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Ashley Hicks '20Psy.D.

Psy.D. School Psychology

Ashley Hicks ’20 Psy.D., a third-year student in the School Psychology doctoral program and a Doctoral Fellow in Associate Professor Mark D. Terjesen, Ph.D.,’s lab, is one of only three students around the country to receive the Anastasi Graduate Student Research Award from the American Psychological Association (APA) Division 52 for International Psychology

The Anastasi Graduate Student Research Award is named for Anne Anastasi, who was president of the APA in 1965 and awarded the National Medal of Science in 1987. Anastasi made major conceptual contributions to the understanding of environmental and experiential factors as influencing individuals’ text experiences and assessment measures. The award recognizes outstanding graduate student research, with priority given to research that focuses on psychometrics and differential psychology. It is funded by a donation to Division 52 from the Anne Anastasi Foundation, and award recipients are chosen based on the student’s vitae, research plan, and a supporting letter from an advising faculty member.

Hicks received the award for her research on the use of translated English measures with youth in several different countries. She will present a poster entitled, “Psychometrics of the Sleep Disorders Inventory for Students and International Assessment of Sleep,” and give a talk, “Wake-Up Call for Global Researchers: Examining Sleep Disorders in Youth,” as part of the “Becoming a Global Scientist: Strategies and Challenges for School-Based Research” symposium at the APA’s 125th Annual Convention in Washington, D.C., from August 3-6, 2017. Hicks will receive $300, which will help to offset travel costs for the convention, and an award certificate.

Many countries use assessment measures originally developed for English-speaking or Western youth in their own countries without determining whether those measures are fit for use with other populations. Hicks investigates how effectively tests of emotions, thoughts, and behaviors measure these constructs in countries such as Vietnam, South Africa, Serbia, and Italy. She does this through statistically calculating the measures’ reliability and validity. She also looks to see if there are differences in the emotions, thoughts, and behaviors reported in these countries, and why these differences might exist.  Her research has grown out of her work in Terjesen’s lab, and she has chosen to focus on assessment related to sleep disorders.

“I’ve always been interested in the ways that factors such as people’s experiences, gender, culture, or sexuality influence the way they think and response to various psychological measures,” said Hicks, who came to St. John’s after completing a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology with a minor in Gender and Sexuality Studies from New York University (NYU). In addition to receiving a doctoral fellowship from the Department of Psychology, she has received a summer tuition waiver from the Graduate Division of St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences for her contributions to a social media marketing analysis project. She has also presented her research at numerous conferences.

“I became interested in School Psychology programs because I wanted to work with kids in schools,” said Hicks. “When I came to St. John’s for my interview, I felt like the faculty cared about me as a person, not just how I would benefit their program. It’s a huge school, but the Psychology department is a small community that I fit into, and the professors are at the forefront of their research fields.”

“The school psychology program is very proud of the research that Ashley has done,” said Terjesen. “She truly represents the mission and vision of St. John’s University and that of the school psychology program. I have been very fortunate to work with Ashley for the last two years and she has truly has embodied a ‘global scientist’ approach, working to influence the practice of psychology among youth internationally. The recognition she is receiving at the APA conference is well-deserved and she will represent St. John’s very nicely. We look forward to seeing where her work takes her next.”