American Psychological Foundation

A life-changing fellowship

APF awarded Thalia R. Goldstein, a fifth-year doctoral student at Boston College, a $25,000 Esther Katz Rosen Fellowship in 2008 to study whether formal acting training is related to giftedness in social cognitive skills in children and adolescents.

The fellowship, made possible through a 1974 bequest from Esther Katz Rosen, promotes the advancement and application of knowledge related to gifted and talented children and adolescents.

Goldstein works with Ellen Winner, PhD, in the psychology department at Boston College. Goldstein’s research interests include cognitive development, particularly the study of children’s theory of mind, empathy and emotion regulation, as these capacities relate to fiction, narrative and theater (both viewing theater and acting in theater); and the study of emotion regulation in actors as a way of understanding the underpinnings of emotion regulation, which she studies with Maya Tamir, PhD.

APF caught up with Goldstein to see how the grant helped propel her career, which includes a recent National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellowship that will allow her to study for two years in the Yale University Mind and Development Lab.

Q. Why is research on the dramatic arts in relation to giftedness in children important?

A. Giftedness research has focused primarily on academic I.Q. kinds of giftedness. Some research has examined giftedness in the visual arts and music, but there has been almost no research on how giftedness in acting develops — what it takes to become a good actor, and what effects acting has on the actor. An understanding of giftedness should include an understanding of all major areas of giftedness.

Q. Why was the Esther Katz Rosen Fellowship important to you?

A. The fellowship allowed me to spend a full year focused entirely on conducting my dissertation research. Without the fellowship, I would not have been able to focus exclusively on my study. I was honored to receive it. The fellowship set the stage for my postdoctoral work, which will involve a series of studies investigating how very young children understand acting in others and how they understand role playing.

Q. What has this process taught you?

A. In crafting my application for this fellowship, I learned valuable lessons about how to ask interesting research questions and how to motivate these questions. I drew on these lessons when I developed my application for [my] postdoctoral the Mind and Development Lab at Yale University with Paul Bloom.

Student tackles intimate-partner violence with the help of an APF Scrivner grant

APF has given Marco A. Hidalgo, a doctoral candidate in clinical-community psychology at DePaul University in Chicago, the 2010 Roy Scrivner Memorial Research Grant to support his dissertation research. Hidalgo hopes to develop a behavioral screening tool for mental health providers working with men who have been in same-gender relationships involving intimate-partner violence.

In the past, Hidalgo has studied other social issues affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities, including conducting research on HIV/AIDS and ethnic-minorities who live with disabilities. Hidalgo has served as the national student representative for Div. 27 (Society for Community Research and Action) and is the research project director at the Howard Brown Health Center in Chicago.

The Roy Scrivner Memorial Research Grant encourages the study of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender family psychology and therapy through its support of promising young investigators whose graduate research is oriented toward issues in this area.

—J. Clark

Upcoming APF deadlines


  • Violet and Cyril Franks Scholarship: May 15


  • Benton-Meier Scholarships: June 1

  • Robert Fantz Award: June 1

  • Joseph B. Gittler Award: June 1

  • Violence Prevention and Intervention Grant: June 1

  • F.J. McGuigan Dissertation Award: June 1

  • APF/COGDOP Scholarships: June 15

For more information about APF’s funding programs, visit APF or contact Kim Palmer Rowsome by e-mail or at (202) 336-5622.