanova University (2012), and my B.A. from UC Riverside (2009). I'm always available, particularly if you are an undergraduate, to chat about applying to graduate school or attending the yearly SPSP conference. Please feel free to email me anytime at, or visit my website at


Jesse Briggs, Member-at-Large (email)

Jessie BriggsHello! My name is Jesse Briggs, and I originate from upstate New York and went to undergrad at St. Bonaventure University. Now I am in my fourth year of the Social Psychology Ph.D. program at Temple University in Philadelphia, studying under Dr. Andy Karpinski in the Cognition and Implicit Attitudes Lab. My interests broadly fall within the realm of implicit social cognition. In my primary line of research, I focus on examining when and why people construe the past more abstractly than they do the future, and how this asymmetry influences their decision making and self-concept. I would love to hear from you about specific questions or suggestions you have for the SPSP SC, or just grad life in general! You can email me at


Lameese Eldesouky, Member-at-Large (email)

Lameese EldesoukyHi everyone! My name is Lameese Eldesouky, and I'm a third year in the social and personality psychology Ph.D. program at Washington University in St. Louis. I work with Dr. Tammy English where my research is focused on emotion regulation. I am interested in why people regulate their emotions using different strategies and the consequences that different strategies can have for important domains, such as well-being, health, and social relationships. I'm excited to be working with the SC and look forward to serving the needs of both undergraduate and graduate students. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions at


Onawa LaBelle, Member-at-Large (email)

Onawa LaBelleHi everyone! My name is Onawa LaBelle, and I am a fourth year doctoral student at the University of Michigan, and a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. My research interests lie at the intersection of positive psychology and physical health, and they are driven by my curiosity about the mind-body connection, particularly in diverse populations. In other words, how do emotions, both positive and negative, affect physical health? How do the effects of positive emotions differ for at-risk and/or minority populations? Further, what role do individual differences and hormones play in this process? Working with my advisor, Dr. Robin Edelstein, I examine questions such as these using a mixed-methods approach to better understand the nuances inherent in special populations that may be missed using more traditional methods. If you are interested in my research, please visit my website, If you have questions about the SC, SPSP events, or more generally, about any aspect of the graduate school experience, please contact me at I’m excited to serve on this year’s Graduate Student Committee!


Lindsay Roberts, Member-at-Large (email)

Lindsay RobertsHi everyone! My name is Lindsay Roberts, and I'm a fifth year Ph.D. student at the University of Toledo. Broadly, my research interests focus on the social and cognitive factors that influence health behaviors and perceptions. Specifically, I've examined how social norms and social comparison moderate expectation effects (primarily in a placebo context) and how these expectations shape perceptions of treatment efficacy. Another line of my research explores how we make comparative judgments of health risks. One of my current projects investigates how people use features of graphs (e.g., a linear or nonlinear slope on a line graph) to inform their emotions, perceptions, and behavioral intentions when faced with a health threat. Please feel free to send me an email at with any questions, concerns, or ideas... I look forward to seeing you all in 2017!


Calvin Sims, Member-at-Large for Undergraduate Affairs (email)

Calvin SimsGreetings everyone! My name is Calvin Sims, and I am a fifth year Ph.D. student studying Lifespan Developmental Psychology at North Carolina State University with Amy Halberstadt. My research interests are best described at utilizing a developmental framework to understand education. Specifically, I'm interested in the relationships between teachers and students, and how emotions may color those interactions. I'm interested in how teachers come to understand ambiguous situations, and what roles teachers' cultural experiences, and their racialized beliefs may play in how they interact with students. I am this year's Member-at-Large for Undergraduate Affairs and I am really excited to work for you and put your interests first! Please always feel free to contact me to ask about anything ranging from applying to graduate school to what psychology concentrations would be best for you. I love creative ideas! So if you have any thoughts towards how SPSP may best serve you, please drop me a line and let’s meditate on these things together.  Just think of me as your friendly, neighborhood graduate student over here. You can always find me at or connect with me on LinkedIn at