Candidate Statements for Division 20. Adult Development and Aging

Please note that the submission of a candidate statement was voluntary, so not all candidates listed on the ballot will have a statement.

Candidate: Jennifer Margrett, PhD

Office: President-elect

Candidate Statement:

As psychologists, we serve a vital role in addressing global grand challenges related to health and wellness, longevity and families, disparities, and behavior change. As an organization, I believe that we can further enhance and effectively communicate the translational value of our work and increase the collective impact of our practice, research, education, and outreach. If elected, I will work to maximize our division’s efforts in these areas and in doing so also extend existing efforts by division leadership to grow our division and train the next generation of professionals.

Members of our division add value to and can benefit from interdisciplinary collaboration. My professional experiences provide me with a strong background in interdisciplinary research, education and training, and outreach. As Director of the Iowa State Gerontology Program, I led efforts to launch new interdepartmental graduate degree programs in Gerontology and served as Gerontology faculty chair for the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (GP-IDEA), a consortium of seven partnering universities. My research, teaching, and leadership roles emphasize interdisciplinary collaborations including integration of Extension Outreach, organizational partners, and stakeholders.

To this role, I bring commitment and history of service to the Association and field serving Division 20 as Executive Committee graduate student representative (1998-1999), newsletter co-editor (2002-2010), and Member-at-Large (2015-2018). I serve as Associate Editor for Aging and Mental Health and editorial board member for the International Journal of Aging and Human Development. I am a fellow of the American Psychological Association-Division 20 and the Gerontological Society of America.




Candidate: Gregory C. Smith, EdD

Office: President-elect

Candidate Statement:

Gregory C. Smith is Professor and Director of the Human Development Center in the School of Lifespan Development and Educational Sciences at Kent State University. He received his Master’s in Experimental Psychology from Villanova University (1979), and his doctorate in the Psychology of Aging (1983) from the University of Rochester. His research focuses on stress, coping and well-being in later life families, including the development and testing of psychoeducational interventions within longitudinal randomized clinical trials. Dr. Smith has received over seven million dollars of external research funding from the National Institute on Aging, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the National Institute on Nursing Research. He has served on scientific peer review panels for diverse funding agencies (the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Center for Disease Control, Alzheimer’s Association of America, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research), and is a Standing Member of the Community Level Health Promotion Study Section of NIH (2014-2020). Dr. Smith was Associate Editor (2007-2012) and Editor-in-Chief (2012-2015) for the International Journal of Aging and Human Development (IJAHD), and is presently on the Editorial Boards of Developmental Psychology, Family Relations, and IJAHD. Dr. Smith is a Fellow of two APA divisions (20 and 43), as well as of the Gerontological Society of America (Behavioral and Social Sciences). He has served on Executive Committees for both APA Division 20 and GSA. From 2001 -2005, he chaired Division 20’s Continuing Education Committee. Dr. Smith received the Presidential Excellence Award from Kent State University in 2017.




Candidate: Kelly E. Cichy, PhD

Office: Member-at-Large

Candidate Statement:

Kelly E. Cichy, PhD, is an Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) at Kent State University. She received a B.S. in Psychology from Xavier University, and her Master’s and PhD in Human Development and Family Studies from The Pennsylvania State University. Her research examines the links between social relationships and health via two-related lines of inquiry. Her first line of inquiry seeks to understand the health implications of stressful experiences involving family (e.g., conflict, social support demands), particularly within African American families. Her work has demonstrated that providing support to family takes an emotional toll on African Americans and exacerbates reactivity to stress. Her second line of inquiry focuses on family relationships in later life and explores how experiences in this tie have implications for both aging parents and their adult children. Across both lines of inquiry, her research combines different methodological approaches, including daily diary procedures, multilevel modeling, and videotaped observations to understand how relational experiences influence health and well-being during midlife and later adulthood. She serves as a research mentor to undergraduate and graduate students, and she teaches courses in gerontology, family science, and lifespan development. She has presented her research at the annual meetings of the Gerontological Society of America (GSA), where she currently serves as the Minority Issues in Gerontology Committee Representative for the Behavioral and Social Sciences section. She is excited about the opportunity to continue to serve the profession through mentorship and advocacy as a Member-at-Large for Division 20 of APA.




