Loraina Ghiraldi, Associate Professor of Psychology
I grew up in Brooklyn and Staten Island. No one in my family had attended college; we didn’t quite understand what “college” was! That, in combination with financial limitations and over-protective parents with old-fashioned attitudes about gender-roles, it didn’t look as if I was going to attend college either. But with a little luck, some scholarship money, and many “discussions,” my parents allowed me to attend Russell Sage College, a women’s college, in Troy, NY. My new nickname: “The College Kid.” Sometimes I felt like I didn’t belong there, but I just kept going…and I earned my Bachelor’s degree with a double major in biology and psychology -- and I officially became a first-generation college graduate. After college, I attended graduate school (thanks to receiving a tuition waiver and a teaching stipend) at SUNY Albany. I sometimes felt like an imposter, but I just kept going…and I earned my PhD in experimental biopsychology with an emphasis in behavioral endocrinology.
Here at SLU, I regularly teach Introductory Psychology, Research Methods, and Hormones and Behavior. I have also taught Human Sexuality, a specialty course in Ballroom Dancing, and The Neuroscience of Fear (in Rome, Italy). My research has focused on how hormones interact with experiential and environmental factors to affect a variety of behaviors and cognitive processes in rodents and humans. I have served on many committees, including Faculty Council, Professional Standards Committee, Academic Affairs, Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee, and as the on-campus coordinator for the Denmark program, to name a few. I enjoy these interactions with my colleagues, and although sometimes they reveal my limitations, I embrace these situations as opportunities to learn from my esteemed colleagues.
My personal passions include ballroom dancing (especially Latin and swing), international travel, and cooking. And while I’m not “done” yet, when I look back at my journey, I sometimes wonder: How did I get here -- to a place and a career that I never could have imagined? Well, I just kept going. You gotta keep going, my friends!