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Graduate Student Sarah Kopelovich Wins American Psychological Association Research Award

New York, NY, October 7, 2008 –  Sarah Kopelovich, a second-year graduate student in the CUNY Doctoral Program in Forensic Psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, recently won the prestigious American Psychological Association (APA) National Convention Research Award. The award was presented by Psi Chi, the National Honor Society in Psychology, at the APA’s annual national convention in August.

Ms. Kopelovich, 27, was recognized for her research titled Voice Identification as a Unique Contributor to Eyewitness Identification: Exploring the Cross-Accent Effect. The study underscored the hazards of overcredulity on voice identification testimony, the parameters of the cross race effect in visual identification, and cautions against the haphazard use of multiple independent identifiers. This study was the topic of her master’s thesis.

“Winning the APA National Convention Award felt like a testament to the importance of this research, both practically and theoretically, within the field of eyewitness identification. It also speaks to the foundational training and mentorship I’ve received at John Jay in conducting quality research and presenting these findings on a national stage,” said Ms. Kopelovich.

 “We are proud of Ms. Kopelovich for this well-deserved recognition. Her accomplishment highlights the important work of our graduate students and their contributions to the field,” said Professor Jennifer Dysart of the Psychology Department, who served as Ms. Kopelovich’s advisor on her master’s thesis.

Currently, Ms. Kopelvich is completing an externship as the Bronx Mental Health Court, a model health court for the rest of the country. She provides clinical and psychological assessments for clients being considered for diversion programs in lieu of jail or prison sentences. She expects to complete her doctorate in 2012 and plans to pursue a career in government doing research and advocacy work in mental health courts in the United States as well as clinical work.

Ms. Kopelovich, who grew up in Florida and Washington, D.C., received a bachelor’s degree in psychology and criminal justice from George Washington University in Washington, D.C.  She moved to New York to earn a master’s degree in the forensic psychology at John Jay College.

The American Psychological Association (APA) is a scientific and professional organization that represents psychology in the United States. With 148,000 members, APA is the largest association of psychologists worldwide. The mission of the APA is to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people’s lives.

About John Jay College of Criminal Justice: An international leader in educating for justice, John Jay College of Criminal Justice of The City University of New York offers a rich liberal arts and professional studies curriculum to upwards of 14,000 undergraduate and graduate students from more than 135 nations.  In teaching, scholarship and research, the College approaches justice as an applied art and science in service to society and as an ongoing conversation about fundamental human desires for fairness, equality and the rule of law. For more information, visit