• B.S., Allegheny College (Psychology) 1994
  • M.S., University of Connecticut (Biobehavioral Sciences and Neuroscience)1998
  • Ph.D., University of Connecticut (Biobehavioral Sciences and Neuroscience) 2000


Areas of Interest

Dr Stavnezer is a behavioral neuroscientist and has worked mainly with mice and rats. Her areas of rodent research interest include sex difference in performance on complex learning tasks and she has investigated the influence of both gonadal hormones and sex chromosomes on those differences, the impact of environmental influences (could be contaminants or stressors) and neurodegenerative disease on learning and memory, and in better assessing rodent tasks and their extrapolation to humans.

Recently, she has become more focused on questions concerning student learning, best pedagogical practices, and strategies of stress resilience. She has led seminars to help students excel in introductory STEM courses, co-taught a Belonging in STEM course, given presentations and published papers on active learning in the classroom and how to best engage undergraduates in authentic research experiences, and is becoming a certified meditation facilitator for emerging adults.

Courses Taught
  • PSYC 100: Introduction to Psychology
  • PSYC 323: Behavioral Neuroscience with Lab
  • PSYC 345: Drugs and Behavior
  • NEUR 200: Introduction to Neuroscience
  • NEUR 385: Integrative Neuroscience Senior Seminar
  • Sex Differences in the Brain and Behavior
  • Neuroscience of Learning and Memory
  • First Year Seminar