Candidate: Brennan R. Payne, PhD

Office: Member-at-Large

Candidate Statement:

Brennan R Payne, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Utah, where he also holds appointments at the Center on Aging and the Neuroscience Program. He received his BA in Psychology and Cognitive Science from the State University of New York at Oswego (2009) and his MS (2012) and PhD (2014) in the Cognitive Science of Teaching and Learning at the University of Illinois. His research program is a marriage of both basic and applied perspectives guided towards (1) understanding the cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying developmental changes in language and memory systems with advancing age, (2) developing theory-driven approaches to support adult cognitive and brain health, and (3) examining the factors that predict responsiveness to behavioral interventions in older adulthood. He adopts an interdisciplinary approach to this work, merging theoretical models and methods from the cognitive and brain sciences, gerontology, and quantitative psychology. Since 2011, he has published 35 articles or chapters, which have appeared in outlets such as Psychology and Aging, The Journal of Gerontology, Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, and Cognition, among others. In 2017, he received an APA Early Career Award from Division 3 (Society for Experimental Psychology and Cognitive Science) and was named a Rising Star by the Association for Psychological Science.




Candidate: Nancy L. Sin, PhD

Office: Member-at-Large

Candidate Statement:

Nancy L. Sin, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Health Psychology at the University of British Columbia. She received her PhD in Social/Personality Psychology from the University of California, Riverside, where her training focused on well-being and aging. She then completed postdoctoral research fellowships in geriatrics at the University of California, San Francisco and in gerontology at The Pennsylvania State University.

Dr. Sin’s research focuses on biological and behavioral pathways linking daily well-being and stress to health outcomes and optimal aging. Her work has shown that emotional responses to daily stressors are associated with inflammatory, neuroendocrine, and autonomic mechanisms that are implicated in the development of aging-related conditions. Dr. Sin is particularly interested in daily positive events as protective factors for stress processes and health. She has received funding from the National Institute on Aging.

Dr. Sin teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in health psychology, in addition to serving as a mentor for undergraduate, MA, and PhD students. She is actively involved in service to the profession, including reviewing for international journals and funding agencies, chairing symposia for the Gerontological Society of America annual meetings, and giving lectures on healthy aging to academic and general audiences.




Candidate: Jenessa C. Steele, PhD

Office: Member-at-Large

Candidate Statement:

Jenessa Steele received her PhD in Lifespan Developmental Psychology from West Virginia University. Dr. Steele is currently a Professor of Psychology at Radford University (Radford, VA), where she holds an additional appointment as the Associate Director in the Office of Undergraduate Research and Scholarship. She regularly serves as the primary chair on masters theses in the Experimental Psychology program and a contributing committee member on several dissertation projects in the PsyD Clinical-Counseling PsyD program. Dr. Steele teaches undergraduate courses in Lifespan Developmental Psychology, Maturity and Aging, and upper-level Integrative Research Methods. She also teaches graduate courses in Research Methods. She has served on the Gerontology Work Group at Radford University to establish a post-baccalaureate Interprofessional Gerontology Certificate. Dr. Steele’s research interests remain collaborative among faculty, undergraduate and graduate students and range from partnering with I/O faculty members to investigate age and gender differences in perceptions of positive and negative work behaviors to working with PsyD faculty to study how age and gender might impact physician choice. More recently, Dr. Steele has allowed her teaching to inform her research, and is focused on improving the standardization and delivery methods of non-pharmaceutical, everyday activities to adults with moderate to severe dementia. She regularly presents her research at Gerontological Society of America (GSA), American Psychological Association (APA), Southern Gerontological Society (SGS), and Southeastern Psychological Association (SEPA). Dr. Steele also served as an ad-hoc review for the International Journal of Human Development and various other journals.