University of Pittsburgh
February 12, 2016

Rising Stars of the Psychological Sciences

Three faculty members honored by the Association for Psychological Science for early career accomplishments and potential for achievements and contributions
Contact:  412-624-4147

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PITTSBURGH—Three University of Pittsburgh faculty members have been awarded the Association for Psychological Science’s Rising Star designation. The honor recognizes psychology researchers in the earliest stages of their careers, whose innovative work has advanced the field and signals potential for continued contributions.

Pitt’s APS Rising Stars are Melissa-Evelyn Libertus, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology within the Kenneth P. Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences and a research scientist at the Learning Research and Development Center; Rebecca B. Price, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry; and Ming-Te Wang, an associate professor in the School of Education and Department of Psychology and a research scientist at the Learning Research and Development Center.

Pitt’s designees are the sole APS Rising Stars teaching within higher education institutions in Southwestern Pennsylvania. In having multiple Rising Star designees, Pitt joins the company of such other notable institutions as Harvard University, The Ohio State University, Rutgers University, the University of Oxford, and Vanderbilt University.

Biographical information on Pitt’s Association for Psychological Science’s Rising Stars follows:

Melissa-Evelyn Libertus’ research focuses on the understanding of how children perceive and learn mathematical concepts. The Melissa-Evelyn Libertuslong-range goals of her work seek to identify key factors in the successful learning of mathematics. Libertus’ endeavors contribute to a field of study that develops programs for improving youth learning in the science, technology, engineering, and math education (STEM) fields.

Libertus’ research has been prominently featured in The New York Times, National Geographic, and The Washington Post, amongst other national publications. She has published 29 peer-reviewed scholarly articles—15 as the first author—in some of the most respected scholarly journals in the nation. Her article “Number sense in infancy predicts mathematical abilities in childhood” was recognized among Discover Magazine’s top 100 stories of 2013. Additionally, the article “Preschool acuity of the approximate number system correlates with school math ability” was ranked among Developmental Science’s top five downloads of 2013.

Libertus was awarded the Early Career Award from the International Mind, Brain and Education Society in 2014 and Developmental Science’s Early Career Research Prize in 2011. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in cognitive science at the University of Osnabrück, in Germany, in 2004 as well as a Master of Arts and a PhD degree in psychology and neuroscience at Duke University in 2006 and 2010, respectively.

Rebecca B. Price dedicates her scholarly pursuits to identifying neurocognitive factors that possess a relationship with human anxiety, Rebecca B. Pricedepression, and suicidality. She is especially interested in developing computer-based interventions that target brain function and predicting the best treatment option to match an individual patient’s needs. Price’s recent endeavors include studies of various novel interventions for anxiety and depression, including studies of the effects of intravenous ketamine on suicidal cognition.

In addition to her faculty position at Pitt, Price serves as the president of the Neurocognitive Therapies/Translational Research Special Interest Group within the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies. She also is a member of the Association for Psychological Science, Society of Biological Psychiatry, and Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Price has presented her research at scientific conferences around the world and has published peer-reviewed articles in such notable journals as Biological Psychiatry, the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, and Translational Psychiatry.

Price was honored with the Donald F. Klein Early Career Investigator Award from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America in 2014 and a Career Development Award from the National Institute of Mental Health in 2013. Price earned a Bachelor of Science degree in cognitive science at Stanford University in 2002 as well as a Master of Science and a PhD degree in clinical psychology at Rutgers University in 2007 and 2011, respectively.

In addition to his Pitt faculty position, Ming-Te Wang is the chair of Pitt’s Developmental and Motivation Research Lab. He is a top Ming-Te Wangresearcher in identifying sociocultural and psychological factors that determine whether children study hard in school and the methods by which they do so. His work draws attention to the need for enhanced educational resilience methods in children by focusing on their learning environments, both in and out of school. Wang’s research also underscores the necessity for taking a variety of sociocultural and contextual factors into account when developing interventions that target academic and behavioral problems and promote motivation and engagement.

Wang’s work has been published in a range of leading professional psychology and education journals, including Child Development, Developmental Psychology, and Psychological Science. His scholarly articles have received national media coverage in such notable publications as The Chronicle of Higher Education and The Washington Post.

Wang’s honors and distinctions include the 2015 Outstanding Early Career Research Contribution Award from the Society for Research in Child Development, the 2014 Outstanding Early Career Research Award from the American Psychological Association, and the 2012 Outstanding Early Career Research Award from the American Educational Research Association. Wang earned both a master’s and a doctoral degree in human development and psychology at Harvard University in 2006 and 2010, respectively.