State Lab postdoctoral scholar Vanessa Hus Bal, PhD, was named as the newest recipient of the Marquis Award by the University of Michigan’s Department of Psychiatry for her doctoral dissertation exploring the influence of non-Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) behaviors on the assessment and diagnosis of ASD in children. Her dissertation incorporated three studies tackling current issues surrounding ASD diagnoses: age-related and developmental issues, identifying sub-categories within existing assessment scales, and improving the diagnosis of ASD in older children and adolescents. Of Hus Bal’s work, the award committee stated, “There is no doubt that her work is crucial to improving efforts to identify ASD and thereby expanding psychologists’ ability to assess and assist those afflicted with autism.”
The Marquis Award was established in 1960 in honor of former American Psychological Association president Donald G. Marquis. It is awarded annually to the student judged to have submitted the best doctoral dissertation in psychology. It also qualifies the recipient to enter the university’s ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award competition, which recognizes exceptional and unusually interesting work produced by a doctoral student in the last phase of their grad work. Hus Bal received her PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Michigan in 2014.