- BA in Psychology, Carleton College, 1988
Ph.D. in Social Psychology, University of Minnesota, 1996
I became a professor because I love learning and I love creating meaningful learning opportunities for others. As a professor of psychology I help students learn to think like social psychologists. Social psychology is the use of scientific theories and research methods to understand and explain how people’s thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and interpretations of their social worlds are influenced by characteristics of social situations and by other people. People influence us intentionally and unintentionally, even when they are not actually with us, and even when we are not consciously aware of being influenced. I also help students learn how to generate their own questions, systematically gather data to answer those questions, use statistical tools to analyze their results, and share the answers they’ve uncovered with others – that is, I teach statistics and research methods.
Over the years, I have taken many students to the Midwestern Psychological Association (MPA) conference in Chicago to present the results of their own research. MPA accepts proposals from 80-85% of the undergraduates who submit proposals. So far, 100% of the Simpson students who have applied have been accepted. Three times in the last six or seven years Simpson students have even won the Psi Chi Regional Research Award.
When I’m not focused on teaching and learning, I enjoy relaxing with my pets. I have 5 cats and 2 hamsters. The hamsters, each in his or her own aquarium, serve as entertainment for the cats – kitty TV.