Friday, February 7, 2020
  Awards and Recognitions

By Priscilla Ramirez

Dr. Laura Seligman
Dr. Laura Seligman, professor in the UTRGV Department of Psychological Science

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – Dr. Laura Seligman, a professor in the UTRGV Department of Psychological Science, has been elected president of the national Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) for 2020-2021.

Seligman said the position is an honor and a chance to bring national attention to the university in the field of psychology.

“I feel a sense of duty to both the organization and the university,” she said. “I’m going to represent the university, our colleagues and the students in a positive way, while showing that UTRGV has quality work on a national level.”

Seligman’s election as ABCT president also carries with it a three-year position on the Board of Directors.

Seligman said she is a longtime member of the organization and grew up with it professionally, so she hopes to bring that level of dedication to her tenure as president.

“The values of the organization really align with my professional values, which are to take a science-based approach to the study of psychology in order to help the most amount of people,” she said.

Seligman said she wants to continue the organization’s legacy by improving transparency and accessibility of psychological research, while supporting diversity among the organization’s researchers. 

“As psychologists, we realize that when people’s perspectives are considered in research, that means our treatments become more fully informed,” Seligman said. “What this position means to me most is that I'm going to take a role in directing and moving the organization in a way that will help the field for everyone.”

Seligman’s research specializes in anxiety and depression in children and adolescents. Her current project investigates the psychology and treatment behind dental phobia in those age groups. 

Her clinical trial research is funded by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.

Related Article: UTRGV’s Seligman awarded grant to find ways to ease dental anxiety in children


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.