Psyched to Dance


Alumnus Discovers Unknown Passion at Allegheny

It was 2007 – the first semester of Carlos Blandino-Lopez’s freshman year.

Thinking that he someday wanted to be a doctor, he walked into the David V. Wise Sport & Fitness Center preparing to register only for neuroscience classes.

At that time, the course registration process “was like a school fair,” Blandino-Lopez says, with students walking from table to table learning about the different classes available.

That’s when Tom Erdos, a former dance and movement studies faculty member, motioned Blandino-Lopez over to his table. He said he needed more men in his ballroom class.

“I thought sure, why not?” Blandino-Lopez says as he jotted down his name on the Introduction to Ballroom roster.

Unbeknownst to him, the moment changed his life.

“We learned the six major dances in that course, and I found out that I had a knack for dance,” says Blandino-Lopez, who originally is from Anchorage, Alaska, but now lives in Pittsburgh. “I was hooked.”

A (Dance) Step in the Right Direction
With his new passion ignited, Blandino-Lopez filled his schedule with dance classes each semester at Allegheny. During his collegiate career, he also completed independent studies focusing on dance, worked as a teacher’s assistant for ballroom classes, and choreographed performances for the College and community.

In addition, Blandino-Lopez worked with other classmates to produce a surprise performance for Professor Erdos. “The entire production was student-run. We worked on it for a full semester,” he says. “We performed 16 pieces with all different types of dance. Professor Erdos had no idea.”

Blandino-Lopez’s love for dance continued to grow – and he began thinking about how he could continue his passion after graduation. That’s when a coach from Arthur Murray Dance Centers in Miami visited his class.

“She took me aside and told me I could do this as a career,” says Blandino-Lopez, who also was involved in the Bonner program, the Association of Black Collegians/Association for the Advancement of Black Culture, Union Latina, and Orchesis at Allegheny. “That really piqued my interest.”

The following year, the Allegheny senior found himself traveling to Pittsburgh for a job interview with Arthur Murray Dance Centers. Shortly after, he landed a position there as a dance instructor – a job he still enjoys today.

“As a teacher, I love seeing how confidence builds in people,” he says. “Even in college, there were people in my classes who were awkward and really didn’t interact with others. Then they would dance and develop confidence. My passion for dance is fueled by the excitement of seeing people learn.”

Lopez, Carlos +-_MG_4936
Lopez, Carlos +-_MG_5049
Lopez, Carlos +-_MG_5010

Story through Dance
One of the best parts about teaching, Blandino-Lopez says, is being a part of people’s stories. He cites one of his students, an 88-year-old man named Howard, as an example.

“Howard has Alzheimer’s, and the studio is the only place where he gets a sense of normalcy,” he says. “He’s deteriorating in every other aspect of his life, but on some level, he’s progressing here.”

Another student, 74-year-old Judy, was a teacher at Arthur Murray when she was 18.

“It’s so great to talk with her about how things have changed,” he says. “She met her husband through dancing, and now she does it for her own self-confidence and exercise. She told me this is her reason for getting dressed up and leaving the house.

“Over the years, I’ve learned that very few people come here to learn to dance,” he continues. “They come here for something deeper.”

Dance also has affected Blandino-Lopez’s personal life. He met his wife, Elizabeth, while salsa dancing.

“I asked her to dance and she said no,” he says. “Luckily I had the confidence to eventually get her to say yes.”

Although dance was a major focus for Blandino-Lopez at Allegheny – even becoming his minor during his senior year – he continued studying neuroscience, graduating in 2011 with a double major in neuroscience and psychology. He believes this foundation is still applicable to his current profession.

“I’ve always been fascinated with the brain. The reason I came to Allegheny was because I knew it was one of the best in the country for neuroscience,” he says. “It’s really helped me now because I understand the physiological process of how learning works. As a teacher, that foundation helps me to have more patience and understanding with my students.”

Eventually, Blandino-Lopez would like to revisit the connections among neuroscience, psychology, and ballroom dance.

“My senior comp was on ballroom dance and psychological androgyny. I’d like to do more research around ballroom dancing in general,” he says. “A study I read said dancing frequently can reduce your risk for dementia by 76 percent. I’d like to dig into that someday.”

