Summarized nicely by the insightful quote below, I believe that influencing the many is necessarily more important than thriving as an individual. While one person's research can change the world, how much more of an impact could it make to train generations of future researchers? As a result, I view teaching not only as an exciting and enjoyable endeavor, but also as a critically important one.
My teaching is guided by four goals. Each semester and for every course I teach (regardless of the course's subject matter and content), I strive to do the following:
It has long been my goal to become a professor of psychology, a desire mainly fueled by my passion for teaching and education. Even before applying to graduate school, I loved to teach others. Seeing their face light up as they finally understood a concept or problem they previously found uninterpretable is amongst the most rewarding feelings, as is having an undergraduate student describe how you're the reason they've decided to switch their major to psychology. I hope to cultivate enthusiasm and passion in generations of undergraduate students.
While my chief passion is for teaching, I also strive to maintain an active research program. I do not, however, consider my research to be disconnected from my teaching. Rather, I view my research as an extension of my teaching. Not only do I use research as a way to connect with and train undergraduates, but I also believe that this research has the potential to have a direct impact on undergraduate education.
I would best summarize my research interests as follows:
A large portion of my work deals with the (inaccurate) stereotypes that people hold against the intellectual abilities of women and African Americans. Not only have we found evidence for such stereotypes, we've also found reliable and long-lasting relationships between these stereotypes and representation at the bachelor's and PhD levels. The goal behind this research program is to increase the representation of stereotyped groups in higher education.
At the same time, I am involved with several projects involving meta-science. Recently, the reliability and accuracy of many psychological concepts that are staples in undergraduate education have been called into question. If we, as a field, hope to thrive and be credible, we need to teach our undergraduates accurate information. As a result, my research is also devoted to not only replicating key psychological findings, but also to finding ways to prevent replicability issues in the future. In doing so, I hope to ensure that our field's content is backed by sound science.
The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one who gets the people to do the greatest things." – Ronald Reagan
In the context of a large university with tens of thousands of students, it can be difficult to feel like you're actually a part of a community. In order to engage with my academic community and give back to this great university, I have also actively sought out opportunities to engage in service to the university. For example, I am currently a member on the Senate Subcommittee on Graduate Student Misconduct (SGSM). I have also been serving as the Developmental Psychology Department's Graduate Student Organization Representative since early 2015. Additionally, I have organized and facilitated multiple interview weekends for prospective University of Illinois graduate students, and have been a judge on the University's Undergraduate Research Symposium. Through my service to the University, I hope to help create a safe and welcoming environment for new undergraduate and graduate students, and to engage with my academic community.