By the time I got around to attending college, I had already had what many would consider a full life. I had lived outside of the United States for years at a time, married my high school sweetheart, raised two wonderful kids, and had a successful career in engineering research at a Fortune 500 company. When it looked like I would finally be the next victim of layoffs and a weakening economy, I decided I should get some formal education to back up my experience and skills. I started from scratch at a community college in 2001 and recently completed the requirements for my doctoral degree in psychology. The voyage from my associate's degree to my doctorate has been a rewarding one, and I am passionate about helping others reach their goals.
I earned my bachelor's and master's degrees in psychology from SUNY Brockport and taught as a lecturer for two semesters (2008-09) at both Brockport and Monroe Community College in Rochester, NY. My clinical experience includes a master's practicum working with a neuropsychologist at a Veterans' Administration Medical Center. I conducted neuropsychological assessments to geriatric veterans and to younger vets with traumatic brain injuries. In 2009 I began working on my doctoral degree at the University of Vermont. While at UVM I studied social psychology, but also saw clients at the Behavior Therapy and Psychotherapy Center under the supervision of a licensed psychologist. My doctoral dissertation investigates factors that contribute to binge eating behavior – especially for people who use food to cope with stress. Participants provided reports of their daily stress level, mood, sleep, and eating behavior for one week. My research suggests that poor sleep can trigger a binge eating episode and that having achieved a measure of restful sleep, binge eating is not needed again for a few days. I continue to pursue this line of research and plan to publish parts of my dissertation.
I think that an important part of what I do is to translate the often incomprehensible language of science into words and images that resonate with my students and help them to fit themselves and their experiences into the topics I teach. I am passionate about teaching, particularly the teaching of psychology. I want my students to obtain tools that will help them now and later in their lives, regardless of their chosen profession or occupation. Psychology provides those tools. There is no other course of study that comes closer to providing an operator's manual for living. I teach techniques for improving memory and strategies for successful test taking, as well as critical thinking and healthy skepticism. I offer up alternative explanations for the behavior of others to encourage tolerance, patience, and empathy, all firmly based on empirical study.
My background makes it easier to relate to the lives of my students; I have had my share of struggles and challenges. Through my own diverse experiences I try to find ways to make the material accessible to everyone in my classes. My goal is to build rapport with my students in part by assuring them that I am not a genius, I have just been thinking about these things a lot longer than they have. What I have learned my students can learn too, and more.