Undergraduate student spotlight

In this issue, the spotlight is on undergraduate Olena Zyga.

By Katherine Donlon, MS

Olena Zyga is a senior at Case Western Reserve University under the mentorship of Sandra Russ. She has an exceptionally strong track record in research, clinical, leadership and community endeavors within the field of pediatric psychology.

Zyga has been involved in various research projects examining topics such as pretend play and developmental disorders, neuroimaging and adolescent obesity, and the development of internalizing disorders in adolescents.

Zyga has presented her research at national and local conferences, and currently has a first-author journal submission. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including the Flora Stone Mather Alumnae Award for outstanding academic performance in psychology. For her honors thesis, she is examining pretend play processes in children with autism or Prader-Willi Syndrome.

Clinically, Zyga has experience with children affected by pediatric cancer, autism and learning disabilities. She has also held leadership roles in multiple honors societies, including Psi Chi and Phi Sigma Pi. Finally, Zyga has been involved in community-based outreach programs, including volunteering at a therapeutic riding center with children who have physical and developmental disabilities.

After graduation, Zyga plans to obtain her PhD in child clinical psychology from Case Western Reserve University. Her career goals include acquiring an academic position, where she could continue conducting research and working with clients.