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New Prof Shares Love of Psychology with Students

12/26/18

Sara Steele mugDr. Sara Steele, who joined MCLA’s Department of Psychology this fall, discovered her love of teaching very early on in her doctoral training. “It is still hands down one of my favorite things to do. It lets me share my passion with students, while learning more and more about the growing field each day!” she said.

During the fall semester, along with a cognitive psychology course, she taught “Intro to Psychology” – the same course that led her to love psychology as an undergraduate. “I had a hard time knowing what I specifically liked about the subject until I enrolled in the upper level courses. I got involved with some research on campus and thought it was so exciting to study how the mind works,” Steele said.

She is particularly interested in sex differences in spatial cognition – how people acquire and use knowledge about their environment, such as how to determine where they are, obtain resources, and find their way home.

“We are trying to understand why this cognitive discrepancy exists and what can be done to reduce this gap in performance,” she explained. “My other research interest is related to how our reliance on technology can be related to our cognitive skills.”

This spring semester, Steele will teach Biological Psych, as well as a research seminar. In the future, “it would be fun to teach a Sensation and Perception course,” Steele said.

Steele said the most important thing she wants her students to learn from her is that psychology is useful in their everyday lives. “I hope they can use the principles taught in class to gain a better understanding of their own lives and the people around them.”

Steele comes to campus from Eastern Kentucky University in Richmond, Ky. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania in Kutztown, Pa., and her Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala.