Philosophy

In any class that I teach, I have several goals for my students. Beyond mastering specific course content, I hope that my students develop…

  • scientific habits of mind (e.g., open-minded skepticism and an understanding of the importance of seeking disconfirmatory evidence for hypotheses),

  • stronger communication skills (both written and oral),

  • intra- and interpersonal skills (e.g., identify personal strengths and areas for improvement and improve teamwork abilities).

In order to facilitate all students meeting these goals, I strive for an inclusive classroom—a classroom where students of all backgrounds feel respected, supported, and equally valued, a classroom where everyone is able to reach their potential. Currently, I have the pleasure of regularly teaching five courses: Introduction to Psychology, Developmental Psychology, Research in Psychology II, Social Identities in Developing Lives, and Directed Research.

 

Courses Taught

Introduction to Psychology

This course introduces students to key ideas, controversies, and research in the broad field of psychology. Through lectures, reading, writing, discussion, and activities, students learn the biological, cognitive, social, and cultural factors that influence how and why humans think and behave in the ways that we do. Because this class is introductory, we move quickly through many topics. For almost every area that we cover, there are intermediate and advanced courses offered in the department. I encourage students to take more courses on any topic that particularly interests them!

Developmental Psychology

Each of us is a unique individual with distinct interests, abilities, and appearances. At the same time, we all have much in common—each of us started as just a single cell at conception, our brains and bodies developed in essentially the same sequence, and someday, we will all die. What are the general paths and stages of our development? How do our unique qualities emerge? What role does our genetic material play in development? What role does our environment play? Is there a point at which some of our traits are “set,” or do we retain the capacity to change throughout life? In this course, we work to answer these questions and more. With a life-span approach, we examine the theories and research that describe and explain our physical, cognitive, and social development from conception to death.

 

Research Methods in Psychology

In many psychology courses, students are primarily research consumers—they read and

discuss findings originated by others. In this course, students become research producers. Students learn the best practices of psychological science so they can develop new research questions, design studies that will actually answer those questions, and communicate their findings to others. This course extends the skills and knowledge developed in RIP I and prepares students to conduct their own independent research for their capstone projects. By

gaining hands-on experience with research methods, this course also helps students become critical consumers of the research (and the “research”) that is ubiquitous in today’s society.

 

Race in Developing Lives

For children to thrive in our increasingly diverse world, they must be prepared to engage with issues of race and racism. Children need to develop positive racial identities and learn how to navigate the racial privilege or discrimination that they will face in our society. One of the best places for children to learn about race is from their parents, yet parents often struggle with this topic. Should we teach our children to be “colorblind,” or should we teach them to notice race? When is the right age to start these conversations? For families who are committed to equity and justice, how can we ensure that these values are passed on to our kids? In this class, we draw from developmental, educational, social psychological, and social justice perspectives to generate answers to these questions and more. As a culmination of our work in this class, students develop a resource that is useful to someone who cares about the racial development of children (e.g., parents, educators, or kids, themselves).

 

Sample final projects:

 

Directed Research

This is students’ chance to conduct their own psychological research, completing all phases of an empirical project: designing and running a study, analyzing the data, writing a journal-style manuscript, and presenting the project to other scientists. This course is challenging. Students submit several drafts of their work, modify their writing in response to feedback, and carry out many different tasks in a short period of time. The course is also highly fulfilling. This is the capstone of the psychology major! Students synthesize their knowledge from previous psychology courses and execute a project of their own design. It is an invaluable experience upon which to draw in future endeavors, whether as a producer or consumer of research.

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Honors Projects Supervised

 

Julia Carpenter

Attributions or dangerousness: Political attitudes and mental illness stigma

 

Lydia Simpson

Intersectional awareness and psychological well-being: Examining differences in identity privilege

 

Emily Roebuck

Class and the classroom: The role of individual- and school-level socioeconomic factors in predicting academic outcomes

  • Published in Emerging Adulthood

  • Presented at the 2018 national meeting of the Society for Research on Adolescence

 

Marium Ibrahim

Religion and well-being: Differences by identity and practice

 

Rowan Hilty

Perceived school style and academic outcomes among ethnically diverse college students

  • Presented at the 2016  national meeting of the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues