What do you do?
I research the emotions play in achievement contexts. Specifically, I’m examine how emotions influence the behavior and performance of students and teachers and how they could potentially be regulated to improve performance. To examine this I conduct experiments, design interventions, and assess self-report questionnaires. I spend my days thinking about how to harness emotions, such as anxiety, so that they do not impair learning or achievement, reading research articles, analyzing data, and writing-up results.
Why did you choose this field?
From a young age, I knew that I wanted to be a psychologist. During my PhD, I decided to concentrate on Affective Science because I knew first-hand the influence emotions can have on performance. As a young child, I struggled to learn how to read and was always embarrassed when the teacher would call me to read out loud. I can still remember how hard my heart would pound in my chest when I thought there was a chance the teacher would call me. Instead of letting my anxiety get the best of me, I decided to spend as much time as I could reading so that I wouldn’t have to be embarrassed. In the end I discovered the joy of reading and have been an avid reader ever since. Through improving my reading level, I was able to improve my grades in school and most importantly my confidence in myself.
What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?
After my PhD I applied for a highly competitive grant. Receiving it was a long shot and there was a little voice in my head that questioned whether it was even worth applying for it. In the end, I received it!
Why do you love working in STEM?
I could think about what motivates humans and how our emotions shape our behaviors all day every day. I look forward to learning new things everyday. Sometimes I learn new insights or theories from published papers or colleagues, sometimes I learn how to conduct new statistical analyses, and sometimes I learn how to code.
Best advice for next generation?
Girls are just as capable of pursuing STEM as boys. The only thing that could stop them is self-doubt.
Inspo quote / fun fact / role model
Believe in yourself!