Books and Papers

  • Eaton, S, Donley, DW, Lom, B, & Stavnezer, AJ (submitted). Building Community and Developing Professionally through FUN Final Friday Sessions. Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education (JUNE).
  • Carter, BS, Jewett, DC, Kelly, S & Stavnezer, AJ (2022). Promoting Scientific Exchange and Student Training Through Scientific Meetings; Insights from a Joint Virtual Undergraduate Neuroscience Conference During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education (JUNE), 21(1):A1-A8.
  • Warren, R. & Stavnezer, A.J. (2021). Spaced Training in the 5CSRTT Proves Beneficial in Early Levels for SHRs. IMPULSE (The Premier Journal for Undergraduate Publications in the Neurosciences): http://impulse.appstate.edu/issues/2021.
  • Buffalari, D#, Fernandes, JJ#, Chase, L, Lom, B, McMurray, MS, Morrison, ME & Stavnezer, AJ (2020). Integrating Research into the Undergraduate Curriculum: 1. Early Research Experiences and Training. Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education, 19(1): A52-A63. (#designates co-first authorship)
  • Morrison, ME#, Lom, B#, Buffalari, D, Chase, L, Fernandes, JJ, McMurray, MS, & Stavnezer, AJ (2020). Integrating Research into the Undergraduate Curriculum: 2. Scaffolding Research Skills and Transitioning toward Independent Research. Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education, 19(1): A64-A74. (#designates co-first authorship)
  • Chase, L#, McMurray, MS#, Stavnezer, AJ#, Buffalari, D, Fernandes, JJ, Lom, B, Morrison, ME (2020). Integrating Research into the Undergraduate Curriculum: 3. Research Training in the Upper-level Neuroscience Curriculum. Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education, 19(1): A75-A88. (#designates co-first authorship)
  • Stavnezer, A.J. & Lom, B. (2019). Student-led Recaps and Retrieval Practice: A Simple Classroom Activity Emphasizing Effective Learning Strategies. Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education, 18(1): A1-A14.
  • Yates, J.R. & Stavnezer, A.J. (2014). Engaging Undergraduate Summer Research Students and Faculty in a Regional Neuroscience Network.Journal of Undergraduate Neuroscience Education, 13(1), A45-A51.
  • Kirchner, M.*, & Stavnezer, A.J. (2014). Activation of CB1 Receptors May Provide an Effective Treatment for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. IMPULSE (The Premier Journal for Undergraduate Publications in the Neurosciences).
  • Karaszia, B. T. Stavnezer, A.J, & Reeves, J.* (2013) Graduate admissions in Clinical Neuropsychology: The importance of undergraduate training.Archives of Clinical Neuropsychology, 28, 711-720.
  • Evert, D., Goodwin, G., & Stavnezer, A.J. (2005). Integration of computer technology into an introductory level neuroscience laboratory. Teaching and Psychology, 32 (1), 69-73.
  • Stoelzel, C.R., Stavnezer, A.J., Deneberg, V.H., Ward, M., Markus, E.J. (2002). The effects of aging and dorsal hippocampal lesions: Performance on spatial and nonspatial comparable versions of the water maze. Neurobiology of Learning & Memory, 78(2), 217-233.
  • Stavnezer, A.J., Hyde, L.A., Bimonte, H.A., Armstrong, C.M., & Denenberg, V.H. ((2002) Differential learning strategies in spatial and nonspatial versions of the Morris water maze in the C57BL/6J inbred mouse strain. Behavioural Brain Research, 133, 261-270.
  • Hyde, L.A., Stavenzer, A.J., Bimonte, H.A., Sherman, G.F., & Denenberg, V.H. (2002). Spatial and nonspatial Morris maze learning: impaired behavioral flexibility in mice with ectopias located in the prefrontal cortex. Behavioural Brain Research, 133, 247-259.
  • Stavnezer, A.J., McDowell, C.S., Hyde, L.A., Bimonte, H.A., Balogh, S.A., Hoplight, B.J., & Denenberg, V.H. (2000). Spatial ability of XY sex-reversed female mice. Behavioural Brain Research, 112(1-2), 135-143.
  • Hyde, L.A., Sherman, G.F., Stavnezer, A.J., & Denenberg, V.H. (2000). The effects of neocortical ectopias on Lashley III water maze learaning in NZB mice. Brain Research, 887(2), 482-483.
  • Bimonte, H.A., Mack, C.M., Stavnezer, A.J., & Denenberg, V.H. (2000). Ovarian hormones can organize the rat corpus collosum in adulthood. Development Brain Research, 121(2), 169-177.
  • Balogh, S.A., McDowell, C.S., Stavnezer, A.J., & Denenberg, V.H. (1999). A behavioral and neuroanatomical assessment of an inbred substrain of 129 mice with behavioral comparisons to C57BL/J6 mice. Brain Research, 836, 38-48.
  • Mack, C.M., Fitch, R.H., Hyde, L.A., Seaman, A.J., Bimonte, H.A., Wei, W., & Denenberg, V.H. (1996). Lack of activational influence of ovarian hormones on the size of the female rat’s corpus callosum. Physiology and Behavior, 60.
  • Stavnezer, A.J. & Kirchner, M.* (2013).  Activation of CB1 receptors decreases marble burying and is unaffected by co-administered 5HT antagonist.  Society for Neuroscience Abstracts.
  • Stavnezer, A.J. & Peters, K.* (2012).  Sex differences in cortical thickness influenced assessed in the four core genotype mouse model. Society for Neuroscience Abstracts, 90.20.
  • Stavnezer, A.J., Lang, R.*, Wadman, E.*, & Fenster, C.P. (Nov. 2011). Effects of perinatal PCB and BPA on neuroendocrine and behavioral responses. Annual Society for Neuroscience Conference, 190.12, Washington, DC.
  • Stavnezer, A.J., Weigand, P.K.*, Burden, C.E.*, & Wright, E.N.* (2008). Correlation between maternal anogenital licking and adult maze learning in mice. Society for Neuroscience Abstracts, 281.25.
  • Wright, E.N.*, Stavnezer, A.J., & Thompson, C.R. (2008). Maternal care in sex-reversed mice. Society for Neuroscience Abstracts, 795.21.
