Staff Profiles

Dr. Jeanette Altarriba, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education

Jeanette AltarribaDr. Jeanette Altarriba is a Professor of Psychology and a University at Albany Collins Fellow.  She received her Bachelor’s degree from Florida International University in Miami, Florida (1986).  Both her master’s degree (1988) and her Ph.D. degree (1990) in Cognitive Psychology were earned at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee.  She completed a two-year postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, under the direction of the late Dr. Keith Rayner.

Dr. Altarriba joined the University at Albany’s Department of Psychology in 1992.  She served as the Director of the Doctoral Program in Cognitive Psychology and as Chair of two departments including her home unit, as well as the Department of Communication.  She is a highly regarded teacher and mentor who has advised hundreds of students, both undergraduate and graduate, and has engaged them in successful programs of research in her Cognition and Language Laboratory.

Service has been a focus of Dr. Altarriba’s devotion to UAlbany, as she has also served as Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, for the College of Arts and Sciences, and has won numerous awards for service and teaching such as the Chancellor’s Award and the University’s Excellence Award in both domains, an Early Career Award for Teaching and Training from the American Psychological Association (APA), and the Dalmas A. Taylor Distinguished Contributions Award, also from the APA.

Dr. Marilyn Masson, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Research

Photo of Associate Dean for Undergraduate Research, Marilyn Masson

Dr. Marilyn Masson has been a faculty member in the Anthropology Department since 1996. Dr. Masson is an archaeologist who studies urban life and political economy in the Pre-Columbian era, and she has directed many NSF or National Geographic funded projects in Yucatan, Mexico and Belize. She has been dedicated to annually involving undergraduates in research since arriving at the university, mentoring over 150 students in research projects in the lab, field, coursework or independent studies in Albany and in Central America. The most rewarding aspect of introducing undergraduates to research, in her view, is witnessing the academic and personal transformation of her students into confident professionals ready to launch their careers. Engagement in research accelerates this transformation as students realize the value of their education through applications, as well as the promising potential of their contributions. In her view, undergraduates are not just learners, instead, they are valuable assets to faculty research projects who expand a project's scope and enhance its quality. Dr. Masson earned her Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in 1993, and she is a recipient of the Chancellor's Award for Teaching Excellence.

Casey Kohler, Assistant to the Dean

Casey KohlerCasey joined the Office of the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education in 2015. Casey is committed to enhancing the student experience and student success at the University at Albany through Undergraduate Research. She has brought her experience in both Student and Academic Affairs to her position to develop programming and support services for students interested in engaging in research, scholarship and creative activities. She holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Communications from SUNY Oneonta and a Masters of Science in Higher Education with a concentration in Leadership for Student Success from Walden University. Casey is a member of the Executive Board for NYSTAA as the Eastern Region Co-Chair, and maintains a membership in the Council for Undergraduate Research.

Deana Vitrano, Graduate Assistant

Deana VitranoDeana is currently pursuing her Ph.D in Cognitive Psychology at the University at Albany. She received her Bachelors of Science in Neuroscience and Psychology from Dickinson College, and her Masters of Science in Experimental Psychology from St. Joseph’s University. Engaging in research as an undergraduate played a large role in Deana’s academic career and successes, leading her to join the Department of Undergraduate Research at the University at Albany in 2017. Currently, Deana conducts research in the Learning, Memory, and Attention Laboratory at the University at Albany, focusing primarily on human memory. She also collaborates with the Cognition and Language Laboratory to study creativity and word associations, and the Visual Cognition Laboratory to study expertise using eye tracking and EEG methods. Deana is dedicated to helping undergraduates find and engage in research, scholarship, and creative activities.

Allison Wilck, Graduate Assistant

Allison WilckAllison has been working with UGR since the summer of 2016. She is currently a second year student in the Cognitive Psychology Ph.D program, after having earned a Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology and Sociology from SUNY Geneseo in 2015. As a member of the Cognition and Language Laboratory, some of her current research projects include investigations of the survival processing effect, food priming, and emotion word processing. She aspires to help instill the passion for research involvement in the undergraduate community and serve as a resource for students.