Source: Student & Alumni Features

Paulson and Jones Present Workshop at Pennsylvania Counseling Association Conference

Assistant Professor of Psychology Lauren Paulson and Danielle Jones ’15 presented a 90-minute workshop titled “Tech It Out: Implementing an Online Peer Supervision Network for Rural Supervisors: A Review of What Worked and What Didn’t” at the Pennsylvania Counseling Association’s 46th Annual Conference at the Penn Stater in State College on November 7-9. Paulson is also the first author of an article titled “Building Bridges: A Pilot Program for Training and Support of Rural Supervisors,” to be published in the December 2014 issue of The Clinical Supervisor. In addition, Paulson was interviewed for a cover story, titled “Supervision in Counseling: A Steadying Hand,” in the November issue of Counseling Today.

[...] Read More

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Thumbnail for 3935

Picture Perfect

Students Connect Science and Humanities through Interdisciplinary Research

Ozorak Presents at Labyrinth Society Meeting

Professor of Psychology Elizabeth Weiss Ozorak presented at the annual gathering of the Labyrinth Society in Delray Beach, Florida, on November 16. The presentation was titled “The Well at the Heart of the Labyrinth.”

[...] Read More

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Three Faculty Members Publish Article on Senior Capstone Experience

Professor of Biology, Neuroscience, and Global Health Studies Lee Coates, Associate Professor of Psychology Aimee Knupsky, and Associate Professor of English Soledad Caballero recently published an article titled “Charting a Required, Senior Capstone: Diverse Scaffolding for Transformative Experiences,” CURQ on the Web, Summer 2014, 34(4):10-15.

[...] Read More

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Presearchlease join us this Friday (11/7) from 12:20-1:20pm for our first student presentation session of the academic year. Maura Matvey and Becca Cohen will present their comp projects on “The Effect of Accent Prejudice on Subjective Well-Being” and “The Effects of Acute and Chronic Stress on Unethical Behavior”, respectively.

We will meet in Carnegie 101 and if you would like pizza, please RSVP by responding to by Thursday, November 6th at 6 pm.

Come join us, support your peers, and find out more about the many different types of research being conducted in the department.

Sona Systems : Daylight Saving Time & Researcher Tutorial

This coming Sunday (November 2), at 2 am New York time, all our servers will switch their clocks back 1 hour to get off Daylight Saving Time.

If you are in an area that follows the same rule, there is nothing you need to do. If you are in an area with different time rules, you’ll need to adjust the time on your site after that change takes place. This is done in Set Up | System Settings | Current Time and be sure to save your changes.

It’s important the system has accurate time in order to properly enforce study sign-up and cancellation deadlines.

In other news, we just published a tutorial video for researchers:

It covers the most popular features researchers use and is a nice complement to the participant tutorial we published a few weeks ago. A link has also been added to our support site at so you can easily find it later.

This email was sent to the contacts we have listed in our files for your site. If you need to update this or just have any questions, please let us know by emailing

Carnegie Hall Gator Day Events Today!!

GATOR DAY EVENTS TODAY: Be sure to come to Carnegie Hall today for the 11:00-12:15 “Applying to Graduate School Process Panel.” Afterwards there will be REFRESHMENTS in the lobby and you can hang out with your favorite friends and faculty!



Student and Faculty Researchers Present Work at Meeting of the Society for the Quantitative Analysis of Behavior

Lauren Krowitz ’14 and Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience Rod Clark presented their study “Some Behavioral Effects of Mefloquine: Evaluation of GABAA and GABAB Antagonists in Rats” at the 37th annual meeting of the Society for the Quantitative Analysis of Behavior (SQAB) in Chicago in May.

[...] Read More

Source: Academics, Publications & Research

Students and Faculty Present Work at Meeting of the Association for Behavior Analysis International

Erin N. Roby ’14 and Alexis E. Crump ’16, with Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience Rod Clark, presented their work “Some Behavioral Effects of Mefloquine on Schedule-Controlled Responding in the Rat” at the 40th annual meeting of the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI) in Chicago in May.

[...] Read More

Source: Academics, Publications & Research