Our Team

Dr. Theresa Vescio, Principal Investigator

Terri Vescio’s research seeks to understand the factors that facilitate and temper the expression of sexism, racism, and heterosexism. Within that context, Terri is interested in the interplay between the stereotypic behaviors of powerful people and the consequences that those behaviors have for the emotions, motivation, and performance of low power women, gay men, and people of color. She also studies the role of hegemonic masculinity (as a personal identity and cultural ideology) in the maintenance of the status quo via political preferences, use and acceptance of sexual violence, preferences to dominate women, acceptance of violence against people of color. She is particularly interested in how subtle and hegemonic processes reinforce and maintain the status quo.


Kathrine Lewis, Graduate Student

Kathrine (Katie) is a dual-degree PhD student in Social Psychology and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Katie’s research interests generally include gender, sexism, stigma, and interpersonal relationships. Her current research examines consequences of threats to masculinity for well-performing women, the role masculinity plays in sexual violence, and incorporating a feminist lens into the psychological study of empathy. Katie additionally examines how to increase diversity in STEM fields, including studying differential impacts of COVID-19 and instructors’ behaviors, with Dr. Nathaniel Brown from Penn State’s Mathematics department.


Katie received her B.S. in psychology with a minor in sexuality studies from The Ohio State University in 2013 and then worked as a lab manager for Dr. Jenny Crocker before beginning graduate school. Katie holds an M.S. in Social Psychology from the Pennsylvania State University. In her free time Katie enjoys attending as many concerts as possible, hiking with her dog, and recently started making stained glass art projects.

Katie's ResearchGate

Nathaniel Schermerhorn, Graduate Student

Nathaniel Schermerhorn is a dual-degree PhD student in Social Psychology and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. His current research examines hegemonic masculinity as a legitimating ideology, hegemonic masculinity's role in political attitudes, and inter-group relationships between gay men and straight men. Nathaniel's work incorporates psychological, feminist, and social theory.

Nathaniel has presented his work with Dr. Vescio at the annual meeting for the Society for Personality and Social Psychology and their work on masculinity and COVID-19 was recently featured in the New York Times.

Nathaniel's departmental and university service largely focuses on diversity, equity, and inclusion. He is also a current member of the Graduate Council and is a member of the Joint Programming and Curriculum Committee.

Originally from Massachusetts, Nathaniel earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Southern California and worked with Dr. Jennifer Overbeck. He was a middle school English Language Arts teacher in Florence, South Carolina for four years. Nathaniel holds a Master's in Public Administration and a Master's in Social Psychology from the Pennsylvania State University.

Currently Teaching: PSYCH422 (Human Sexualities)

Nathaniel's ResearchGate | Nathaniel's Twitter

Katsumi Yamaguchi-Pedroza, Graduate Student

Katsumi Yamaguchi-Pedroza is a PhD student in Social Psychology. Her research interests are broadly related to gender, intersectionality, and processes and experiences of stereotyping and prejudice. More specifically, Katsumi’s current research explores the unique threat that well-performing women of color present to white men and how sexual harassment and sexist behavior reinforce and maintain gender and racial disparities.

Katsumi received her B.A. in Psychology and a minor in Gender Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles. Prior to graduate school, she worked as a lab manager at the University of California, Irvine. In her free time, Katsumi enjoys reading, yoga, and trying new recipes!

Katsumi’s Research Gate | Katsumi’s Twitter

Current Undergraduate Research Assistants

Abbie Loviscky, Lab Manager

Abigail Loviscky is a Psychology and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies major. Her fascinations meet at the intersection of psychology, gender studies, and criminology as she is interested in studying masculine narcissism in relation to intimate partner violence perpetrators. She has worked with Dr. Vescio on a variety of masculinity threat studies, including studying the pathway from masculinity threat to increased racist attitudes, Islamophobia, and xenophobia. Abigail has also created a tolerance of intimate partner violence scale which will be the foundation of her future research. She hopes to continue her research passions by entering a social psychology graduate program.

Sarabeth Bowmaster

Sarabeth Bowmaster is a third-year Schreyer Honors Scholar majoring in Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies and Philosophy. Sarabeth has been a member of Dr. Vescio's lab since her first year as an undergraduate! Sarabeth is currently working on a project with Dr. Vescio looking at the sexualization of women (via pornography) and masculinity. She also does work examining the intersection of racism and sexual violence, while also assisting the other undergrads and graduate students with their projects. Sarabeth will complete an honors thesis in collaboration with Dr. Vescio. After her undergraduate career at Penn State, Sarabeth plans to attend graduate school to continue studying Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies. Sarabeth hopes to eventually serve as a professor and continue to conduct research!

Madeline Brown

Maddi Brown is a fourth-year Schreyer Honors Scholar double majoring in Psychology and Anthropology. She joined the lab in the winter of 2020, and this is her fourth semester in the lab. She has examined the consequences of masculinity threat for women and the degree to which people accept and reject gender fluidity in others. Maddi is currently completing her honors thesis in collaboration with Dr. Vescio. Her honors thesis examines whether threats to White men's masculinity results in increases in implicit racism within certain college populations. Following her graduation in May 2022, she hopes to pursue a graduate degree pairing Social Psychology and Social Justice. In addition to the lab, she is actively involved in the gender-inclusive National Honors fraternity, Phi Sigma Pi, and The Psychology Honors Society, Psi Chi.

Deanna Chodkowski

Deanna Chodkowski is a first-year student at Penn State and in the GPP Lab! Deanna is a psychology major and plans to also complete a minor in kinesiology. Her interest in social psychology and, more specifically, in the social psychology of gender, sexism, and social inequity more broadly began when she took Dr. Vescio's first-year psychology seminar: "Social Inequity and Social Change." Deanna is interested in studying gender and power as it relates to sports and exercise and hopes to be a sports psychologist who works with college-level athletes.

