Psychology Department

MA in Psychological Science

The Master of Arts in Psychology: Option in Psychological Science

Informational Seminar

Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2023, 5–6:30 p.m.
Join us via Zoom

Are you interested in learning more about the Master of Arts in Psychology: Option in Psychological Science program here at Chico State?

Dr. Patrick Johnson, Psychological Science MA Program Coordinator, will be hosting a FREE informational seminar about the program on Wed. December 13th from 5:00-6:30pm via Zoom. Please email if you would like to register. This seminar will cover all of the basic information about the program including:

  1. Admission Requirements and Pre-requisite Courses
  2. Psychological Science Curriculum and Program Plan of Study including course schedules
  3. Program Goals, Objectives, and Learning Outcomes
  4. And more…

On this page you can find detailed information about the Psychological Science program. Specifically, you can find:

Program description

This program prepares students for doctoral work in psychology and/or for teaching at the community college level. Content course work is broad and encompasses major areas of academic psychology. Graduate content courses and seminars include human development, human learning, advanced general psychology, and contemporary issues. Methodology courses are required in psychometrics, research methods, and advanced statistics. A broad psychology background is the preparation most desired by doctoral programs. A broad psychology background is also the best preparation for teaching a variety of academic courses at the community college level. Research experience is emphasized in the research assistantship and in the required thesis or empirical research manuscript. Students acquire research experience with a selected faculty member, becoming part of their ongoing research activities. Teaching experience, including supervised teaching in the classroom, is invaluable for a teaching career, and most doctoral programs expect students to serve as teaching assistants. The research emphases and teaching interests of the faculty are diverse, encompassing both experimental and nonexperimental orientations, and representing areas such as biopsychology, cognition and learning, developmental, cross-cultural, perception, and social and personality psychology.

Our current students

Meet the students in the 2022-2023 and 2023-2024 cohorts:

Psychological Science Students

Second-year students (standing, from left to right): Daniel B., Recamier, Rocci, Emily, Daniel P., and Arely.

First-year students (seated, from left to right): Dylan, Marina, Daniel M., Elly, Isabella, Rory, Dulshi, and Jose.

