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Organizational Psychology/Wellness Research Groups

  • Many members of Dr. Scherer's group participate in the annual Undergraduate Student Research and Creative Activity Fair (UCRCA)

    Learn more about UCRCA


Dr. Scherer’s Undergraduate Research Labs

Positive Psychology, Health, and Medicine (PPHM Lab)

This lab seeks to understand how positive psychology can be applied to improve health and medicine of healthcare providers as well as their patients and families.

Members

Shannon Bigler
Hailey Bartz

Hailey Bartz is a University of Nebraska at Omaha alumna, and graduated in May of 2021 with her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a concentration in Mental Health. Her current research is focusing on veteran’s trust in physician’s associated with trait forgiveness. Hailey aspires to attend PA school and ultimately work in the dermatology field to help others feel beautiful and healthy inside and out. She currently works part-time as a certified nursing assistant at the VA hospital. In her time as an undergrad, she was a member of the UNO softball team. In her moments away from school and work, she enjoys spending time at the lake, music, and relaxing with her family, friends, and two dogs.

Hailey’s top 5 signature strengths are Love, Humor, Gratitude, Social Intelligence, and Honesty.

Shannon Bigler
Shannon Bigler

Shannon Bigler is a senior at the University of Nebraska Omaha and is scheduled to graduate during the Fall 2021 semester. She is majoring in Molecular and Biomedical Biology and currently has minors in chemistry, psychology, and medical humanities. Shannon is currently doing research on the effects of dispositional mindfulness in regard to illness and disease, as well as the promotion of high physical wellness. Her goals for the future are to attend a PhD program for Clinical Psychology. After this, she plans to either continue research, work in a clinical setting, or become a professor to share her love of the mind with others. In Shannon’s free time she loves to create art, explore new places, and spend quality time with her family and friends.

Shannon’s top 5 signature strengths are Humor, Curiosity, Perspective, Love and Creativity.

Emily Champion
Emily Champion

Emily Champion is a junior at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, majoring in Molecular and Biomedical Biology and minoring in Medical Humanities and Psychology. Her overall ambition is to attend medical school with aspirations to become a pediatric physician. In the fall of 2020, Emily was awarded a research scholarship by Funding for Undergraduate and Scholarly Experiences to explore the effects of patients' perceptions and trust in physicians on patient adherence to medical treatment plan. Emily's interests outside of school include working part-time at Lakeside Hospital, serving on UNO Dance Marathon's Executive Board, and spending quality time with friends, family, and her beloved dog Wilson.

Emily’s top 5 signature strengths are Kindness, Fairness, Forgiveness, Teamwork, and Honesty.

Isha Dhakal
Isha Dhakal
Isha Dhakal is a junior at the University of Nebraska at Omaha pursuing a bachelor's in psychology with a concentration in Mental Health and a minor in Chemistry. She in on the pre-med route in hopes of becoming a psychiatrist. At UNO she is currently a Senator for the College of Arts and Science in Student Government and is a Board Member of the Women and Gender Equity Center. She currently works part-time as a pharmacy technician at CVS as well as a patient attendant at UNMC. In her free time, Isha loves to go biking and spend time with her family and friends.

Isha’s top 5 signature strengths are Love, Fairness, Curiosity, Love of Learning, and Hope.
Kiley Dinsmore
Kiley Dinsmore
Kiley Dinsmore is from Omaha and is majoring in Molecular and Biomedical Biology with minors in Medical Humanities and Chemistry. Her research interests include identifying positive psychology predictors of patient adherence to treatment plans and predictors of medical student well-being.  Kiley will apply to medical school in the future with the hope of becoming an OB-GYN. She currently works as a Patient Care Technician at Nebraska Medicine, and as an Advanced Simulation Intern for iExcel at UNMC. She is also very involved on campus. In her free time Kiley enjoys spending time with family and friends, being outside, travelling, and relaxing while watching TV shows.

Kiley’s top 5 signature strengths are Leadership, Kindness, Love, Love of Learning, and Teamwork.
Nina Fernandez
Nina Fernandez

Nina Fernandez, is a senior at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, majoring in Psychology with a concentration in Developmental Psychology and a minor in Sociology. She is aspiring to become an Occupational Therapist and hopes to attend OT school in the Fall of 2022. Currently Nina is working on research over positive psychology predictors of patient adherence to treatment plans as well as positive psychology interventions to mitigate burnout among Occupational Therapists in their career field. In her free time, Nina works a part-time job at Mosaic, volunteers at various local organizations, serves on the executive board of the Society of Aspiring Physical and Occupational Therapists(SAPOT), and is learning the guitar.
Nina’s top 5 signature strengths are Love of Learning, Fairness, Curiosity, Love, and Hope.

