For our very first appearance in the STP newsletter, we’re introducing ourselves and our forthcoming advice column. In future issues, we’ll be answering questions related to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the teaching of psychology. Whether you’re looking for advice on how to handle a tricky classroom situation, tips for making your departmental culture more inclusive, or any of our other “ask me about” topics, let us know at this link or scan the QR code: bit.ly/askSTPdiversity
Leslie Berntsen: I earned my Ph.D. in Brain & Cognitive Science at the University of Southern California, where I currently teach introductory, abnormal, and developmental psychology as a teaching-track faculty member. I am passionate about teaching at the intersection of psychological science and social justice and engaging in popular science communication and advocacy outside of the classroom. I’ve been giving social justice-themed symposium presentations at ACT every year since 2016 and I’m thrilled to be able to contribute to STP in a more formalized capacity. (In between editions of our forthcoming advice column, you can find me tweeting about these topics and more under the handle @leslie_bern.)
Ask me about: Teaching social issues, inclusive pedagogy, being a woman of color in the academy, teaching with a disability
Sasha Cervantes: I earned my PhD in Cognitive Psychology (minor-specialization in neurobiology) from the University of Chicago. I am an Associate Professor at Governors State University with tenure and serve in many roles aimed to empower my colleagues and students in a diverse academic culture. I primarily teach Cognitive Psychology, Biological Psychology, and our Senior Capstone course, but have enjoyed teaching our Introductory Psychology, Learning, and Research Methods courses as well. Some of the roles I serve are as Faculty Senator, Advisor for our local chapter of the Psi Chi Honor Society, and Chair of the Faculty Professional Development Committee. My goal is to capitalize on the ways these roles intersect to improve visibility and support for the diversity of our field. I engage in multiple lines of research on learning and memory. Current projects include the effects of sensory perception and aging on memory, online pedagogy, and student co-curricular engagement.
Ask me about: Mentoring first-generation and non-traditional students, contrasting benefits to pedagogical best practices, navigating professional obstacles
Dina Gohar: I earned my Ph.D. in Clinical and Social Psychology along with a Certificate in College Teaching from Duke University, and my M.A. at the University of Pennsylvania’s Positive Psychology Center, where I studied how we can optimize the self-processes and behaviors that contribute to human flourishing. I am currently a Lecturer in the University of Michigan’s Department of Psychology, where I teach undergraduate courses like Research Methods in Social Psychology and the Science of Happiness, and mentor a first-generation first-year student on research examining the impact of a brief (free) growth-mindset intervention. My recent research, scholarship, and service have focused primarily on inclusive teaching practices to improve learning and reduce anxiety in the classroom, and I’m thrilled to help STP promote more inclusivity and diversity sensitivity in the field of psychology as a whole. I also enjoy engaging in social justice advocacy (in and outside of the classroom) and popular science communication, including running a growing wellness-oriented Twitter account (@WellWeds), through which I mostly provide psychoeducation about mental health, wellness, social justice issues.
Ask me about: Inclusive teaching, addressing anxiety and social psychological phenomena like stereotype threat, implicit bias, and self-presentational concerns in the classroom, being a woman of color in the academy.
Jennifer Lovell: I earned my PhD in Clinical Child Psychology, and a Graduate Certificate in Women’s Studies, from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale. I am an assistant professor at California State University Monterey Bay, where I primarily teach Clinical Psychology and Psychology in the Community (a critical service learning course) to undergraduates. I am dedicated to integrating multicultural perspectives in my teaching and scholarship, and I co-authored a book with Dr. Joseph White focused on strength-based interventions when working with diverse adolescents (The "Troubled" Adolescent: Challenges and Resilience in Family and Multicultural Contexts).
Ask me about: Mentoring culturally diverse students in research, teaching critical service learning, being a White anti-racist in the academy.
Viji Sathy: I am a professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at UNC Chapel Hill, where I teach quantitative and methodology courses such as the introductory statistics course and makerspace courses. I am actively involved in instructional innovation and the development of technological tools to promote student success. I speak and write about inclusive teaching practices in higher education. My research involves evaluating the impact of innovative teaching techniques as well as retention in STEM courses. I am also the Program Evaluator of the Chancellor’s Science Scholars an adaptation of the Meyerhoff Scholarship at the University of Maryland Baltimore County that has successfully increased representation of underrepresented students in STEM PhDs. Prior to my current position at UNC, I worked at the College Board conducting research on the SATs and non-cognitive predictors of college success.
Ask me about: inclusive teaching, broadening participation in STEM, flipped classrooms, high-structure active learning, teaching a large enrollment course, working with a TA team, undergraduate education, using data for student success, being a woman of color in the academy, non-tenure track positions
Teceta Tormala: I earned my PhD in Social Psychology from Stanford University. I am an associate professor at Palo Alto University, where I teach Social Psychology and Cultural Differences, primarily at the graduate level, and serve as the Director of Institutional Equity and Inclusion. I have long been interested in the ways in which people negotiate their cultural identities, and the role of multiple, cross-cutting identities on psychological outcomes. My recent scholarship and service has centered around creating an institutional culture around social justice and cultural consciousness.
Ask me about: Sociocultural and sociohistorical influences on the self, teaching and training in the service of the development of cultural humility, structural competency