An Interest in Psychology
As a high school student, I became interested in psychology, specifically what is now known as forensic psychology, after reading far too many true crime stories. My intention in college and graduate school was to become a clinical psychologist. After an internship at the Delaware County Juvenile Court, however, I decided that clinical or counseling work was not my strength. At the same time, I was working with Dr. Harry Bahrick in the memory lab at Ohio Wesleyan University and found that I enjoyed doing research. In graduate school at UN-L, I pursued a degree in social/personality psychology with a specialization in psychology and the law. I had the opportunity to do a great deal of teaching in graduate school and knew that I wanted a career at a school where teaching undergraduates was the focus.
I have done several research studies that are directly related to courses I teach. With several undergraduate research assistants, I have investigated the impact of television program content and public service announcements on attitudes toward people with mental illness. This program of research came directly from one of my favorite courses, Movies and Madness. That class involves an exploration of media images of people with mental illness and mental health providers.
Teaching at Mount Union
I was lucky — when you are looking for a position in academia, you rarely get to pick your location. I actually got to come back to my home state of Ohio where I would be teaching at an institution that valued teaching as a vocation. My favorite part of my job is mentoring students as they learn to design and conduct their own research projects. SCHOLAR Day is a special day because we get to watch our students present their research in a professional context. Watching them makes me very proud. Our senior research series is unique because, by the time they complete one of our majors, our students will have built a research project from the ground up starting with formulating research questions and hypotheses and concluding with a formal presentation of their results in a public forum. Undergraduates rarely get the kind of intensive research experience that we offer at Mount Union.