  • Stavnezer, A.J. & Wright, E.N.* (2007). No sex chromosome effect on spatial ability or aggression in sex-reversed mice. Association for Psychological Science Conference.
  • Wright, E.N.* & Stavnezer, A.J. (2007). Further evidence of sex differences in activity levels and spatial ability in C57BL/6J mice. Association for Psychological Science Conference.
  • Stavnezer, A.J. & Kim, Y.* (2007).  Increased eestrogen during proestrous decreses dreezing during contextual fear conditioning in normally cycling female rats. Society for Neuroscience Abstracts, 309.9.
  • Gaines, R.*, Becker, L.*, Weigand, P.*, & Stavnezer, A.J. (2007). The effect of sex chromosomes on activity and cognitive measures in sex-reversed mice.  Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience poster session during the Society for Neuroscience conference.
  • Weigand, P.*, Gaines, R.*, Stavnezer, A.J., & Neuhoff, J. (2007). Auditory perception and spatial ability across menstrual cycle. Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience poster session during the Society for Neuroscience conference.
  • Stavnezer, A.J., Hess, S.*, & Segovis, C.* (2005). Further exploration of gender phenotype and sex chromosome influences on rodent spatial learning. Society for Neuroscience Abstracts, 778.7.
  • Arora, A.* & Stavnezer, A.J. (2004). Performance of NR2B Transgenic Mice on Two Versions of the Hebb-Williams Apparatus. Society for Neuroscience Abstracts, 28.
  • Stavnezer, A.J. (2004). incorporating Neuroscience Examples into Introduction to Psychology. National Institute on the Teaching of Psychology Conference.
  • Evert, D. Goodwin, G., & Stavnezer, A.J. (2002). Presentation of an Introductory Level Neuroscience Course with Interactive Lab. National Institute on the Teaching of Psychology Conference.
  • Stavnezer, A.J., & Denenberg, V.H. (2000). Sex differences in spatial working memory in the C57BL/6J mouse strain. Society for Neuroscience Abstracts,26, 2245.
  • Stavnezer, A.J., Galle, K.T.*, Balogh, S.A., & Denenberg, V.H. (1999). A behavioral and neuroanatomical characterization of the 129/J inbred mouse strain. Society for Neuroscience Abstracts, 25, 640.
  • Stoelzel, C.R.*, Stavnezer, A.J., Marchillo, S., Carlson, J., Denenberg, V.H., & Markus, E.J. (1999). A reference water maze task comparable in difficulty to the Morris maze: effects of age and hippocampal lesions. Society for Neuroscience Abstracts, 25, 1627.
  • Stavnezer, A.J., Hyde, L.A., & Denenberg, V.H. (1998). A new non-spatial version of the Morris water maze: using intra-maze patterned cues, not a visible platform. Society for Neuroscience Abstracts, 24, 439.
  • Stanezer, A.J., McDowell, C.S., Balogh, S.A., Bimonte, H.A., McGivern, R.F., & Denenberg, V.H. (1998). Independent effects of testosterone and the Y chromosome on spatial learning. Brain Research, 809, A31.
  • Bimonte, H.A., Stavnezer, A.J., & Denenberg, V.H. (1998). The sensitive window for ovarian hormone effects on the rat corpus callosum extends post-pubertally. Society for Neuroscience Abstracts, 24, 548.
Professional Affiliations
  • Elected as Secretary of Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience, November 2013
  • Associate Editor of the Journal for Undergraduate Neuroscience Education
  • Councilor for Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience, 2010-2012.
  • 2008, 2009 &  2010: Served as a Reader for the Advanced Placement Psychology exam, which involves reading the free response questions and scoring them for a week each summer. This year there were 175,000 exams!
  • In 2023 the College of Wooster honored Dr Stavnezer by awarding her the Fighting Scots Award for Equity & Excellence. This award recognizes contributions that are made by an employee who exemplifies a commitment to DEI in their daily life, creating and sustaining an environment where everyone is respected and valued. She was named as a major contributor in the STEM Success Initiative on campus, which promotes both equity and excellence for all STEM students, especially those from underrepresented groups. She also co-coordinates the bi-weekly STEM Faculty Learning Community (SFLC), which brings STEM faculty together several times each month to discuss best practices for inclusive teaching and learning – essentially ways in which we can promote both equity and excellence in our classroom for all students.
  • Dr Stavnezer has also been honored by the Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience (FUN) for continued efforts to support this meaningful group. In 2019 she was incredibly honored to receive the FUN Mentor of the Year award in recognition of outstanding contributions as a mentor for young neuroscientists and in 2022 the Service award in recognition of her leadership creating monthly virtual pedagogical and professional development sessions for the membership.
  • Awarded a National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates grant for 2016-2018, to support 4 undergraduate research students each summer, and to collaborate with Ohio Wesleyan University, Earlham College and Kenyon College. President of Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience.
  • Awarded a Great Lakes Colleges Association Expanding Collaboration Initiative Proposal titled: Summer teaching, learning and professional development seminars for Neuroscience faculty and their research students ($11,300).
  • Awarded an Equipment Loan from the Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience for a 2-year loan of the Noldus Ethovision software and hardware to visually track and analyze rodent learning and behavior.