I am currently an Assistant Professor in the Psychological Science Department at Albion College.  Psychologist Lev S. Vygotsky (1978) wrote, “What children can do with the assistance of others might be in some sense even more indicative of their mental development than what they can do alone” (p. 85). For Vygotsky, a teacher is a facilitator who provides necessary support (scaffolding) for students to be able to express their understanding of content. Based on this fundamental pedagogical philosophy, two themes now guide my approach to teaching: scaffolding learning by integrating material with real life situations and helping students build a toolkit of professional and academic skills they can take with them as life-long learners.


I believe that research based methods of instruction are very useful, which is why application of psychological research in education settings is a thread that runs through all of my research. As my curriculum vitae demonstrates, my scholarly interests range widely, and my publications and presentations reflect this range of interests. As a liberal arts college instructor, I have found it necessary to branch out from my own interests to help scaffold students in their own interests. Currently, I am attempting to balance my own research agenda with research driven by students. Ultimately, this has culminated in work that revolves around how individual differences in social experience impact the cognitive processes involved in empathy for others, creativity, and decision making in the classroom.


Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. (M. Cole, V. John-Steiner, S. Scribner, & E. Souberman, Eds.). Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press.