5 Reasons You Should Be a Lab Instructor

If you are a Psychology major, minor, or thinking about either, being a lab instructor (LI) is a great way to gain experience working with others in the psychology field. You can learn something new every day! Current LIs have many reasons why they love their positions and want to share them with you. Here are five reasons you should be a lab instructor:

1. Build relationships with faculty.
Not only do you get to work with and teach students just like a professor, but you get to work with the professors too! Collaborating with professors on what the lab sessions will look like, how fast you should move students along, how to grade papers, and so much more is discussed between you and a professor. Through these discussions you build trusting and supportive relationships.

2. Learn basic skills you will need after college.
We all know how crazy schedules can be, especially being a student who isn’t quite on the nine to five schedule yet. Being an LI helps you build your time management skills and responsibility skills. Getting organized and owning your knowledge and the tasks assigned to you are core skills you will need, regardless of your profession.

3. Develop excellent communication skills.
Being an LI can be a little weird at times because you are both a student and a teacher at the same time. Knowing how to communicate differently with those who are on the same level as you, as well as above and below your level, is key for your work to flow smoothly. The students you work with may not understand all the information you are giving them, so you may need to break it down a different way. On the other hand, a professor will understand most shorthand phrases and other terms used only within the Psychology department, so you won’t have to clarify as much. Being an LI helps you develop a great sense for how to communicate clearly with others.

4. You become a teacher in new ways.
You will learn that you can be a teacher inside and outside of the classroom. Not only will you be teaching students in your lab, but you can take those skills beyond your classroom and take them to other classrooms, or even your work outside of school. Everyone is a learner all their life, so use your new skills to help others continue to learn every day.

5. You will build confidence.
By being in a position of more responsibility, you will have a lot more work and higher expectations. But don’t let any fear hold you back! Instead, take it one day at a time, and soon enough you will be instructing your students and working with the faculty with such ease, you’ll wonder why you were ever nervous in the first place. This confidence will follow you throughout your life if you keep in mind that you are fully capable of any task given to you. And it’s okay if you have questions or need help because you will have built a support system with your colleagues and professors!

If you still need convincing or want to know what else you can gain from being a LI, contact General Psychology Laboratory co-coordinators Jamie Peterson at jjpeterson@stkate.edu or Arturo Sesma at agsesma@stkate.edu or stop by any of the LI Help Sessions!


Lauren M. Crepeau ’16
English, Communication Studies, and Women’s Studies

Flipping the Classroom

Associate Professor Jamie Peterson and Amelia Ruedy ’16 recently conducted a study at St. Kate’s in one of the upper division Psychology courses, looking at the impact a flipped classroom had on student learning and rapport.

The study used two classes, one a traditional classroom setting where the professor lectured for 20-25 minutes with PowerPoint slides, followed by a brief learning application activity. The other classroom was a flipped classroom. In this setting the professor turned the PowerPoint slides into online lecture videos, and engaged the students in more lengthy learning application activities during class and lab time.The students self-reported their first two exam scores and completed the Professor Student Rapport Scale (Wilson, Ryan, & Pugh, 2010).

This particular study found contrasting results to previous research. The study found that there was no significant difference in student learning and exam scores between the two different classroom settings. There was also no significant difference in student rapport.

The results suggest that using technology to enhance student learning outside of class time does not detract from forming positive relationships between the professor and the students or student learning.

Ruedy enjoyed collaborating side by side with a professor for this research. She plans on entering graduate school within the next year and believes this research has taught her to look at things from a different perspective. “I also enjoy it because it’s really fun and interesting analyzing the results and gaining new knowledge,” Ruedy says. She looks forward to future opportunities for research in graduate school.


Lauren M. Crepeau ’16
English, Communication Studies, and Women’s Studies

Faculty & Student Proposal Accepted by the APA

Dr. Arturo Sesma, assistant professor in the Psychology Department at St. Catherine University, has submitted a proposal regarding non-cognitive skills (NCS) and academic outcomes. Sesma is collaborating with Paige Embertson ’15, Kelsey Olson ’19, and Dr. Jamie Peterson, associate professor. They will be presenting at the American Psychological Association’s National Convention in August.

The proposal attempts “to explain why some students fare poorly in college despite strong high school and college entrance exam, researchers have identified a number of non-cognitive skills (NCS) that may be as important to student academic outcomes as cognitive ability.” The NCS that Sesma et al. are investigating are growth mindset, belongingness, and grit.

Sesma et al. are attempting to: “1) replicate growth-mindset findings on academic outcomes using an intervention design with students from an all women’s university; and 2) examine whether belongingness and grit moderate any putative differences between the control and experimental groups on academic outcomes.”

They are currently collecting data from the 2015-2016 cohort of first-year students at St. Catherine University.

Stay tuned for photos, and the results will be posted here after the convention in August.


Lauren M. Crepeau ’16
English, Communication Studies, and Women’s Studies

Social Psychology Topics Course

For spring semester 2016 the Psychology Department is offering the topics course of Social Psychology (PSYC 2994) on Thursdays from 6:00 PM-9:30 PM. The course will be taught by Professor Todd Wilkinson. Students must have taken General Psychology (PSYC 1001) before taking this class. This course will cover current theory and research in Social Psychology in various topics such as attitude formation and change, aggression, group dynamics, and much more! For more information, please see this flyer, or contact Professor Jamie Peterson at jjpeterson@stkate.edu. Students can register without an instructor’s signature until February 4th. After that deadline, students must register with the Registrar’s office with the instructor’s signature, they will have until February 12th to do so.