Janiyah Davis

Janiyah Davis is a third-year Schreyer Honors Scholar double-majoring in Criminology and Psychology, with an enhanced minor in Child Maltreatment and Advocacy Studies and additional minors in Anthropology and Sociology, and a certificate in Behavioral Health and Counseling Psychology. Janiyah is also a graduate student completing a masters degree in Public Policy. She joined the lab in the summer of 2021. In past research experiences, Janiyah has studied the relationship between self-perceived mate value and sociosexulaity in men and the ethics of mindifulness based K-12 programs. In collaboration wtih Dr. Vescio’s lab, she plans to complete her Honors Thesis examining examining how the adultification of girls of color results in a lack of childhood protections.

Mitch Dobbs

Mitch graduated from Penn State in 2021 with a B.A. in Psychology from the Schreyer Honors College. He's looking to go pursue a Ph.D. in psychology and still isn't very good about writing about his explicit research interests (there are several). Currently, he is a Research Assistant working with Dr. Briony Swire-Thompson at Northeastern University as a research assistant, while he remains an active member of the Vescio lab.

Ray French

Raymond French is a third-year Schreyer Honors Scholar at Penn State. He is majoring in Psychology and Sociology and has been a member of the lab since the summer of 2021. Raymond plans to complete his honors thesis with Dr. Vescio as his advisor and the thesis will examine the white supremacy within sects of feminism. His research interests mostly involve the intersection of race and gender, but he is also interested in how capitalism interacts with other social inequalities. Post his undergraduate studies, he plans to attend graduate school and study social psychology to become an academic researcher.

Karleigh Veglia

Karleigh Veglia is a senior at the Pennsylvania State University where she is majoring in Psychology with a concentration in neuroscience. She is also minoring in neuroscience and women’s studies. Her research interests are in social psychology with a concentration in how gender threats affect outgroup perceptions. She began in the Gender, Power, and Privilege lab began during the spring semester of 2020. While a member of the GPP lab, Karleigh has worked on a number of studies that have provided the basis of several local and national conference presentations. Karleigh aspires to pursue a PhD in social psychology and become a academic researcher and professor.

Morgan Zipfel

Morgan Zipfel is a third-year Schreyer Honors Scholar at Penn State. She is majoring in Psychology with a business option. Throughout her educational experiences, she has developed an interest in gender-related issues in the workplace. In collaboration with Dr. Vescio, Morgan is doing research examining the effects of threats to masculinity on sexual violence toward white women and women of color. Morgan is an active member of the service organization, Epsilon Sigma Alpha. She is also a member of Psi Chi, the International Honors Society in Psychology.

Evan Jones

Evan Jones is a second-year Schreyer Honors Scholar majoring in Psychology and History. He is fascinated by social responses to diverse gender identities and sexual orientations, and is interested in studying interactions between masculinity and sexuality across the allosexual/asexual spectrum. Evan is a hotline volunteer at a local non-profit agency called Centre Helps. He hopes to go to graduate school for psychology and one day become a practicing clinical psychologist.

Lab Alumni

Graduate Student Alumni

Sarah J. Gervais (Ph.D., 2007, Psychology and Women’s Studies), Susan Rosowski Professor of Psychology, University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

Matthew Paolucci Callahan (Ph.D., 2008, Psychology), Professor of Psychology, Sonoma State University.

Margaret A. Thomas (Ph.D., 2009, Psychology). Associate Professor of Psychology and Director of the Earlham Program for Integrated Curriculum (EPIC), Earlham College.

Jessica A. Cundiff (Ph.D., 2013, Psychology and Women’s Studies). Assistant Professor of Psychology, Missouri University of Science & Technology.

Nathaniel Ratcliff (Ph.D., 2016, Psychology). Research Assistant Professor, Social and Decision Analytics, Biocomplexity Institute and Initiative. The University of Virginia.

Kevin Weaver (Ph.D., 2017, Psychology and Women’s Studies). Analyst, FactWorks, San Mateo, CA.

Jonathan Gallegos (Ph.D., 2019, Psychology). Post-Doctoral Research Associate. The University of Washington, Seattle, WA.

Affiliated Graduate Student Alumni

Brooke A. Di Leone (Ph.D., 2012, Psychology). Director of Research, Evaluation, and Data. AccessMatters. Org: Transforming Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health.

Julia Dahl (Ph.D., 2018). Senior Research Psychologist, Health and Resilience Research at the Office of People Analytics, U.S. Department of Defense.

Troy Steiner (Ph.D., 2020, Psychology). Instructional Faculty. University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Previous Undergraduate Research Assistants

Taya Cohen. Associate Professor of Organizational Behavior and Theory, Carnegie Mellon University.

Valerie Earnshaw. Associate Professor of Education and Human Development. University of Delaware.

David Butz.

Kristin Davies. Associate Professor of Behavioral Sciences, York College CUNY.

Ann Hoover. Associate Professor of Psychology, University of South Carolina Upstate.

Jason Moser, Associate Professor of Psychology, Michigan State University.

Larissa Heiphetz. Assistant Professor of Psychology, Columbia University.

Kathryn Dlugos, Assistant Professor, Human Resource Management, the Pennsylvania State University.

Maria Sanchez. Graduate Student.

Megan Nadzen, PhD candidate, Department of Psychology, University of Delaware

Jacqueline Rofe.

Sophia Mills.

Marliana Laubach.

Eden Loberant.

Kayla Bert.

Jada Scarboro, Nursing Master's Program, University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.