Learning to discover

Clinical psychology Ph.D. student Deirdre O’Shea is the recipient of the Robert and Phyllis Levitt Award

News that she had received the Robert and Phyllis Levitt Neuropsychology Award for Excellence in Clinical Neuropsychology Research couldn’t have come at a better time for Deirdre O’Shea.

O’Shea, a doctoral student in the department of clinical and health psychology, was preparing to travel across the country for internship interviews, with travel expenses totaling thousands of dollars. The Levitt scholarship helped offset those costs and relieved financial worry as she took an important next step in her career.

Even more good news came after the interviews. O’Shea learned she has matched with one of her top choices: Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University.

An alumnus of UF’s graduate programs in pharmacy and psychology, Robert Levitt, Ph.D., served on the college’s development advisory board for many years. He and his wife, Phyllis, made several gifts to the college, including the scholarship for students specializing in neuropsychology. Sadly, Robert passed away in 2014. Phyllis continues to support the college as an advisory board member and donor.

“I am so happy to support these wonderful students as my husband always loved his students,” Phyllis said.

O’Shea is well on her way toward making a significant impact on neuropsychology. Under the mentorship of Glenn Smith, Ph.D., and Ronald Cohen, Ph.D., her research has focused on understanding risk and resilience factors in age-related disorders and evaluating the efficacy of behavioral treatments for people at risk of dementia. She has already published 25 articles and two book chapters, including 11 as first author.

“This was my first academic-based award and I was excited and honored to receive it,” O’Shea said. “I am very grateful to Dr. and Mrs. Levitt for their support of UF students in neuropsychology.”

To learn how you can help students like O’Shea, contact Sam Wagner, the college’s associate director of development, at samuel.wagner@ufl.edu or 352-273-6360.