Teaching Approach

My approach to teaching is guided by two fundamental principles: 

  1. Science is for everyone

  2. Social science truly has the power to make the world a better place

Scott Plous (Encyclopedia of Peace Psychology, 2012) has coined the term "action teaching" to describe a similar approach: "one that contributes to peace, social justice, and sustainable living at the same time as it educates students." For more on action teaching, click here

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Teaching Awards

  • Annual Speaker at the National Institute on the Teaching of Psychology | Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI; Div. 9 of the American Psychological Association)

    • Recognizes one psychology instructor in the United States who is chosen to represent SPSSI at the National Institute on the Teaching of Psychology

    • Award address: “Pedagogy of the Empowered: Fostering Everyday Activism in Intro Psych (and Beyond)”

  • Teaching Resources Award (2018) | Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues (SPSSI; Div. 9 of the American Psychological Association)

    • Awarded to five psychology instructors in the United States in recognition of innovative assignments that advance students’ understanding of social issues

    • Teaching resource (a reflective writing assignment based on a personal Day of Silence) available here

  • Wilbert J. McKeachie Teaching Excellence Award (2016) | Society for the Teaching of Psychology (Div. 2 of the American Psychological Association)

    • Awarded to one graduate student in the United States in recognition of outstanding teaching of psychology

    • Award citation published in Teaching of Psychology, 43(4)

  • Provost's Mentored Teaching Fellowship (2015-2016) | USC Graduate School

    • Awarded to six graduate students at USC

    • Carried the university's most generous annual stipend and the opportunity to serve as the instructor of record for an undergraduate course of one’s own design (see below for Frontal Lobe course description and materials)

  • Teaching Assistant Fellow (2014-2017) | USC Center for Excellence in Teaching

    • Teach-the-teacher volunteer position offered to approximately 15 graduate students at USC

    • Served as Chair of the TA Fellows from 2015-2017

  • Award for Excellence in Teaching (2015, 2017) | USC Center for Excellence in Teaching

    • Awarded to one USC graduate student per academic department

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Original Courses

Science &

an intensive introductory
course for advanced high
school students

summers 2013-2017

  • A credit-granting pre-college course offered to high school students admitted to USC Summer Programs

  • Through daily lectures, activities, and discussions (infused with current events, recent research findings, and pop culture references), students master an entire semester of introductory psychology in four weeks

  • Students are further encouraged to relate the course content to their own lives and the world around them by completing their choice of three writing assignments and visiting the Museum of Tolerance, the Psychiatry: An Industry of Death Museum, and the Midnight Mission Homeless Shelter

  • A hands-on empirical research project allows students to start thinking like scientists by developing their own research questions and hypotheses, generating methods to test them, collecting and analyzing data, and presenting their results

The Frontal Lobe: From Function to Philosophy

an undergraduate
social and affective
neuroscience seminar

spring 2016

  • An upper-level psychology and cognitive science elective offered to USC undergraduates as a Provost's Mentored Teaching Fellowship course

  • Modeled after graduate seminars, one weekly class session introduces the week's topic while the other focuses entirely on student-led discussion of related empirical and review articles

  • In a longform science journalism final paper, students accessibly summarize and synthesize recent research to provide a neuroscientific perspective on a real-world phenomenon or social issue of their choice

  • Tours of the Southern California Twin Project Psychophysiology Lab and the USC Dornsife Cognitive Neuroscience Imaging Center allow students to get a first-hand glimpse of the initial steps of neuroscience research

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Legacy Courses

Under construction—more details soon!

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New York University

Introduction to Psychology
Spring 2011-Spring 2012
Supervisors: Ted Coons, Ph.D., Andy Hilford, Ph.D.

Responsibilities: Lead one weekly discussion section of 20-30 students, proctor exams, host review sessions, attend weekly teaching seminar

University of Southern California

Introduction to Psychology
Fall 2013-Spring 2015
Supervisors: Regina Chopp, Ph.D., Ann Renken, Ph.D. 

Responsibilities: Lead three weekly discussion sections of 20-30 students, guest lecture, proctor and grade exams, host review sessions, hold office hours

Student Feedback

"Because of your course, it's hard to explain, but I kind of feel like a better person." -Summer 2013

"There is no other teacher I would want to listen to for six hours a day." -Summer 2015

"I feel like I've learned more in four short weeks than I learn in one year at school." -Summer 2015

"Personally, I'm not a big fan of science, possibly because I always found it hard and never really gave it a shot, but your class was beyond what I expected... I can honestly say that I am looking forward to college now." -Summer 2016

"I've never been a science-y type person, but, thanks to you, I've grown to love it... You've also taught me to be a better person and that's the coolest thing by far!" -Summer 2016

"One heck of an inspirational teacher." -Summer 2017

"Proof that someone can loooove what they do."
-Summer 2017

[sample personal correspondence from students available upon request]