  • Isabella
  • Name: Isabella Avalos
  • Hometown: Visalia, CA
  • Research interests: My research interests include how the effects of emotion regulation strategies influence maladaptive behaviors, such as impulsive decision-making in regard to substance use.
  • Future plans: After I complete the Psychological Science program, I plan to pursue a doctoral program sometime in the future in which I can continue my research and learn about the clinical applications of psychology.
  • Rory
  • Name: Rory Ferguson
  • Hometown: Chico, CA
  • Research interests: My research interests are in the study of learning and memory, and how everyone's cognitive processes are different. My passion in this area of study stems from an interest in developing methods to increase our cognitive function, as everyone's cognitive function is different. I also have an interest in how various genetic and environmental factors could influence one's learning and memory.
  • Future plans: After completing my Masters degree, I plan to apply to PhD programs with the goal of being a researcher and professor.
  • Dulshi
  • Name: Dulshi Fernando
  • Hometown: Las Vegas, NV
  • Research interests: I am interested in studying how the intersectionality of different cultural identities can affect one's personal and academic identity.
  • Future plans: After completing my Master's degree, I plan to complete my Ph.D. to further my skills as a researcher and eventually utilize my skills in a non-profit organization.
  • Jose
  • Name: Jose Gonzalez-Ayala
  • Hometown: Willows, CA
  • Research interests: I am primarily interested in how conceptual systems of belief, such as religion and spirituality, affect an individual's self-perception, and how this, ultimately, influences an individual's behavior and decision-making. I am also interested in how cultural family roles shape an individual's self-perception and understanding, specifically, in Hispanic and Latino/a communities.
  • Future plans: After completing my Master's degree, I plan on teaching at a community college level and pursuing a Ph.D. to reach my goal of becoming a professor while continuing my research in behavior.
  • Berumen
  • Name: Marina Joss
  • Hometown: Redding, CA
  • Research interests: I am interested in examining how we define our self-narrative and how this perception of identity is affected by our developmental stages, life experiences, and social interactions.
  • Future plans: I plan to pursue a PhD in psychology and further continue my research. My long-term goal is to become a professor at a university.
  • Daniel
  • Name: Daniel Maines
  • Hometown: Hillsboro, OR
  • Research interests: I am interested in investigating Grit as it relates to academic achievement. I would like to try to disentangle the components of Grit and see if the underlying mechanisms working within the concept of Grit can be more fully understood.
  • Future plans: I am interested in teaching psychology at the college level. After completing this program I would like to find a teaching position at a community college where I can help guide future students in the field of psychology.
  • Elly
  • Name: Elly O'Bryant
  • Hometown: Concord, CA
  • Research interests: I am interested in the influences on the developing adolescent brain and vulnerability to addiction. I am also interested in the symptoms following brain injury and the needs of brain injury survivors.
  • Future plans: After I complete my Master's degree, I will be applying to PhD programs and pursuing a career in the field of neuropsychology.
  • Dylan
  • Name: Dylan White
  • Hometown: Clayton, CA
  • Research interests: Criminal psychology and Behavioral psychology.
  • Future plans: Work for a federal law enforcement agency.
  • Berumen
  • Name: Daniel Berumen
  • Hometown: Rialto, CA
  • Research interests: I'm interested in the concept of spirituality and how it defines and affects us.
  • Future plans: After achieving my Masters, I plan to continue my education and attend a PhD. program. My overall Plan is to become a professor and continue my research.
  • Jauregui-Ocampo
  • Name: Recamier Jauregui-Ocampo
  • Hometown: Oroville, CA
  • Research interests: I am interested in studying the role of stress, social environment, and substance abuse in mental health from a behavioral and biological perspective, especially the resulting neurobiological response and behaviors in the developing brain.
  • Future plans: Once I complete the Psychological Science program, I aspire to pursue a PhD to achieve my goal of becoming a Clinical Neuropsychologist and/or neuroscience/psychology professor.
  • Mansilla
  • Name: Emily Mansilla
  • Hometown: Chico, CA
  • Research interests: I am currently interested researching decision making and its influence on maladaptive behaviors, as well as exploring how various mental illness interact with decision making and self-control/impulsivity. I’d like to work with researchers interested in identifying interventions to target maladaptive decision making.
  • Future plans: After completing my Master’s degree, I plan to apply to PhD programs to further my teaching skills and continue my research career. I’d like to take advantage of predoctoral research programs to prepare me for the shift to a PhD program. Overall, I’d like to be a professor at a university teaching social and behavioral psychology while completing research with my students.
  • Papasergia
  • Name: Daniel Papasergia
  • Hometown: Bakersfield, CA
  • Research interests: I am interested in studying the influences of memory and environment on drug abuse and withdrawal.
  • Future plans: After my MA in Psychological Science, I plan to begin my career teaching Psychology at the Community College level.
  • Saldana
  • Name: Arely Saldana
  • Hometown: Jalisco, México
  • Research interests: Perception, memory, and cognitive bias in criminal trials, the effects of media on the legal system, and prison reform based on scientific evidence. I’m also interested in the effects of experiencing natural disasters on academic performance.
  • Future plans: After I graduate from the Master’s Program, I plan to apply to doctoral programs in Clinical Psychology or joint Ph. D/J.D. programs. I want to conduct research relevant to the criminal justice system while teaching at a university level.
  • Vizzusi
  • Name: Rocci Vizzusi
  • Hometown: Modesto, CA
  • Research interests: I am primarily interested in variables related to the self and their implications for psychopathology or well-being. I am also fascinated by the application of dynamical systems theory to topics in social psychology.
  • Future plans: Following the completion of this program, I plan to pursue my doctorate in social psychology with the goal of becoming a researcher and professor.

Interested in learning more about the MA in Psychological Science program? Contact this year’s Student Ambassador, Arely Saldana!

Arely Saldana, Psychological Science AmbassadorHi there! My name is Arely Saldana, and I am in my second year as a Psychological Science graduate student. I graduated from Chico State in 2020 with my B.A. in Psychology with Honors in the major and a minor in criminal justice. In the past couple of years, I have come to consider the Chico State Psychology Department my second home. As such, I had a great time working on research with outstanding faculty, learning about the exciting world of psychology, and having the most intellectually stimulating discussions. I understand firsthand the struggles of being a first-generation college student and how daunting it can be to dive into academia without guidance or previous experience. Still, I believe resilience and dedication are key to success. As this year's Psychological Science program student ambassador, I am more than happy to share my experience and answer any questions you may have about the program and the resources available. Please don't hesitate to reach out to me at

Application information

Application Instructions

Interested in applying to the Psychological Science MA program?

