Department Newsletter | Undergraduate Student Spotlight

Kristina Stepanovic, Psychology Undergrad and recipient of the Fall 2016 College of Science Outstanding Senior Award

Kristina represents the best of what our psychology majors can accomplish in academics, research, and service before they graduate and move on to the next stage of their careers. Her record demonstrates the highest level of initiative, skill, and resourcefulness among this semester’s graduating class. 

“I came to the UA in 2013 from Chicago, wanting to study medicine. Along the way, I decided to switch my major to psychology after my experience in several classes in the department. During my undergraduate career, I volunteered at a shelter for domestic violence, NAMI, outpatient centers, and the Teenage Parent High School. I worked in three different laboratories. I started with Professor Kristian Doyle in the college of medicine, investigating adaptive immune responses following stroke, where I published my first paper in Acta Neuropathologica Communications with colleagues (Woo!). I worked under Professor Erika Lawrence, investigating relationship quality in couples with one partner who identifies as Hispanic using semi-structured clinical interviews. Lastly, I spent the summer of 2016 at Yale University under Professor Jutta Joormann, investigating intolerance of uncertainty and its relationship with internalizing psychopathology and maladaptive emotion regulation using EEG. 
I plan to pursue a doctoral degree in clinical psychology. I intend to investigate the role of stress and trauma in emotion regulation. I am interested in using psychophysiological methods such as skin conductance, heart rate, and blood pressure to examine what kind of change in arousal occurs during down regulation of a stressful or traumatic event. My ultimate goal is to obtain my PhD and become a tenured professor at a Research 1 university. Ideally, I would also be able to incorporate clinical practice into my work. After graduating from the UA in December, I am sad to be leaving Tucson and my mentors and friends from the Psychology department.”