Over 45 years ago, while struggling to adjust in my first year at college, I found an academic home in the psychology department. Classes had relatively low enrollments, the professors were great, and there was an enjoyable camaraderie among the majors. Upon graduation in 1970 from the University of Notre Dame, I was fortunate to enter graduate school at Kent State University, specializing in Developmental Psychology. With my dissertation nearly completed, I applied for a teaching position in the spring of 1974, and was hired by St. Lawrence.
The longer I stayed at St. Lawrence, the more I was reminded of my own undergraduate experience: I taught small classes on a relatively large and attractive campus, there was an emotional connection between students and the university, and the camaraderie among our majors was terrific. In the past 39 years, I’ve taught different seminar courses on specialty topics, but the core of my teaching responsibilities has always been the four sections of Developmental Psychology that are generally offered each year. As a byproduct of longevity, my cumulative enrollments in Developmental now exceed 5000 SLU graduates. One of my more enjoyable experiences, and a regular occurrence over the past ten years, is to find the children of former students enrolled in the course.
My research interests have evolved, but for the past 15 years have focused on risky behaviors in middle school children. Students seem to connect with the topic, and traveling to conferences to present research that has been co-authored with students is another highlight of working in the psychology department.