Kristen M. Eyssell
Division of Applied Behavioral Sciences
director, B.A. in Psychology program
M.A., Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University
B.A., California State University, Fresno
I laugh when I remember declaring my psychology major. I wanted to run for student government at my university, and the only open spot on the slate was for the College of Natural Sciences. After looking through the catalog to see what majors were included in the college, I decided on psychology because it most closely matched my interests. I stayed with the major because I fell in love with the field, although the two classes I hated most were social psychology and research methods. Keep reading to see why this is so funny to me …
After receiving my B.A., I used my knowledge from my major to work in various areas of the nonprofit world. I served as a teacher in the West African country of Liberia as a Peace Corps volunteer, trained volunteers for my local literacy council and worked as an educator for a local Planned Parenthood. In between all of this, I taught part time at my local community college and fell in love with teaching young people (and people young at heart).
I studied social psychology and research methodology at Penn State University and earned my doctorate there. My dissertation focused on the impact of existential concerns on facets of the self. Does the self protect against thoughts of death? Is the self an interpersonal tool? What happens to our selves when we face an event that calls into question our meaning systems? Pretty cool philosophical questions, I think. But the research tools I learned about enabled me to attempt to answer them with empirical evidence.
I love the students at the University of Baltimore. They are engaged, engaging and energetic. I’m even hoping I can get some of them to knit with me some time!