Title, department and job responsibilities: Associate Professor, Psychology Department, responsibilities: teaching (Psychological Inquiry, Food: Pasture, Table, Body and Mind, Biological Bases of Behavior, Cognitive Processes, and Advanced Applied Neuroscience), research (stereotypes of aging, aging and cognition, memory self-perceptions, and the impact of neurological disorders on cognition), service. I am also a clinical neuropsychologist at the Rehabilitation Hospital of Indiana.
Years at Butler: 8 (starting my 9th)
Most memorable academic experiences at Butler: I have so many, but here are a few: (1) touring England and Scotland with the Butler Chorale and Dr. Shasberger during winter break of my sophomore year; (2) sitting outside in a circle on the grass on a sunny day with Dr. Cornell and my Change and Tradition class learning about Methodism and the Industrial Revolution; (3) spending a Saturday morning dissecting a sheep brain with Dr. Woodruff; (4) taking my first “drop the needle” music identification test in Dr. Briscoe’s Beethoven and the Immortal Beloved honors course; (5) giving my first research presentation about flashbulb memory at the Butler Undergraduate Research Conference under the mentorship of Dr. Bohannon.
Projects/research you’re currently involved with: This year my students and I will study: how mood affects mind-wandering during cognitive tasks; how the aging process changes the impact of emotion on attention and memory; whether texting or voicemail has a bigger emotional effect and which is more memorable; how personality affects the stereotypes young adults apply to older adults; and whether involvement in team sports versus individual sports differentially affects attention, concentration and distractibility. In addition, I am currently collaborating on a study at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation about how surgical interventions for epilepsy affect children’s objective and subjective memory and a study at the University of California, San Diego Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center investigating how informing older adults about their genetic risk for Alzheimer’s Disease impacts their memory self-perceptions and objective memory abilities.
What current intellectual or creative question are you thinking about these days: I most frequently find myself contemplating the evolving role of a college education in this age of technology when most facts are available at the touch of a few buttons on any Internet-linked phone or computer.
What do you enjoy most about teaching: I love the first day of class when students are eager to learn what you and the class will be like. I love the last day of class when I learn what the students have mastered during the semester that they would not have known if they had not been in my class. And, I love every day in between when students are actively engaged in the process of becoming more educated about psychology and the world around them. I most enjoy instilling a love of learning in students through interactions with them both within and beyond the classroom, and the rewards come in students being in touch months or years later with an email about a connection they have made between something they heard on the radio or television and something they learned in my class or, even better, a brief update about the direction their lives have taken since our paths last crossed.