We have prepared a separate page with complete application instructions(opens in new window).

Potential Mentors

The following faculty are open to the idea of possibly accepting new Psychological Science applicants into their research programs. We strongly suggest that you consider these specific faculty members as potential mentors when completing your application.

Dr. Shawn Bates

Shawn Bates


Dr. Bates is broadly interested in adolescent drug use and environmental factors that may contribute to it. More specifically, in his lab, students explore how social environment or stress affect the likelihood of using drugs in adolescence and how drugs change the adolescent brain. Feel free to reach out!

Dr. Sarah DeMartini

Sarah DeMartini


My research focuses on coparenting across the transition to parenthood, and more recently, across the transition to having a second child. My work explores how coparenting quality is affected by individual parents’ behaviors within observed whole-family interactions. I am also interested in examining the relation of coparenting quality to young children’s socioemotional outcomes and the sibling relationship.

Dr. Andrés García-Penagos

Andrés García-Penagos


I have broad interests in the experimental analysis of human behavior including particularly the issues of behavioral rigidity and behavioral flexibility, decision making, choice, and symbolic behavior, particularly in social situations, both in the lab and in naturalistic settings. I also have interests in social cognition and social coordination and action. Finally, I have interests in the psychology of food and eating. In addition to this experimental areas, I am very fond of conceptual/philosophical work.

Dr. Patrick Johnson

Patrick Johnson


I’m interested in the effects of economic variables (e.g., price, delay, probability, effort) on human decision-making. In many of our studies, my students and I focus on interactions between trait or state factors and environmental conditions that promote self-control or impulsivity with respect to different commodities (e.g., sex, drugs, food, technology). I’m ultimately interested in understanding the mechanisms underlying choice and applying this knowledge to prevention and treatment efforts for various maladaptive behaviors.

Dr. Marie Lippmann

Marie Lippmann


I am fascinated by the ways we process information about the world and about each other. My research is at the nexus of educational, cognitive, and social psychology. Currently, my students and I are investigating informal online learning, prejudice and bias in digital communication, mindfulness in education, and predictors of student success and resilience. In addition, I am interested in non-normative relationship structures and comprehensive sexuality education.

Dr. Richard Tafalla

Richard Tafalla


I can supervise students in the area of psychophysiology, health psychology, and environmental psychology. I have done extensive research in stress, noise and violent video games.

Dr. Martin van den Berg

Martin van den Berg


My interests are in cognitive/experimental psychology. I am trained as a cognitive psychologist, and my main area of expertise is visual perception, more specifically perceptual organization. However, I have a broad interest in cognitive psychology and I can get excited about lots of topics that involve the investigation of mental processes and the factors that influence how information gets processed. Additionally, with my interest in experimental psychology, I also enjoy research projects that require an interesting methodology. As such I have supervised topics in a variety of topics, from the effectiveness of a mindfulness program for the increase of working memory capacity to an investigation of the factors that promote adherence to an exercise program.

Dr. Bo Yeong Won

Bo Yeong Won


My research program integrates experimental and cognitive psychology approaches to address fundamental questions about attention, perception, and memory. One of my broad scopes of research interest is the selective mechanisms of visual attention and working memory in search behavior. For example, to find Wally in a “where’s Wally” book, we should maintain the information about Wally in memory (i.e., a template in working memory) while looking for Wally in the book to compare the “Wally” template to each visual object on the book. We repeat this process until we finally find the one. In my lab, I study the whole cognitive processes (working memory, attention, and decision making) using online and offline behavioral experiments.

Dr. Alexander Wong

Alexander Wong


I research topics on self, identity, and narrative. It interests me how people understand themselves. The identities, self-understandings, and stories people tell about themselves matter because they are not simply inert, descriptive objects. Rather, they are powerful organizers of everyday life. Identity shapes how people think and feel about themselves, how rich or empty life seems, and how goals are pursued. My research has examined topics of self-esteem, self-concept, wellbeing, personality, adverse childhood experiences, and goal pursuit. I’m also interested in prejudice, discrimination, racism/sexism, gender, psychology of women, social norms, and attachment style.

Please see the  course catalog for course requirements, prerequisites for classified status, and more.

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