Ally Glaser
Ally Glaser

Ally Glaser, an Omaha, Nebraska native, is a Junior at the University of Nebraska-Omaha majoring in Neuroscience with minors in Chemistry and Psychology. She plans to graduate in May of 2022 and attend medical school in hopes of becoming a physician. Her research interests include positive psychology inventions with regards to patient wholistic health. Ally is currently studying the intervention roles music can play in human psychology. She hopes to one day apply these findings in the clinical setting to provide her future patients with not only physical health support, but also mental health maintenance within their treatment. She is a licensed SCUBA diver and a licensed pilot, and enjoys backpacking, reading, recreational sports, and talking openly with others about mental health issues.

Ally’s top 5 signature strengths are Kindness, Humor, Curiosity, Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence, and Spirituality.

Molly Grigaitis
Molly Grigaitis

Molly Grigaitis, originally from and currently residing in Omaha, Nebraska, has lived in several locations throughout the Midwest. After some travelling and experience within different occupations, at the age of 25 she completed esthetic school in Omaha. Molly then built a successful business as a self-employed esthetician. While maintaining her business she has furthered her education, establishing an associate degree with honors from Metropolitan Community College and moving on to the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Molly is majoring in Psychology with a concentration in Mental Health and a minor in Sociology. Molly is expected to graduate in Spring 2022 and is currently looking towards graduate school with the goal of developing a career as a psychodynamic/psychoanalytic therapist. Currently Molly’s research is focused on positive psychology predictors of patient adherence to treatment plans, as well as, positive psychology interventions to mitigate burnout among psychotherapists. Outside of her educational and business pursuits, Molly enjoys gardening, swimming, studying history and learning more about people.

Molly’s top 5 signature strengths are Honesty, Bravery, Creativity, Perspective, and Perseverance.

Sydney Hampton
Sydney Hampton

Sydney Hampton, from Durant, Oklahoma, is a Biology major with minors in Chemistry, Psychology and Spanish. Her research interests involve positive psychology antecedents resulting in healthcare burnout. She is currently working under her preceptor’s research team to delve into the positive psychology behind decreasing exhaustion associated within the healthcare field. Sydney aspires to attend medical school and ultimately work as an OBGYN, while simultaneously educating and supporting the next generations on the topics of their bodies. She is a pitcher for the UNO softball team and enjoys spending time with her one-year old Australian shepherd, Baker.

Sydney’s top 5 signature strengths are Humor, Gratitude, Judgment, Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence, and Kindness.

Abby Lingelbach
Abby Lingelbach

Abby Lingelbach, from Omaha, Nebraska, is majoring in Spanish language and literature with a minor in chemistry. Abby is currently focusing on positive psychology predictors of patient adherence to treatment plans and positive psychology interventions to buffer burnout among physicians in the Doctors Without Borders program. Abby will apply to medical school with the hope of working in underserved communities. She has two pugs named Georgia and Lucy.

Abby’s top 5 signature strengths are Self-Regulation, Teamwork, Honesty, Love, and Fairness.

Rose Monga
Rose Monga

Rose Monga is a bilingual student from Cameroon, Africa. She majors in Health Science with a minor is Biology. Her research interest includes how the race of a medical provider influences the patient’s willingness to seek treatment and positive psychology interventions that could help physician assistants to stay positive and avoid burnout. Rose is currently focusing on positive psychology predictors of patient’s adherence to treatment plans and positive psychology intervention to lower burnout and compassion fatigue among physician assistants. Rose’s career goal is to apply to a physician assistant program in hopes of becoming a physician assistant in family medicine. Rose has 16 nieces and nephew, fueling her desire to work in family medicine.

Rose’s top 5 signature strengths are Fairness, Forgiveness, Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence, Social Intelligence, and Zest.

Panashe Muendesi
Panashe Muendesi

Panashe Muendesi was born in Zimbabwe but grew up in Papillion, Nebraska. She is a Susan Buffett Scholar, double majoring in Medical Humanities and Multidisciplinary Studies with a Concentration in Biology. She plans to apply to medical school with ambitions to become a pediatric dermatologist in addition to staying active in her community by volunteering to provide underserved youth with greater knowledge of health and wellness. Panashe is currently focusing on positive psychology predictors of patient adherence to treatment plans and exploring positive psychology methods to harness the goodwill of the community to better serve and help underserved populations access healthcare, particularly during the pandemic. She works as a youth program coordinator at SAVE, a non-profit which provides programming to help kids reach their potential both in and outside the classroom. Panasche also works as an advanced simulation intern for iExcel at UNMC. Panashe is the youngest of six children, enjoys involvement in many UNO extra-curricular activities, practices yoga, and is an avid traveler.

Panashe’s top 5 signature strengths are Love, Spirituality, Perspective, Love of Learning, and Gratitude.

 

Positive Psychology and Well-being Among College Students Lab (PPW-C Lab)

This lab seeks to understand the stressors experienced by working college students and how principles and practices of positive psychology can serve as protective factors in reducing and even preventing negative outcomes and facilitate student flourishing.

