People



Jitske Tiemensma

Director

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  Dr. Jitske Tiemensma, PhD
Assistant professor of Health Psychology and the Director of the PsychoNeuroEndocrinology (PNE) Lab at UC Merced.

At University of California, Merced I am the director of the psychoneuroendocrinology (PNE) lab. I started two research lines in the PNE lab to extend my work on the stress system as well as my work on coping and (illness) perceptions. My work is interdisciplinary in origin, which is evident in my program of research as well as in my (forthcoming) publications.

My overall program of research is ‘Stress and Coping’. My program of research revolves around one central issue: what happens when people perceive stress, and can we influence these stress processes on the biological and psychosocial level?
It is important to note that I study stress processes on both the biological and psychosocial level, to ensure I capture the full picture. Stress is not something that only happens at the biological level, nor is it something that is purely psychological. By studying stress on both levels, I hope to contribute to the field of health psychology by providing better insight into the human stress response (both acute (e.g. social stress) and chronic (e.g. illness)).



Holly Rus

Graduate Student

 

 

 

 

 

 

Holly Rus – CV

Holly received her B.A. in psychology with a minor in education from the University of California, Davis in 2011. At UC Merced she is working towards her Ph.D. in Health Psychology in the PsychoNeuroEndocrinology Lab with Dr. Jitske Tiemensma. Broadly, her work examines how social media influences well-being and health. Her dissertation work focuses on how social media use may cause and reduce both subjective psychosocial and objective physiological stress, and what this means for its use in health care and behavioral medicine. Other projects include examining user engagement with health information delivered via social media, associations between social media use and romantic relationships, and the impact of social media use in response to campus violence. In her spare time, she loves exploring the beaches, cities, and mountains of her native California.



Johnny Felt

Graduate Student

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John Felt – CV

Johnny Felt is a doctoral student in Quantitative methods and Health psychology working under Dr. Jitske Tiemensma and Dr. Sarah Depaoli. He received his B.A. in psychology from San Francisco State University and his M.A. in General Experimental psychology from California State University, Northridge. His research interest include latent variable modeling, Bayesian estimation, quality of life, and the interaction of hormones, behavior, and conscious and nonconscious processes.



Amber Arroyo

Graduate Student

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Amber Arroyo

Amber is a first-year Ph.D. student in the health psychology program at UC Merced. Amber completed her undergraduate education at California State University, Chico, where she graduated cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, and two minors in Spanish and health & wellness. Her research interests include how drought-related stress affects psychological health and well-being, and how properties of stress can be altered on the biological and psychosocial level to ultimately improve an individual’s quality of life and well-being.



Larisa Gavrilova

Graduate Student

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Larisa Gavrilova

Larisa is a first year doctoral student in Health Psychology working with Dr. Tiemensma and Dr. Zawadzki. Her research interests include biomarkers of stress and the effects of cognition on stress response. Larisa received her B.A. in Psychology (Cum Laude) from California State University, Northridge, in 2016.



Nikko Da Paz

Graduate Student

Nikko Da Paz

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Nikko Da Paz

My research interests center on Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) from both the child and the parent perspective. I have explored language acquisition in children with ASD. In particular, my research examined the intrinsic motivation of question-asking behavior in children with ASD. My current research investigates the psychological and physiological effects of parenting a child with ASD. This investigation includes an examination of parent education trainings and interventions to reduce stress and improve health outcomes. It is my goal to utilize research as a tool to create a deeper understanding about the joys and struggles of Autism and the families that it affects.



In Memoriam: Jennifer Mendiola

Graduate Student

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In memoriam Jennifer Mendiola

Jennifer is a health psychology graduate student working with Dr. Tiemensma and Dr. Song. Her research interests include how social relationships influence emotion, perceptions of risk and stress. In the PNE Lab with Dr. Tiemensma, her work revolves around perceptions of HIV among young adults and emotion regulation strategies of women who have breast cancer.



Maryam T. Crogman

Graduate Student

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Maryam T. Crogman

Maryam T. Crogman is a doctoral student in Developmental Psychology under Dr. Gilger and extends her work to Health Psychology through collaboration with Dr. Tiemensma.
Maryam’s current research investigates the perception of children and adolescents of their body image versus their actual body features and how these perceptions affect their quality of life.

 


Graduated PhD students

  • Nikko DaPaz, PhD (co-advised by Jitske Tiemensma and Jan Wallander) – Postdoc at UCSF
  • Anna Epperson, PhD (co-advised by Jan Wallander and Anna Song) – Postdoc at Stanford
  • Shanna Erickson, PhD (main advisor Evan Heit) – Math Teacher

 

Current undergraduate Research Assistantspne-lab-fam-1

  • Donnoban Orozco (Lab Manager)
  • Toby Nguyen
  • Ada Pokras
  • Sena Griffith
  • Raquel Zuniga
  • Wilimar dos Santos
  • Adriana Lupian
  • Andrina Padilla
  • Mariah Estes
  • Shanon Biagi
  • Xochitl Gavalez
  • Vivian Chu
  • Pamela Payne
  • Ana Tellez
  • Stella Moran
  • Rei Pham (Bau Chau Pham)
  • Laura Hanel
  • Dianne Crosswhite
  • Sumeet Bhardwaj
  • Dewey Tran
  • Joseph Andrade
  • Daniel Gracia-Ceja
  • Justin Yoo
  • Adair Payan

Graduated RA’s

  • Danielle Benetti
  • Grace Diaz Perez
  • Zenat Yusufzie
  • Bertha Ramos
  • Yessenia Alvarado
  • Virginia Powell
  • DeAngela Morgan
  • Emily Requarth
  • Jose Saavedra
  • Marchandra Lakey
  • Megan Bontilao
  • Claudia Ramirez
  • Sarah Zia
  • Emmanuel Villanueva
  • Ester Duzdabanian
  • Anabel Castillo
  • Karina van Bogart
  • Dakota Brown
  • Cameron Howard
  • Julie Britton
  • Tori Palmberg
  • Shanna Beach
  • Janine Fernandez (Research Associate)
  • Camille Cummings (Lab Manager)
  • Brittany Jackson
  • Jordan Eclevia
  • William Torrez
  • Kimberly Giron
  • Omar Herrera
  • Theresa Ramos
  • Louis Solares
  • Christopher Reyes
  • Blanca Ayala
  • Gerardo Garcia
  • Iris Olivio
  • Kinnaly Vongsa
  • Bryan Escobar