Junior Christina Steele named Beinecke Scholar

Junior Christina Steele
Christina Steele, a junior psychology major in the College of Arts and Sciences, is a 2019 Beinecke Scholar, a program which provides substantial scholarships for graduate education.  (Photo: Aaron Olson)

Penn junior Christina Steele has been awarded a Beinecke Scholarship to pursue her graduate education. She is the 12th Beinecke Scholar from Penn since the award was first given in 1975.

A psychology major in the College of Arts and Sciences, Steele is among 18 Beinecke Scholars from throughout the United States chosen this year. 

Each scholar receives $4,000 immediately prior to entering graduate school and an additional $30,000 while attending graduate school. 

Steele, from Valley Stream, New York, plans to use the scholarship funds to pursue a Ph.D. in psychology and further her interest in studying how problems in the family environment can disrupt and interfere with healthy relationships and well-being. She also intends to research the factors that contribute to cycles of conflict within friend relationships and other social networks outside of the family. Her goal is to develop evidence-based interventions to help people build happier and healthier relationships in society.

Steele, who is also pursuing a minor in religious studies at Penn, is a Benjamin Franklin Scholar and a first-generation/low-income student. Last summer through a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates program she conducted research on adversity and sociopolitical violence as potential risk factors for the development of mental and physical health disorders among Ukrainian civilians and military personnel. 

Currently, Steele works as a research assistant in the Elizabeth Brannon Laboratory where she uses computerized tasks and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to examine numerical cognition in children. Steele volunteers her time at the Emotion, Development, Environment, and Neurogenetics (EDEN) Laboratory where she uses eye-tracking technology to understand how children with callous-unemotional traits process emotional facial expressions and body language.  

In addition, Steele enjoys sharing her love of music through Penn Flutes where she participates in group performances for the local community.

The Beinecke Scholarship Program was established in 1971 by the Board of Directors of The Sperry and Hutchinson Company to honor Edwin, Frederick, and Walter Beinecke. The program seeks to encourage and enable highly motivated students to pursue opportunities and to be courageous in the selection of a graduate course of study in the arts, humanities, and social sciences. 

Additional information about the Beinecke Scholarship is available from the Center for Undergraduate Research and Fellowships.