Members

Emily McQuade
Emily McQuade

Emily McQuade was raised in Raleigh, North Carolina and then Omaha. She’s majoring in psychology with a concentration in mental health and minoring in sociology. She was elected by the UNO Psychology faculty to the position of Psychology Undergraduate Student Representative and with one other student representative provides feedback to the faculty on student issues and ideas. Her research interests include resilience and other positive psychology concepts applied to mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, bipolar, PTSD, and personality disorders. Emily’s current research, for which she was awarded a FUSE scholarship, focuses on the extent to which coping resilience serves as a protective factor in buffering the effects of life’s role demands on daytime sleepiness and sleep health in working college students. She is a co-author on a paper with Dr. Scherer, Shaina Kumar and Rae Morales that was accepted for a podium presentation at the World Congress for the International Positive Psychology Association. Emily will apply to counseling graduate programs with the hope of becoming a Licensed Mental Health Professional. She loves plants, animals, and reading. She has over 20 houseplants and four cats!

Emily’s top 5 signature strengths are Perspective, Honesty, Social Intelligence, Kindness, Creativity.

Emily McQuade
Rae Morales

Rae Morales was raised in Michigan until she moved to Omaha during her adolescent years. Rae is currently attending the University of Nebraska at Omaha to complete her undergraduate degree in Psychology with a concentration in mental health. Her research interests include positive psychology, multicultural psychology, and work-life balance. Rae’s research is currently focused on the influence of mindfulness on working college students’ stress, well-being, and school engagement. Rae received a FUSE scholarship for the 2020-2021 school year for her research project The Effects of General Stress Level on Student Burnout and Student Engagement, and she is a co-author on a paper with Dr. Scherer, Shaina Kumar and Emily McQuade that was accepted for a podium presentation at the World Congress for the International Positive Psychology Association. Rae is hoping to pursue a graduate degree in either counseling or clinical psychology. Rae’s current occupation is waitressing at the locally owned restaurants Pacific Eating House and the Twisted Cork. In her free time Rae enjoys creating art, reading, playing with her cats, and spending time with her husband.

Rae’s top 5 signature strengths are Kindness, Social Intelligence, Love, Creativity, and Judgment.


Undergraduate Research Opportunities
Working with an active research group gives students the opportunity to put book knowledge to work in a more 'real world' research setting. While textbooks often present science as a series of topics and facts, in a research group you participate in the activity of science, where answers to questions are not known, you build on the work of others, collaborate with others, gather and interpret data, and present the results for peer review and feedback.

Other Research Domains Explored
Because Psychology is such a broad area covering multiple areas of daily life, the Dr. Scherer’s undergraduate research groups have varied in their focus over the years. Some of the topic areas students have explored include:

Work-Life Conflict, Stress and Burnout
We have examined various issues relevant to the traditional areas of work-family and work-school conflict and balance among employees, volunteers, and working college students. Most recently we have expanded the non-work domains of interest to include volunteer/extracurricular and friendship/personal relationship roles. We are exploring individual and situational variables that buffer the negative influence of work-life conflict on stress and burnout.

Workplace Mistreatment and Violence
This research prong has focused on incivility, sexual harassment, bullying, workplace politics, ostracism, physical aggression and homicide in the workplace. Current efforts are focused on workplace violence prevention at universities, health care facilities, and court rooms.

Problem Solving and Decision Making and the Role of Mood & Emotion
Studies in this domain have included basic research on problem solving and decision making with particular emphasis on solution generation, alternative evaluation, and post-decisional regret. In addition, other decision-making studies have examined the role of mood, emotion, and emotional regulation of the decision making and behavior of college students, employees, and volunteers.

Volunteerism
This research has investigated numerous antecedents of volunteer engagement and burnout, with a focus on volunteer retention and well-being.

Past members and Research Fair Participants

Director

Lisa Scherer
Dr. Lisa Scherer
Dr. Lisa Scherer received her BA, MA, and PhD. from the Ohio State University, specializing in Industrial-Organizational (I/O) Psychology. In addition to serving in the psychology department, she is a faculty member for the Medical Humanities undergraduate program and the interdisciplinary, online graduate program in Critical and Creative Thought (CACT). She represents the Organizational Science and Leadership Concentration on the Graduate Leadership Committee for the CACT program. She has served as a research mentor for more than 100 graduate students in I/O Psychology and 8 students in the CACT graduate program. She is active in the International Positive Psychology Association and in the Society for Occupational Health Psychology, focusing on employee, volunteer and student well-being, particularly through the application of positive psychology tools and strengths use and resilience. She has taught research skills and led over 300 undergraduate students conducting studies via Independent Study, Senior Thesis courses and FUSE grants. She has taught 18 different courses at both the graduate and undergraduate level. She has been awarded both the University of Nebraska at Omaha's Excellence in Teaching Award and the Outstanding Graduate Student Mentoring Award. As the former director of the UNO Volunteer Program Assessment outreach, Dr. Scherer provided consulting services to over 50 non-profit organizations to enhance volunteer program success, representing over 1.5 million of in-kind donations. Her signature strengths are Spirituality, Creativity, Leadership, Zest, and Love of Learning

For more information about undergraduate research in Psychology, contact Dr. Lisa Scherer.