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Sturge-Apple named dean of AS&E graduate studies

July 21, 2016
Melissa Sturge-Apple

Melissa Sturge-Apple

Melissa Sturge-Apple, associate professor in the Department of Psychology, has been named dean of graduate studies in Arts, Sciences, and Engineering, subject to confirmation by the University’s Board of Trustees. Sturge-Apple’s appointment was announced by Peter Lennie, the Robert L. and Mary L. Sproull Dean of the Faculty of Arts, Sciences and Engineering, and she succeeds Wendi Heinzelman who recently became dean of the Hajim School of Engineering & Applied Sciences.

As dean of graduate studies, Sturge-Apple will continue to strengthen and grow graduate programs, and provide cohesion for graduate studies so that master’s and doctoral students have a strong connection to AS&E.

“I am delighted that Melissa has joined us as dean,” said Lennie. “She brings multiple talents to the office, and we’re assured of continued strong and energetic leadership in this very important position.”

Sturge-Apple was named associate professor of psychology in 2015 after serving as assistant professor from 2009-2013, and Wilmot Assistant Professor in Social Sciences from 2013-2015.  From 2006-2009,  she was a research associate at the University-affiliated Mt. Hope Family Center, which provides evidence-based intervention and prevention services to at-risk children and families in the Rochester community. An accomplished scholar, her research examines how family relationships impact child development with an emphasis on children’s neurobiological and psychological functioning, and the relationships between parental conflict, parenting, and children’s functioning and how patterns of relationships in families change through time. She also co-directs the University’s Rochester Center for Research on Children and Families, which seeks to better understand how children adjust to family challenges and relationship processes.

Her research has resulted in more than 50 publications co-authored with students and collaborators, and she was the recipient of the Reuben Hill Research and Theory Award from the National Council on Family Relations. She is also associate editor at the Journal of Family Psychology and on the editorial board for Development and Psychopathology, as well as grant review groups at the National Institutes of Health. At the University, she gives her time to mentoring programs and groups focused on supporting at-risk students, and she was instrumental in developing an advanced training certificate for graduate students.

“I am honored to have been selected for this post and I am excited to continue and build on Wendi’s incredible work during her tenure as dean as well as contribute to the ongoing mission of AS&E,” said Sturge-Apple.  “Graduate training is vital to the health of the academy as well as society as a whole and I look forward to working with our exceptional graduate students at Rochester.”

A University alumnus, she received her bachelor’s degree in psychology and economics in 1992. She then went on to earn a master’s degree in counseling and human development from Harvard University, and master’s and Ph.D. degrees in developmental psychology from the University of Notre Dame.

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