Staten Island Student Wins Prestigious Psychology Award
“Vocal fry” has emerged in recent years to describe a speech pattern associated with young, urban women, but relatively little research has been devoted to this speaking style. To meet that need, Ashley D’Agosto, along with her faculty advisor, Professor Miguel Roig, Ph.D., conducted a study and presented their findings at the 2018 Meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association (EPA) at the Downtown Marriott in Philadelphia, PA from March 1-3, 2018.
At the meeting, Ms. D’Agosto received the Psi Chi EPA Regional Research Award, which provides $400 to students submitting the best research papers to Psi Chi sessions at regional conventions. She was also recognized with a certificate, a Psi Chi EPA Regional Research Award Winner poster tag, and a ribbon to display on her conference nametag. Ms. D’Agosto presented her poster twice during the conference: first, at the Psi Chi Awards Ceremony on Friday, March 2, and again at her accepted poster session.
“It was such an honor to be recognized at EPA,” said Ms. D’Agosto. “I am truly grateful for the resources St. John's has provided me with and am especially thankful for the caring professors who have believed in me since day one."
The selection process for the Psi Chi award is highly competitive; two blind reviewers not affiliated to St. John’s University assessed Ms. D’Agosto’s work and chose her as a winner. She is the only recipient from New York for 2018. Ms. D’Agosto and the other award recipients will be listed on Psi Chi’s website and in an upcoming issue of Eye on Psi Chi, the organization’s quarterly publication.
Said Dr. Roig: “Our joint study, for which Ms. D’Agosto earned the Psi Chi award at this year’s meeting of the Eastern Psychological Association, was unique in that it was truly a collaborative project between the two of us, as opposed to the more traditional approach of students who usually assist me with my own research projects. In Ms. D’Agosto’s case, the idea for our study grew quite organically from a simple after-class conversation about current speaking styles. She stuck with the topic and followed through by doing the background research, getting the voice stimuli from other researchers who had worked on the topic, and assisting with the data analysis and the writing. I am happy to report that we are now planning our second study together.”
Ms. D’Agosto, a double major in Psychology and Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, attends the Staten Island campus. She grew up on Staten Island, attending St. Joseph By the Sea High School, and decided to attend St. John’s University because of its proximity to her family and the full scholarship she received. She is currently involved with research transcribing language samples of individuals with Fragile X, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and Down Syndrome under the supervision of Assistant Professor Gary E. Martin, Ph.D.
“Ms. D’Agosto easily ranks among my top independent study students to date,” said Dr. Martin. “I have been thoroughly impressed with her attention to detail, dependability, insightful comments about the research process and literature, and overall can-do attitude that has contributed to the positive environment of my lab.”
Ms. D’Agosto is an active member of several honor societies and professional organizations including: Psi Chi, the Psychology Honor Society; the National Society of Leadership and Success; the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA); and the St. John’s University Psychology Club. She was previously a member of: Omicron Delta Kappa, the National Leadership Honor Society; Lambda Kappa Phi, the Arts and Sciences Honor Society; and Phi Eta Sigma, the National Honor Society for First-Year Collegiate. Ms. D’Agosto has been on the Dean’s List at St. John’s since matriculating as a first-year student in 2015. She has worked on campus as an Orientation Leader for Student Life and as a Major Mentor for Career Services.
Off-campus, Ms. D’Agosto teaches religion to first-grade children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Down Syndrome at St. Joseph-St. Thomas Parish and serves as a direct support professional for a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder at Person Centered Care Services on Staten Island. She previously volunteered as a teacher’s assistant at the Seton Foundation for Learning.
“Ms. D’Agosto is a remarkable student with a strong motivation for learning and independent research,” said Associate Dean and Associate Professor of Psychology Carolyn Vigorito, Ph.D., whom Ms. D’Agosto identifies as a mentor. “Many of our discussions have focused on something she has read and wants to relate to ideas in psychology that we have covered in class. Ms. D’Agosto is also a fun, positive, dynamic student who thoroughly enjoys St. John's and all that she is doing both in and outside of the classroom. I expect to hear great things about her success in the future.”